How to collecting regular information from co-workers without email?
October 20, 2011 4:43 AM   Subscribe

What is a effective way to collect basic sets of information on a regular basis instead of sending an email to tons of people asking them to reply?

I am getting these kind of emails all the time. For example weekly email asking for your itinerary or sales forecast numbers etc. Generally an admin assistant or department person puts together a long list of people in an email and send out a message like "Hey, don't forget to send me your weekly XXXXX" and hundreds of people reply (supposedly). Then the sender copy pastes all replies into an spreadsheet and sends another email out there.

Isn't there a simpler and more non-intrusive way of doing this?

I was thinking about:

- We have SharePoint; put a spreadsheet and send people links one time?
- I noticed Google Docs recently added a form function - basically a questionnaire.
posted by djfreex to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
You can/should be able integrate it all in Sharepoint/Outlook.

1. You can set up 'tasks' for everyone to complete everyone (in the group) to complete. There would be an automatically generated e-mail reminder every week.

Collecting Information
-In sharepoint, you can collect "lists", which are sort of spreadsheets, where people can input their information. It can be private (i.e. noone except those with permission would be able to see what they wrote as sales information

Reporting Information
-Any list can be linked to Excel, and it refreshes when anyone makes updates. Your admin can copy and paste that info into report they would use. You could probably develop something more sophisticated that copy and paste, though.

Building a form, setting up tasks and exporting to Excel are pretty easy, but Google is your friend here.
posted by sandmanwv at 5:02 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have SharePoint, you can set it up so that everybody keeps a spreadsheet on their desktops that syncs to the system, or you can set up entry screens in SharePoint that people go to regularly and fill out within the system. That's how our company does business development updates and timesheets.
posted by xingcat at 5:03 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've used Google Docs to collect information, and it met my needs quite well. You have the ability to set up the form with a fair number of formatting options, and the information collects into a spreadsheet with a column for each question and a row for each response. You can share the spreadsheet to people's email addresses like for any other Google Doc.
posted by lookoutbelow at 6:37 AM on October 20, 2011

Yeah, I had a friend send out a survey asking people to respond by e-mail. I quickly set up a form in Google Docs (which is basically a limited interface to a spreadsheet). Worked like a charm and saved hours of work.

I could see how it might get to be problematic, or at least a little more work, when dealing with recurring data (eg, weekly sales figures). The admin would need to set up a hidden date field with a value that they changed as needed, or something like that.

There are also independent web-form services like SurveyMonkey and Wufoo, which would also work. Wufoo has a more attractive end-user interface than Google Docs' forms, IMO.
posted by adamrice at 7:28 AM on October 20, 2011

You should certainly be able to set something up with SharePoint as a place where people can contribute data. I will mention however that if your co-workers are anything like mine, they won't participate unless someone harasses them in e-mail. Thankfully that isn't my job.
posted by mmascolino at 8:37 AM on October 20, 2011

I have used Google forms for a while. The downside is, you still have to send a reminder. The upside is, you don't have to have anyone enter it into a form.
posted by bq at 9:42 AM on October 20, 2011

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