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Are you using the right software to manage your team?

When it comes to your team, whether it’s a group of five or fifty people, you’re the one directly responsible for their output. While they produce the deliverables, it’s your responsibility to set the tasks and review the deliverable before placing any findings in front of your client. 

Exactly how you manage your team’s output depends on the information you need for them. And the more analytical that information, the easier it is to manage.

Management for the geotechnical industries. 

While we’re biased regarding our own software, Datanest was originally designed to give time back to busy consultants and managers. 

As ex-consultants ourselves, we’re well aware of how precious the time of senior consultants, managers and engineers is. Getting them out on-site is often impractical and expensive. On the other hand, junior field technicians and engineers are more cost-effective in the field but are often so green they need guidance in their roles. 

Datanest, as a suite of five modules, combines all stages of the typical environmental and geotechnical processes. 

Gathering data.

Getting the actual site data itself provides the foundations for many reports, but it also involves the most amount of travel time and site work. This is why it’s often delegated to more junior hands, which are cheaper to send than experienced consultants. It is often not lost that the least experienced staff provide almost the most important role of ensuring that the data is a good representation of what is happening on site. 

The Gather app builder and Maps features on Datanest allow project leads to create the necessary framework for their team’s data collection. Choosing from a set selection of dropdown fields, values and text boxes, the user can create a unique field collection app that will, in turn, populate a report template that reflects the specific inputs they need from a site. Or they can modify a prebuilt template that comes with the app (templates based on our experience collecting geotechnical information). 

Essentially, Gather acts as a dynamic checklist which can be adjusted in real-time by both parties, allowing those on-site to add new data that they think may be relevant or about which they’re unsure. Gather even performs calculations, sets expectations for data capturing beyond normal limits and allows the user to take photos, videos and voice-to-text notes about site conditions. 

Because Gather is largely preprogrammed before anyone sets foot on site, the module allows team leaders more control on the type of data the field staff are collecting.

Organising data sets.

The Hub is the seat of management in Datanest. From Hub, users can review all the data collected from Gather or Maps, either as a total or as individual reports made by Datanest users. Hub also allows users to edit the information that comes in, reviewing any mistakes or noting any anomalies which might throw out an otherwise consistent report.

However, the most exciting thing about Hub is the number of ways it allows you to view data. Hub users can create graphs, bar, line and pie charts, scatter plots, percentages, word clouds, and more from the basic table outline. 

Creating these representations of data and managing what gets included is impressive for interdepartmental reporting. Still, the real reason this function exists is to provide better reporting metrics for client presentations. 

Auto-docs and visual reports.

One of our main aims with Datanest was to cut down on the amount of double-data entry required and the number of software tie-ins needed. The simpler and more replicable we could get Datanest, the better for our time-poor clients.  

Auto-docs and Excel allow users to update a report using the information gathered in Hub automatically. By tying in certain data-heavy areas with basic condition fields, users can continue to update any report live, changing visuals, documents, tables, charts and reports in real time.

The advantage of this is that it limits the amount of review time needed on the managerial end, as the report format stays relatively consistent, updating while the data is logged and categorised. Of course, if the collected information changes the report significantly, the wording of the report will have to be also altered. But, since the user can preset any expected exceedances on data gathered, it’s easy to catch anything that might alter the projects early on, marking it as a mistake or a genuine finding. 

This removes the need to double-check information, allowing users to systemise report-making with one editable copy.

Other intuitive software.

Of course, no software can cover it all, and those who do try often fail to be good at any one task. 

We’ve designed Datanest to reflect its namesake: collecting, reporting and reproducing data sets. Outside of that, Datanest allows users to add notes, but you may not find it the most effective way of communicating more extensive notes or delegating tasks to your team.

For those tasks, we can refer to the following;’s main stand-out feature is its ability to track time-based on completed tasks. Its benefit for managers is that it gives a comprehensive rundown of hours worked where allowing users to correct their billing and see where time is lost. The downside is it relies on users remembering to record hours correctly. is an organisational task hub with an increasingly complex structure that allows users to allocate notes based on client or job. can also be a go-to file storage system when you can’t remember exactly where everything is saved.

Slack. Slack is much the same as, although more like a moving noticeboard in presentation. It’s good at showing an overview of the project from start to finish, permitting you to move tasks along as you complete them.

DropBox. While Datanest lets you upload most file types, including statistical datasets, spreadsheets, photos, videos and more, DropBox allows you to share and store files outside the app that are otherwise too big for email. 

Notion. Notion is again very similar to, allowing you to create notes and files based on different clients and/or jobs. The difference depends mainly on preference for layout.

Google. Google allows users to share files and content online on a cloud-based server. While less secure than a private server and potentially costly based on the data storage needed, Google is far more convenient, allowing users to update documents simultaneously without sending multiple copies.