The internet has changed our lives in countless ways over the past two decades – not least of all in the way that we collect information and conduct surveys.
Today, many organisations across the globe are switching on to the advantages of collecting feedback online via sophisticated survey software, rather than via the old fashioned technique of paper survey forms.
For example, Statistics New Zealand has recently concluded a large scale push to conduct the country's largest survey of all – the national census – online.
Initial goals were to have around 35 per cent of the country completing their March 5 census forms via the Census.govt.nz website – and early predictions are that those objectives were met.
According to New Zealand statistics minister Maurice Williamson, around 1.7 million people filled out their census online this year.
"Statistics New Zealand’s census website operated without any issues. At its peak it was handling about 130,000 forms per hour, well within the system’s capacity," said Mr Williamson.
Mr Williamson noted that achieving a higher participation online rate than Australia did during its 2011 census would be "a moment of pride" for Statistics New Zealand.
"The Australian census managed to reach 30 per cent of forms completed online in its 2011 Census. The target for the New Zealand census is 35 per cent and we are on track to reach that," he said.
Organisations in either Australia or New Zealand may want to follow in the footsteps of the New Zealand census, by taking their internal employee surveys online in the future.
Conducting your internal organisational surveys online can offer a number of advantages, such as reductions in paper expenses and a decreased risk of error or misinformation slipping in.
Whilst national surveys such as those conducted in Australia and New Zealand are only conducted once every four years, another advantage of conducting surveys digitally is that they can be deployed continuously across the organisation to ensure a constant stream of up to date information.
Data analysis is also made easier with an online web-based survey system as the responses can be more easily compiled digitally for later consideration.