Are you tired of filling out forms by hand? Are you over-printing, getting hand cramps from too much signing, and getting frustrated trying to decipher handwriting? We don’t blame you! You have more important things to do than spending hours inputting scribbled forms into the computer or scanning, faxing, and filing documents like it’s 1999. There are a ton of reasons to move to electronic forms, far beyond the initial benefit of getting rid of paper.
In this article, we’ll walk through what electronic forms are, how they will help improve your organization’s data collection and processes, and what tools you can use to get started.
What Are Electronic Forms?
At its simplest, electronic forms are an online version of your paper forms. Essentially, this can be a paperless version of the document with a small amount of automation. This reduces the physical paperwork required in the office and automatically ensures the safe storage and retention of your data.
In a more complex system, an electronic form in combination with cloud technology can be used to send forms into an approval workflow, automate notifications, or set off additional actions that connect to other business processes in your organization.
How Can Electronic Forms Help My Business?
The initial benefits of electronic forms are easy to identify. No more paper forms, handwriting dilemmas, or lost papers. No more manually entering data into a spreadsheet or filing documents in a cabinet. Electronic forms can increase efficiency and organization for the documents and reports you already use.
More than that, electronic forms represent an opportunity to improve and automate processes for improved efficiency. Data collected electronically can be collated and analyzed for trends. Forms submitted can trigger workflows or notifications that ensure submissions are actioned right away. The power behind that ability to instantly analyze and action data cannot be overstated.
What Are My Options?
You have a lot of options while implementing electronic forms at your organization! The simplest tools, such as Microsoft Forms and Google Forms, are great for straightforward data collection with minimal automation.
For example, you might use Microsoft Forms to send a survey out to your team members with questions regarding their annual review. Responses can trigger a notification to the manager, who can review the responses and assess them against data collected from previous years or other team members.
If you need more in-depth automation, tools like Typeform, Power Apps, and Sintel Forms might be better suited. These tools require additional setup but provide a lot more flexibility, including robust question logic planning and data validation.
For example, you might use a Sintel Forms questionnaire to gather initial information from a potential sales lead on your website. Depending on the responses in that form, you can forward the submission to the correct salesperson for the business area or geographical location. You might trigger a notification in a Microsoft Teams channel, or automatically send a follow up survey to the lead to gather further details.
When the tools listed above don’t quite fit the bill or you’re looking for something unique to your business, you might consider a custom developed solution. With custom development, you can get exactly what you need. The data can be transferred or transformed through any process. You can integrate the data you’ve collected with just about any other cloud technology, meaning you can integrate with your other business processes for optimum proficiency.
How Can I Get Started?
The use of electronic forms boils down to saving time and getting data in a format that is easily accessed, analyzed, and automated to improve your business processes. At Regroove, we use Microsoft tools to streamline many of our processes. We work with clients every day to use electronic data collection and automated processes to improve, develop, and grow their businesses.
We’ll work with your team to develop a comprehensive list of requirements and help you choose an existing tool or develop a solution that meets all your needs. Ready to get started? Get in touch!