The Power of Eletronic and Web Forms
We all live in a world where there appears to be a FORM for everything! Application forms, order forms, request forms and claim forms just to name a few. The days of the traditional paper-based form are now numbered, as we seem to find it easier to find our smart phone then we do a pen and a printed form. Will we ever acheive a true, paperless office?
Here is a short list of the differences between staying in the past with PAPER FORMS, versus moving forward with ELECTRONIC FORMS.
Did you miss PART 1: The Hidden Costs of Filing Cabinets?
HIDDEN COSTS OF PAPER FORMS:
1. Paper, toner & other printer hardware costs to print out the form & all associated documentation to accompany the application.
2. Envelope and postage costs to post it to person to fill it out and post it back
3. Fax costs if you fax it back.
4. Electricity (printer)
5. Version Control - If the form changes then all printed forms are then useless and wasted.
6. A form received as paper, may require data entry to create a digital copy, able to then be processed.
7. Filing of that form - If you are filing in a traditional filing cabinet, see my previous post for a list of additional costs. e.g., offsite storage, shredding etc.
8. Filing of the Form - If you are digitizing the form, then there is the associated labor cost to scan, index and store the scanned image of the form.
9. Forms handwritten are often hard to read & may require it to be sent back to the original submitter or phone/email contact to clarify, or fields may not have been filled out entirely.
10. We have clients that have told us that by having their forms available on their website, rather than having their receptionist organize, that it saves their reception staff on average of 10 minutes per form enquiry, as they found the form was generally being filled out in front of them.
11. Lost - Paper forms can be lost on the way to processing, which therefore triggers labor wastage in searching & then potentially organizing the form to be filled out again.
12. Travel costs if you need to drive and pick up the physical form.
13. When a paper document is required to go through a process that requires multiple different staff to complete a workflow, the process is extremely more labor intensive, then via utilizing automated digital workflow systems.
14. Lack of document security, especially if the form has sensitive client information, can be quite costly in certain circumstances.
THE BENEFITS OF WEBFORMS:
1. Web forms can be used from your mobile or tablet, not just your computer.
2. Files can be attached to the form, during submission.
3. No printing costs
4. You can setup required fields that ensure forms can't be submitted without all the information required.
5. Drop down lists - ensure that only certain values can be selected as the answer.
6. Signatures can be captured.
7. GPS / Geolocation information can be captured for compliance of location.
8. Timestamp of submission can be captured to prevent any disagreements.
9. Dates can be selected from a calendar popup to ensure more accurate answers.
10. Calculations can be made on the web form. e.g., purchase or order form total value can be calculated.
11. Reduce response time for someone to fill out the form, rather than have to wait for the post, or have to make time to pick it up from the office.
12. Improved accuracy of information submitted.
13. If you need to change the questions on the form, you are able to update them, then publish the revised form and then any new submissions will be on the new form,
14. Easier to distribute to your client base.
15. Workflows can be attached to the web form submission, to improve visibility of forms requiring processing, and also improve the speed to process a document.
16. Document security policies can be maintained if submitted electronically and then processed through a digital workflow system.
17. Web forms create a structured submission process, that allows you to report for example on the number of submissions or the average time to complete submissions, and therefore make changes to staffing or the process in order to constantly improve the user experience.