Some things never change. Sure, the world around you keeps moving and evolving, but there are some things that stay the same, year after year. In the world of business, paperwork is one of those constants. More specifically, each and every industry uses forms to drive and fuel their processes, and this won’t be changing any time soon.
While the Healthcare sector uses forms to gather new patient information, the Human Resources world uses them to process applications and new hires. The Retail and Service industries use forms to create invoices. The Education world uses forms when students register for class each semester. Customer Service departments use forms to kick off new support tickets or inquiries.
And we wonder why our offices are drowning in paper! Hint, hint – it’s the forms!
Whatever your industry uses forms for, there are several reasons why electronic forms (also called digital forms or eforms) are being used by more and more organizations. Today we’re going to take a look at 7 reasons to use electronic forms in place of traditional paper-based forms.
1. Remote Access
Ever find yourself on the road for business and unable to keep up with your daily tasks? Paperless forms can resolve this remote access issue. When your electronic forms are cloud-based, you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection. This can also come in handy if you have long-distance customers who need to submit forms, or if your business operates out of multiple locations. Forms can easily and instantly be digitally routed from one location to another.
2. Less Paper
Paper is a problem! The opportunity to use less paper can benefit you in more than one way. First, using less paper means that the form is less expensive to produce, because you are saving the money you would’ve spent on ink and paper. But also, consider that when a form is digital, it is far less likely to get lost under a stack of paper. This saves you from the frustration of lost documents and the expense (time and money) of having to recreate the same form all over again. It’s a win-win.
3. Easy to Route
Sometimes a form needs input from several different people. When you use an electronic form, updates can be made by as many people as you need. There’s no printing or scanning. It’s all done electronically and can even be automated using workflow software.
Plus, when you combine electronic forms with electronic signature, you gain the ability to have supervisors sign off on departmental requests, without having to print off a document and risk it getting lost on someone desk for weeks. Instead, the eform is automatically routed by the system, the person is notified that a form needs his or her attention, and the task is completed, online, from any location.
4. Quality Control
Creating electronic forms allow you to control the quality of the data you’re collecting. You can set up controls to ensure that people are submitting a valid email address, phone number, etc. This leads to better data. Further, the form fields can be integrated with your existing databases, pushing synchronized data to all of your systems automatically. That way, information is error-free and always up-to-date.
5. Workflow Kickoff
If your eforms software includes Workflow Automation capabilities, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to embed eforms into your business processes. Maybe an electronic form is a step mid-way through a process, or maybe you want to make it the catalyst to kick of a new process. Here at DocuPhase, when we receive a new form submission, it might mean a potential new hire has applied, a prospect has requested a custom sales demo, or a support ticket has been submitted. These are just a few examples of our internal processes that are kicked off with electronic forms. The flexibility of our forms and our enterprise automation software allows electronic forms to be used by all of our departments for different purposes.
6. Audit Trails
As we discussed above, some forms need to touch multiple people for input and signatures. Forms software allows you to track your forms through each step of the process, resulting in easy reporting and auditability. You’ll be able to tell, at a glance, exactly where the form has been and how far into the process you are.
7. Automated Error-Free Calculations
If all of that wasn’t enough, here’s the cherry on top: If you’re using an electronic form to create an order or invoice, the form can be set up to automatically calculate prices, quantities, tax, shipping, and more. Automated calculations reduce errors and save time. It may seem like a small difference, but shaving off 5-10 minutes from each form can save you hours upon hours in the long run, depending on how frequently the form needs to be filled out and how extensive its requirements are.
If any of these reasons resonate with you and your business processes, it may be worth learning more about DocuPhase’s Web Forms core. Our electronic, paperless forms are easy to use and can be placed on your existing website, making them accessible to any of your clients or team members.
For more details about turning your office into a paperless workplace, download our free ebook, Not Your Mama’s Guide to Going Paperless.