Digital forms are online versions of paper forms used to collect data that can easily move through the business. They are quickly becoming the standard solution for organisations to accurately capture information whilst simultaneously kick starting processes.
We often talk about how accurate data is key and with digital forms, organisations can remove badly written paper forms and error prone manual data entry.
Digital forms can capture anything your organisation needs information on; new starters, dietary requirements for an event, purchase order requests and more. Paperless forms speed up data collection and efficiency and mean employees can do more with their time.
A good document management system will offer the ability to create forms and then automatically and securely store the information gathered. This data can also be pushed into third party applications and used as your organisation requires.
Why continue with paper forms which create errors and require manual data entry into your key systems?
Forms can be simply designed by you with no programming required. Various types of fields are available including free text, checkboxes, dates, dropdowns or file uploads.
You can read how our client Astley Hire successfully implemented digital forms and the benefits they've had ever since in our digital forms case study.
Digital forms can be used both internally and externally such as when you require a new supplier form to be completed before you can start work.
In this case, when the form has been created, the URL to access it can be sent to the new supplier. After it is submitted users are notified by a task to tell them the data is available in the document management system.
Digital forms will increase the speed of your processes and when combined with digital workflows, each form fill can initiate the next stage in a process. Information can be collated from a completed form and used to create several other outputs.
The application form from a successful new starter can be used to capture information that will be used in HR and Payroll as part of the employee onboarding process. IT staff can also be notified when they need to order equipment and line managers made aware of a start date to ensure everything is in place when they arrive.
Each time an employee is required to order a work item, a purchase order request form is needed with a description of the product, supplier and the costs. Using a paperless form linked to a document management system means the document is stored then routed through all the steps from approval to payment. The purchase order can also be linked with the invoice and delivery note, digitally ‘stapling’ all associated documents together.
• Holiday requests
• Purchase order requisition
• Sickness and absence form
• Job application forms
• Near miss / accident form
• Quality / compliance forms
• New customer forms
• New supplier form
The benefits digital business forms bring is being widely recognised by organisations as they aim to streamline operations and reduce overheads.
Digital forms provide an simple transmission of information that can be easily stored and analysed. Reporting cannot happen to the level required by most businesses with information trapped on paper.
Digital forms enable those working remotely or out on the road to collect data on a mobile device. Organisations are realising that paper doesn’t work for remote workers or those out on site. Paper is cumbersome to carry and there is higher risk of loss of damage.
With more of us trying to be environmentally conscious, the reduction in paper that digital forms bring can’t be ignored. Paper waste, price and storage all mount up and will be costing your business money that could be saved or better spent elsewhere.
Moving from paper to digital forms means the right information is captured first time. Fields that need to be completed can be marked as mandatory ensuring you capture the information you need. Uploads mean photos, drivers licences or certificates can be submitted alongside the form. They’re not forgotten or required to be sent separately via chaser emails and calls from staff.
With paper removed and replaced by digital information, data entry from a paper form into a business system is reduced, avoiding errors and duplication. Data from a digital form is stored directly in to a document management system and then automatically pushed via an integration into any other system – ERP, Finance, HR or CRM.
For more ways to improve your processes, take a look at our Ultimate Guide To Process Optimisation.
Organisations using paper forms will struggle to get a timely signatures, slowing processes down and hindering project time scales. Added to this, it's not always easy for a recipient to provide a signature depending on their location. In the case of a colleague who was moving house, her signature was needed on multiple occasions which required an hour round trip to the Estate Agents each time.
Digital signatures are legally binding and compliant and can reduce the turnaround time on signed documents from two days to minutes.
Obtaining a digital signature on an online form can be simple with the right software and two factor authentication provides added security. Signatures can be obtained via a computer or mobile device with no software installation needed by the person signing.
Combining digital signatures with digital forms and a document management system means a document can be sent out, signed and securely stored in a matter of minutes. Those documents then become instantly available to anyone with access across the business.
Read more on how digital signatures are generated and verified on the dedicated digital signatures page of our website.
If paper forms mean duplicate data entry, slow processes, lost information and wasted money for your organisation, then please get in touch to discuss how we can help.
Our years of experience alongside a wealth of happy customers means we know how to support businesses with process optimisation improvements and digital forms are an important first step.
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