Customer expectations and behavior are changing. Businesses and organizations must meet customer expectations if they are to succeed. Customers want an answer to their question, a response to their request, a solution to their problem. Ease of doing business is what the customer needs.
Businesses run on data. But, in order to make use of the data, it must be accurate. Businesses want data. Accuracy is what they need.
The intersection of improved customer service and accurate business data occurs in eForms.
What are eForms?
Gartner says Electronic forms (e-forms) provide a user interface to data and services, typically through a browser-based interface. E-forms enable users to interact with enterprise applications and the back-end systems linked to them. Web applications, e-government and e-commerce solutions have sparked the demand for better Web forms that support richer and more dynamic interactions than are possible with HTML forms. New e-form applications include XML content identification, multiple data callouts, field-level validation and embedded process logic contained within a secure format that’s often portable.
Typically, any kind of paper form can be transformed into eForms. From sign-up forms, surveys, and event registrations to expense reports, job applications, permits and requests and more – all are candidates for eForms. And, all are perform better as eForms because eForms are inherently more accurate – no more trouble reading hand-written forms and no more errors in data entry. eForms can easily and automatically be incorporated directly into your organizational data base.
Paper forms vs eForms
If you’ve been using paper forms or pdf forms, you may be unsure of moving to eForms, but don’t worry! The eForm process is simple. eForms are easy to use, save and sure to save time and money. In the battle of paper or pdf vs electronic, eForms wind, hands down. Here’s why:
- Immediate improvement in efficiency
- Better control of data
- More accurate data
- Save money on the cost of printing and data entry
- Save money on the cost of storing and distributing paper
- Nor more waste from paper forms. eForms are green!
- eForms can be filled out faster by your customers because the programming associated with them automatically format, calculates, looks up and validates information for the user
Because eForms are intelligent, they allow more focus on the underlying business process or solution to a customer problem than paper forms. eForms can be programmed to understand the roles and responsibilities of the different participants of the process, and in turn, automate routing and much of the decision making necessary to process the form.
Getting Started with eForms
An internet search will quickly show you many online eForm software solutions. While these may be a slightly better option than paper forms, many have shortcomings:
- Because they’re standard, “off-the-shelf” solutions, they’re not able to cater to different business owner needs and do not fulfill the requirements of every industry. While they may seem inexpensive, a “one-size-fits-all” product often means you will have to shoe-horn your business processes into a standard form, with less than desirable results
- For many business owners a DIY eForm solution can be disruptive and cumbersome, leaving both the business owner and her customers with a negative perception.
- Many of these eForm solutions are a lot more complicated than they appear and make simple form filling complex. The software that should simplify their lives and help grow their business only causes headaches.
The Benefits of an ECM-integrated eForm Solution
When you’re ready to add eForm capability to your business, maximize the benefits by choosing an ECM-integrated eForm solution -- such as that offered by Paper Alternative Solutions (PAS) -- that maximizes the benefits of your existing ECM or update to ImageSilo® ECM and get the most advanced and secure ECM available There are many benefits to using PAS eForms instead of paper forms or DYI eForms you find via Internet search. These benefits include the following:
- Reduce eForm implementation and set-up time
- Increase the accuracy of information
- Improve data quality through validations
- Avoid lost data
- Eliminate data entry re-typing
- Automate processes to maximize efficiency and reduce costs
- Reduce the costs associated with form printing, handling and storage
- Integrate eForms with other systems – ECM, accounting, HR, CRM, etc.
- Make documentation and information easier to distribute and share
- Store data (not paper!) for further analysis
- Reduce paper waste – Green!
- Keep information more secure
- Access easily via web and mobile
If you have document-driven processes that are repeated over and over, that reach across individuals, departments and/or participants, and that require approvals or other processing -- consider what these manual processes cost in terms of labor, printing, storing and lost opportunities. Now that you know what eForms can do to minimize these costs and to maximize your business, what are you waiting for? Contact us for customized eForm information and pricing.