(Source: Gartner "E-Forms Ripe for Greater Adoption, Fueling Overall Content Management Growth", May 2006)According to the Gartner Group, businesses spend nearly $6 billion annually on preprinted forms; however, the cost to capture thisinformation electronically, that is process form data, is estimated by Gartner to be 60 times that amount - $360 billion.Furthermore, an estimated 85% of business processes depends on paper forms.
Think about your department, and the forms you deal with. Now, think about all the ones other departments have, that staff members, customers and constituents complete, that are hard to find and easy to misplace. Chances are, you have hundreds of forms in your organization.
How do we define electronic forms? Are they simple PDFs? HTML forms? User guided forms?
Retrieved from http://www.ci.seal-beach.ca.us/pdf/Request%20for%20release%20of%20records%20information.pdfThis is a typical example of what most organizations consider and “electronic form”. They have scanned their original forms as PDF documents, and have them available electronically. Unfortunately, people still have to print out the forms and manually fill them in. So while the form is electronic, everything else happen on paper.
There is a huge rift between our behavior as consumers, and in the enterprise. As consumers we use forms on a daily basis for everything from Amazon.com to doing our taxes.
Turbo Tax is one of the best examples of a dynamic, electronic form. Users are guided through an extremely complex process, and once you complete the forms, they automatically fill out the underlying tax documents. As consumers, we have already adopted electronic forms.
By a show of hands, where are you and your organization today? Chances are if you are like most people we talk to, you have forms available on a network drive or your website, and you manually print them and fill them out by hand. Very few organizations have been able to solve this problem to data, mainly due to the staggering costs of the legacy vendors. With LincDoc, you can reach the top of the pyramid, integrating all of your forms and content into your existing systems, such as human resources, customer management, SharePoint etc.
In most organizations, there is a form for everything!This is an example of the variety that are typically available on government web sites. These are all some of the common forms that citizens and you organizations deal with by the hundreds – daily.
In terms of your life and your organizations, what is your biggest problem form? Why do you consider a particular form a problem? Consider these variables: How many do you process? Employee processing time? How many fields? Internal or external? Integration with other systems? Workflow-Routing & approval process? Urgency to input into SharePoint? Other Systems? Complexity of form? (difficulty of information, errors, etc.) Another reason?
Paper forms cause a lot of problems, just by the nature of what they are! Paper. Organizations are interested in solving the issues associated with paper forms, but they are also very interest in satisfying the demands of customers and employees.Organizations are frequently mandated to use electronic forms by law and regulations.
How similar does this look to your current forms process?Currently customers and constituents go to a web site an retrieve a form. First, they print the form and complete is manually. Then, they either fax, send, mail or hand carry the form to the organization. Then organization receives the form and then must do work on the form and process the form. Once all of the workflow has been completed, the document is typically scanned and manually entered into a backend repository or system.So the documents start electronically typically as a PDF, and end up scanned back into a PDF. The entire middle portion of the workflow is all completed manually, on paper, or in an analog environment.
So why should we use electronic forms?
As John Mancini says, we are more likely to see a paperless bathroom than a paperless office. If your organization truly wants to go paperless, you have basically two options.
Do you continue to create and scan paper, and handle the analog processing of information? Or…
Do you treat the cause, and turn the spigot off? If forms are responsible for up to 85% of your workflow in your organization, then turning off the spigot is one of the best ideas to go paperless.
Many eForm products allow you to reuse your existing PDF and word documents, rather than having to create them from scratch. This allows your users to feel immediately comfortable, and ensures continuity with the look and feel of your forms.
If you already have data like customer information, or contact information in a system, most eForm packages will allow you to connect to databases like your CRM or HR system and reuse it. For example, if you are an employee renewing your insurance enrollment, by typing in your social security number you can complete all of the form data. Capture traditionally has been a manual process, requiring extensive labor to key in information, and scan paper. With electronic forms, all of these middle steps are eliminated, saving a great deal of time and money on processing.
One of the main reasons people are reluctant to adopt electronic forms is the perception that electronic signatures aren’t valid. They’ve been legal for over a decade in the USA, and are widely accepted globally. (Source) Some of the common ways of collecting signatures on forms are through signature pads, using password challenges, and by signing directly on a touchscreen.
Forms often kick off workflows and approval processes. Since eForms are captured electronically, sending e-mail notifications and handling approval processes digitally is a given. It’s much easier to track things in a workflow system, than trying to track down paper files and lost documents.
Electronic forms are typically stored in formats like PDF or TIFF, giving you a digital copy of the form itself. The data from the form should also be available for you to integrate with other systems. If you are looking to add electronic forms in your organization, make sure that the software you choose has the ability to integrate seamlessly with your applications.
Version control on paper forms is a nightmare, and imprecise at best. With paper forms you have no way of knowing that every person is filling out the correct version of the form that change on average 5 times per year. With electronic forms, you know the latest version is being completed, you can track who filled things out, and have a complete audit trail of all user activity, with line of sight into the business process. Customers regularly tell me this is one of their main headaches with paper forms.
The holy grail of electronic forms and mobile capture is not only eliminating paper, but being able to process information anywhere in the world. The best of breed applications support things like iPad applications, and let you access forms from any mobile device. If you are in the market, plan ahead and consider how your customers and team members use things like Blackberry’s and tablet PCs.
Revolutionize service for customers and employees with electronic forms. Make use of the consumer devices that they have.
Electronic forms are one of the best ways to go green in your organization. Since you won’t make paper, and will do the entire process electronically, you will significantly reduce your environmental impact of yourself and your organization.
Of course going paperless makes Al Gore happy, so good job!
Questions? Comments? Please let me know. Visit www.lincware.com to learn about LincWare, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your needs, or send me a tweet at :@danieloleary
Transcript of "LincDoc World Paperfree Day Presentation"
Daniel O’Leary, Vice President, LincWare
“As much as 85% of
depend on forms”