5 Components of Smart Electronic Forms (eForms)
The differences in eForms offerings on the market could be compared to phones. You have your basic hard-wired wall unit, your cordless (but hardwired) model and finally, your smartphone—a high powered hand-held computer. They provide the same basic functionality, but one saves you oodles of time, integrates your data and content, and seems to have unlimited applications.
Smart electronic forms, the kind that can provide serious process efficiencies, have 5 essential components.
Integrates form (and the data) with any business systemSome of the most substantial value you can achieve from electronic forms is gained through integrations with your existing business systems: line-of-business systems, ERPs, CRMs, Case Management systems (CMS), home-grown systems, and even databases.
Data can be pulled from these systems to auto-fill, validate and correct data in form fields, real-time. Not only does this make the form filling process quicker and easier for the user, but it helps ensure complete and accurate data.
Anytime in the process, the submitted data can be pushed to these systems to update records immediately.
Robust, transparent workflowFor a fully automated process, a powerful workflow engine is essential. Features that help expedite processing include automated alerts and reminders. Customizable views for individual users expose only the information necessary, providing a simple and secure approval process.
In addition, both submitter and business, have visibility to the form as is progresses through the processing cycle.
Feature-rich user interface for quick & complete submittalMany eForms applications limit your ability to automate they simply collect field data and then require additional steps for a complete submittal of required information. Items such as signatures, supporting documents, images with annotations, etc. often require additional keying and rekeying, handling and human interference. It’s important to find a platform that provides this full functionality.
Additionally, look for features such as auto-calculation, action-based dynamic sections that expand or collapse, progress bars and pop-up calendars.
Easy to build and exposeWho wants to engage IT help every time they need a new form generated? An easy to master, drag-and-drop form builder will put control in the hands of your business unit. You’ll gain huge benefit by being able to edit current forms and create new ones to automate any process.
Once created, whether serving customers, constituents or employees, your forms should be available anywhere: public websites, portals, intranet sites or line-of -business systems. They should be responsive, so they’ll display perfectly any device, desktop to smartphone. Really smart eForms allow you to fill offline and sync for universal access.
Control over form and final document appearanceForms you expose on public and internal sites should reflect your brand, from logo to corporate colors and fonts. Look for a platform that provides that options for appearance.
More importantly, the simplified form in the fillable state should be able to be converted to any format you require. For example, the simple, dynamic eForms we created for courtroom processes maps the data to a state mandated forms for the final archived document.
If you’re vetting electronic form solutions, you’re obviously ready to move past paper. But the capabilities of very few eForms platforms run deep and provide end-to-end automation that can be extended to many processes. Do your homework. You don’t want to invest in a touch-tone, wall-mounted model in this era of pocket-sized-super-computer phones.
Let us know if we can provide additional information about how smart eForms can maximize efficiencies in your business processes. Visit our website ILINX eForms, request specific information here, or give us a call at 360-943-9273.