eForms – Don’t get left in the dust!

Five years ago eForms was an intelligent business practice to implement.  It saved a lot of time, money, and increased accuracy as it relates to both the data coming in and the data being entered into your system.  People were comfortable with technology so they figured out how to use your eForms.

Fast forward to now… If you are not implementing eForms you will get left in the dust.  Most people use technology every day because it is convenient but the new generation who is entering the workforce in droves and are becoming the consumers, employees and constituents use technology as their way of life.  Take technology away from a kid today and they have a difficult time functioning.  It would be like taking away our right arms when we were kids and asking us to communicate.  We couldn’t because we needed our right (or left) hands to communicate.  We wrote notes to each other in school and passed them in the hallways or in class when the teachers weren’t looking.  I refer to that as early american text messaging.  We used a pen and wrote words on a piece of paper and handed it to someone as a means of communicating information to each other.

I don’t believe kids in school hand notes to each other anymore.  They text, tweet, or Instagram each other the information they want to convey.  These same people are going to be your consumers, tax payers or constituents in the next few years and you still make them fill out things on paper with a pen.  Then you take that paper and most likely hand type it into your contact management software or scan it into your system.  That process is incredibly antiquated, time consuming, and expensive.

If the customers of tomorrow don’t like to use pens to communicate why are you making them?  You wouldn’t make your customers use smoke signals to give you information would you?  Of course not, no one communicates that way anymore.  Guess what, no one wants to use a pen either!  Get with the times and let people communicate with you in their preferred method which is via technology.

GreenTrail Solutions can provide you with an eForm solution before you get left in the dust.

What is an Electronic Form (e-form)

An electronic form, or e-form, is a dynamic document that captures information. E-forms can be downloaded by a customer for use at anytime, online or off. The e-forms can then be submitted back and added to the document management system for data extraction and storage. The entire form is stored electronically and can be put into a workflow for further review and approval such as the case with expense reports.

Any type of form such as invoices, expense reports, job applications, permits, or requests that is used to collect and track information can be transformed into a Microsoft Office Word e-form using the developer content controls. Forms can be created by any skilled Microsoft Word user, no programming skills are required. Electronic form creation and capture of the metadata fields can be provided  for customers by GreenTrail Solutions as a professional service.

Benefits of Electronic Forms (e-forms)

  • User-friendly Microsoft Word forms or PDF forms: E-forms can be filled out and submitted or added to the document management system easily using the widely-known and used Microsoft Word application(coming soon is support for PDF forms). Forms can be pre-populated with data, such as in drop-down lists and date pickers, saving users valuable data entry time and ensuring consistency.
  • Accuracy: E-forms improve the accuracy of data collected by ensuring the data type and format is correct.  For example, if a person was filling out a job application and attempted to enter a letter in the social security number field, this would not be allowed. It also improves the accuracy of the metadata collected on the form when it is added to the document management system. Since the values on the e-form can be automatically extracted, this removes the level of error that comes with manual entry.
  • Availability: E-forms can be made available at anytime or anywhere when there is an internet connection and / or computer available. E-forms can be placed on corporate web sites or be made accessible via the Guest Portal in the document management system.
  • Automation: Using the XML Node Extraction rules in the document management system, there is no limit to the amount of information you can collect via e-forms. The data is automatically extracted from the e-form and formatted to match your schemas and metadata fields. There is no manual entry of metadata required.
  • Cost Savings: E-forms reduce user errors, decrease processing time, and eliminate the costs of printing, mailing and storing traditional forms.
  • Efficiency: E-forms streamline the processing of forms such as expense reports, invoices, and registrations. After an e-form has been filled out and added to the document management system, it can then undergo a workflow process (review or approval) for further processing.

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