Are Forms Like Potato Chips?
While eForms are not new, it always surprises me that more organizations don’t use them. Especially municipalities, with their record-keeping and compliance mandates. Clients who use them find forms like potato chips﹘you can’t have just one. Now is the time to abandon paper forms and “fillable” PDFs (that often require printing and scanning.) If you are considering Laserfiche Forms or if you are not considering Forms, here are some reasons why you should examine how LF Forms will help your staff with day-to-day tasks and enrich your customer service:
Electronic forms cut paper costs- According to industry experts, the average cost to process a paper form is $4.56. If you handle about 125 forms per week that’s almost 30,000 per year. Now if you factor in complexity, the price increases. Electronic forms reduce these costs.
Cuts your organizational carbon footprint- Switching to forms obviously helps eliminate paper. One recent study asserts that the average office worker uses between 9-10,000 pieces of paper every year. Significantly the real costs are those of printing, copying, capturing the data locked in the form, distribution, storage, and findability. Eliminating paper from the beginning can have a major impact. I know quite a few municipalities are trying to reduce waste. Electronic forms will make a significant reduction.
Simplify collaboration and sharing- Paper forms are difficult to route. Often, you wind up with versioning issues because the form needs to be copied or scanned for multiple staff members. Sometimes they get lost, either in someone’s paper in-box or their email in-box. It makes sharing or collaborating promptly rather difficult. If the information on the paper form is important then it needs to be in a format that allows for easy sharing. And if the data on the form requires manipulation or input into a business application an electronic form is the smart choice.
Anytime/Anywhere Access- While paper forms can be scanned, electronic forms are natively easier to secure, control, and access at any time from any device. In today’s COVID- response environment work has migrated to WFH and is distributed to remote locations. Accordingly, organizations need to provide secure 247/365 access.
Accuracy and Integrity- It’s easy to make an error on a paper form and it’s even easier to make a mistake during data entry. Laserfiche Forms allow for data validation for format and calculations, decreasing the likelihood of errors. Additionally, metadata from form fields can be synced with business applications, ensuring accurate data is getting to the right application.
Integration- The information locked-in paper forms sometimes ends up riddled with errors and the forms themselves could easily end up filed in the wrong place. One of the most important features of electronic forms is that they are a structured way to ask for information which then can easily be integrated with CRM, HRIS, ERP, or any other business platform. The form types include purchase orders, contracts, employee records. Related forms can be grouped to form a case, so that they may be reviewed, approved, distributed, managed, stored, and retrieved, consistently and accurately. The forms are in Laserfiche but are updated in the business application.
Auditing- Inevitably, paper forms pass through multiple hands, some of which are updating or changing the information collected on the form. The form’s “path”, who sees it, and what changes are made can be difficult to track. E-forms have an audit trail, so at any time (with the correct permissions) you can see who has viewed the form and if they have made changes. If the form is part of a workflow, it can quickly be located in the process, plus you can create reports on the status of the forms. Auditing can be difficult to conduct on paper.
Forms can kick off workflows- Arguably, the best reason to switch to paper forms is the ability to automate your business processes. Electronic forms allow for automatic notifications (via email) of work assignments to ensure timely processing across the entire organization. If you are looking to streamline the management of documents, plus ensure that your clients can access forms online at any time no matter their location or device, please consider implementing Laserfiche Forms.