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Standard Forms Vs Electronic Forms

STANDARD FORMS

Every business has at some stage relied on forms to gather the data from customers or organizations.

The paper based forms have been the cornerstone option of this data gathering process for a long time. Paper based forms are required to be filled out on the spot with a pen. They can be distributed to end user/organization via regular mail services.

The typical business process cycle of paper based forms looks something like this:

Standard form business costs directly related to your business:

• Sourcing out printing provider and arranging printing of the forms• Selection/buying proper paper stock for printed forms

• Providing/organizing storage for forms

• Distribution of the form (via regular mail services or non-regular mail services)

• Wastage of obsolete forms

• End-user form data error (omissions, errors)

There will also be substantial time needed, before the form finishes its cycle and is ready to be submitted to database.

Most time consuming steps are: printing, distribution of form to/from end user/organization, data unreliability (errors, omissions) and your input of completed form data into database manually.

Additional costs: If the form details change or if any update to the forms is applied than a reprint of the physical form would be required. Wastage of obsolete forms would occur.

eFORMS

eForms are electronic versions of a standard form.

They go by many names. eForms are also known as: editable forms, interactive forms, smart forms, PDF forms, digital forms, Acrobat forms, fillable forms, iPad forms, smartphone forms.

Now let’s have a look at the typical eForms business cycle, so we can easily compare the differences over standard forms.

Let’s list some of the core benefits of using eForms.

Elimination of paper

There is no need for arranging printing and selecting printing stock, since eForms are ‘paperless’.

This immediately saves you time & offers cost savings for your business. Furthermore, since we don’t rely on paper as a medium to gather data, there is no need to arrange any storage space.

Benefits of digital transformation

eForms reside in a digital format. Distribution of eForms is instant and free, since it relies on the internet/email as a distributor, thus relieving you of costs for maintaining regular/non-regular mail services. It also gives you option to distribute your form from anywhere.

Because of the digital transformation, eForms offer many possibilities to data collection process. Once the eForms are designed it is easy to implement interactive elements, computational fields, digital signatures that help gather all the data and increase the accuracy of input information.

The interactive elements of the eForm make end user’s form filling effortless and provide options to modify data at any time while retaining the input data embedded inside the form.

The eForm also offers option of securing the form data via encryption/password feature, as well as providing legally binding digital signatures.

Benefits of data collection

Collection of data from an eForm can be set up to be captured individually (through newly created PDF electronic forms) or via a centralized database (if you have an online server).

The benefit of a centralized database is that it ‘catches’ the data automatically for each distributed form and submits it to your online database, relieving you of the need to manually re-key the data into your database.