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Digital Forms vs. Paper Forms? No contest.

September 9, 2020 / in Business Recommendations, Information Technology / by

Digital Forms vs. Paper Forms. No contest.

We’re all looking for ways to be more efficient and improve communication internally and with our customers. For businesses that go on site to do their work, digital forms are an excellent way to improve the process and communication with your clients. Digital forms include things like site surveys, scheduled maintenance calls, or anything else you need to document when you go on site for your customer.

Recently, one of my clients asked me to help them move to online forms. They want their employees to be able to submit site surveys and maintenance call forms from their cell phone or tablet. (This isn’t my typical work like blogging, LinkedIn training and web development. But I’ve been an IT guy for as long as I can remember and I was a software engineer for many years after college. They knew this. So they asked. And I said yes.)

One of the solutions I’ve found is working well so far. But first, you might want to know why digital forms are worth the time and hassle to implement in your business.

Why are Digital Forms better than Paper Forms?

I could talk for hours about this… but instead I’ll give you a few of the most important reasons that digital forms are better than paper forms:

  1. Digital forms allow you to standardize the data you collect as a result of everyone using the same form.
  2. You can implement rules to make sure forms are being filled out correctly. These include requiring certain fields, allowing only valid phone numbers and email addresses to be entered, etc.
  3. You can implement drop down lists of common answers to speed up the data entry process. (And you want to do this as much as possible.)
  4. The data in digital forms is more secure than paper forms lying around in a truck or office. And spilling your coffee won’t affect a digital form.
  5. Online form solutions allow you to generate custom reports to professionally present the data your team collects. Your customers will notice this kind of a step up in communication.

FastField Mobile Forms

One of the tools I’m researching for my client is FastField Mobile Forms. There were a couple of important features that made me want to try out their solution:

First, they support offline forms. In other words, if an employee is on site and can’t get an internet connection through cellular or WiFi, they can still fill out the digital forms. Later, when they have an internet connection, the forms are sync’d up to the cloud.

Second, they support image capture with annotations and drawings. In other words, an employee can take a picture of the current situation and make notes and recommendations on what needs to happen next. This will be incredibly helpful for site assessment and maintenance related forms.

Third, FastField mobile forms integrate with custom PDF documents for reporting. All you have to do is create a PDF with form fields. Then you match the fields in FastField mobile forms to the fields in your custom PDF form. Boom.

Is your company still using paper forms?

If your company is still using paper forms, it might be time to dig into the possibility of moving to digital forms. Yes, it takes time and money to implement a solution. But you know it’s the right answer. FastField mobile forms is one of the many options out there that can get you up and running quickly and affordably. (And hey, I’m not being compensated by FastField, I just like their solution.)

Keep adding new skills and pivoting. Tackling a project like this may result in a valuable tool that you use to differentiate yourself from your competition. Good luck out there!

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