Making the transition from paper-based documentation to digital data capture can feel daunting. Businesses often delay their search for a digital solution to paperwork due to the sheer number of perceived time and financial investments, including:
Fear of disrupting workflows
Difficult on-boarding (including the switching costs of adopting a new system)
Intimidating costs of solutions
The need for IT or coding experience
Although these reservations are warranted, there are a variety of solutions available that help teams sidestep obstacles to their digital transformation – without depleting their budget. Mobile forms provide an incredibly flexible, professional solution to traditional data collection obstacles, while simultaneously introducing new opportunities to streamline business processes and reduce administrative overhead.
So where should your business begin the hunt for a digital data capture and paperless form solution? This guide will walk you through the features, functions, and benefits to look for when selecting your mobile forms and data capture solution.
Why go digital?
Taking your data capture, documentation, and processing digital results in incredible benefits, including:
Time and money savings
Improved insights and transparency
What to look for in your mobile forms solution
Your roadmap to mobile forms buying success. Listed below are the key features and benefits your team should prioritize when searching for a mobile forms solution.
Flexible and customizable
Familiar forms, fresh features
New data types (Images, Signatures, GPS)
Preserve your business processes
Endless workflow capabilities
Professional, client ready
Report on and analyze data in real-time
Ready? Let’s get started.
When searching for a digital solution to traditional paper forms, it is incredibly important to consider the long-term goals and growth of your business. Selecting a ‘band-aid’ solution (e.g. fillable PDFs or homegrown IT solutions) to temporarily improve one or two elements of your business leads to wasted spend, isolated data, and frequent inaccuracies. Achieving sustainable results from your mobile forms and digital data capture requires a scalable solution that can grow alongside your business – from small business, to enterprise. To identify which mobile forms solution will scale to meet the growing needs of your business, look for:
An easy to use mobile form builder
A familiar interface for end users
Opportunities to integrate your forms with other business platforms
Ability to automate key data capture processes
Device optimized viewing modes (what works best on a phone, may not works as well on a tablet)
Familiar forms, fresh features
Consider how this new solution will impact your team – how much will they need to relearn? How intuitive will this solution be? Some so called ‘solutions’ place the onus on the end user, forcing teams to capture data within a new and unfamiliar app interface, complicating onboarding and potentially breaking existing daily workflows and processes. By selecting a mobile forms solution that preserves the look of your original paper forms, your new digital forms can be more seamlessly implemented throughout your organization. Working within an interface they already know well, empowers your team to more quickly and confidently adapt to their mobile forms – dramatically reducing onboarding demands and costs.
Insider tip: Select a solution that provides alternative viewing options, tailored to different screen sizes. For example, platforms like GoFormz provide two viewing modes: users can toggle between the original mobile form on larger screen sizes, and an app-like index of fields designed for smaller screen sizes.
New data types
Filling out forms on mobile devices presents end users with endless benefits, including the ability to capture and route new data types, unattainable via paper forms. Leveraging your mobile device’s native features, data types like Images can be easily added to your form and annotated to highlight key features. This functionality is incredibly powerful when working in difficult locations or communicating with customers. For example, imagine you are a tower crane inspector. Rather than burdening yourself with a camera and post-inspection image printing, job site photos can be instantly added to your mobile form with just a ‘tap’. You could then highlight key inspection details (e.g. hazards) by simply annotating the image.
When researching your mobile forms solution, it is important to prioritize these new data types. Features like digital Signature boxes not only improve efficiency via real-time authorization, but can also help your team elevate compliance, improve professionalism and more. Additional digital data types like GPS, maps and Barcode Scanning bring further benefits.
Pre-fill forms and fields
A fantastic result of digitizing your forms for use on mobile devices is the ability to effortlessly streamline data entry and expedite form completion. When comparing mobile form platforms, keep in mind the automations and dynamic properties offered by each solution. While some solutions require the same data to be re-entered form after form, your chosen platform should offer opportunities to instantly fill previously captured, highly accurate data, via intuitive actions.
With mobile forms platforms like GoFormz, scanning a barcode or selecting a dropdown item can instantly populate relevant fields with data from your account, or from integrated platforms. For example, if a user were scanning product barcodes into an inventory form, the Product Name, Manufacturer and Price fields could be instantaneously filled with accurate data from a connected database. This dynamic feature not only accelerates form completion, but also increases data accuracy.
Limitless workflow capabilities
The mobile forms platform that you select should also provide automations that extend beyond the form itself. Effective mobile forms act as a front end to your connected systems and data collection, liberating siloed data via real-time routing and dynamic automations. These mobile form automations turbocharge your existing processes, allowing forms and data to move at the speed of digital. By automating your form workflows, your team can instantly:
Route copies of completed forms to teammates and customers
Transfer form drafts to teammates, streamlining collaboration
Spawn new forms, pre-filled with data
Run and deliver reports
Amend databases and spreadsheets
Notify collaborators when a form is ready
...and so much more!
With paper forms, collected data must be hand-delivered and manually rekeyed into applications, resulting in frequent delays and opportunities for errors. Using select mobile form platforms as a front end for data capture, collected information is preprocessed and ‘sanitized’, prior to updating connected business systems and databases.
Throughout your mobile forms platform selection, keep an eye out for features that can tidy up your data by increasing accuracy and completeness. Features like Automatic Calculations help to ensure that form totals and figures are accurate (with the added bonus of eliminating manual math!). Similarly, dynamic features like Required fields allow form creators to make a field is mandatory based on input data. Ensuring data entered into forms is highly accurate elevates not only the quality of your mobile documents, but also the data quality across your entire operation.
This preprocessing paired with data sharing automation results in effortless improvements in data quality and real-time efficiency. So it is crucial that your chosen mobile forms solution supports the seamless exchange of data between your mobile forms and connected applications. This constant current of real-time information enriches every inch of your operation, leading to increased visibility and more impactful insights.
When researching mobile forms solutions, take care to explore which of your critical applications can be integrated. Using mobile form platforms like GoFormz, your forms can be easily integrated with applications like Salesforce, Procore, Smartsheet, ServiceMax, Box, Google Suite, Office365, Dropbox, Egnyte, and so much more, empowering your team to instantaneously:
Trigger the dispatch of forms pre-filled with integrated record data
Dynamically update and create records within your integrated apps, based on form data
Upload completed forms and new data type attachments like Images
Update form metadata and leverage integrated platform search capabilities
Run detailed reports and create compelling dashboards, based on gathered data
The benefits of connecting your mobile forms to other applications via turnkey integrations and available APIs are endless. When searching for your mobile forms solution, understanding the flexibility of the platform’s integration capabilities is critical to long-term, scalable success.
For most businesses, work isn’t always confined to an office with wifi. For teams using mobile forms in the field, selecting a platform that supports offline data capture capabilities is especially important. An ideal mobile forms solution will host your data while offline and instantly sync data to the Cloud once a signal becomes available.
Insider Tip: When using mobile form platforms like GoFormz, Offline DataSource capabilities add to your form flexibility. This functionality allows select databases to be synced to your mobile device. This way, fields can be instantly populated using database information, even without a signal.
Professional, client ready
When making the switch to digital, businesses often struggle with the unfamiliar look and feel of their mobile solutions – a frustration only exacerbated when working with clients. When working with external-facing documents, the right mobile forms solution can easily elevate your team’s professionalism.
Leveraging a form solution that allows your business to preserve the original look of its forms provides customers with a familiar document, improved with digital features and capabilities. Features like digital Signatures, project Images and Table fields presenting line items or hours worked, add credibility and context to your form data, increasing customer satisfaction. Using form automations, customer-facing forms can even be routed to clients as soon as they are completed, improving communication and accelerating billing cycles. The cherry on top? Your customers will never be subjected to coffee stains, illegible handwriting or missing paperwork, ever again.
Report on and analyze data in real-time
Even if your business amasses huge amounts of data, it all means nothing unless it is leveraged to garner meaningful insights. The most powerful mobile form platforms provide not only built-in reporting, but also the ability to route your data to databases and business intelligence tools. Your business dashboards can update in real-time as new data comes in via mobile forms from the field, allowing you to make better decisions, faster.
Ready to get started? Here’s why you should choose GoFormz
GoFormz mobile forms goes beyond your standard form app, and is the only mobile forms platform that leverages patent-pending technology to allow users to create digital versions of their existing forms, that look exactly like their originals. Using mobile forms that look exactly like your existing paper documents simplifies and expedites on-boarding, while providing a more professional, modern means of documentation for customers and partners. This familiar interface provides a flexible front end for field teams collecting data that will then be routed to other business applications – preprocessing data without disrupting workflows. Powerful integrations with platforms like Salesforce, Procore, Smartsheet, G Suite, ServiceMax, Box, Egnyte, Dropbox, and more, allow data to be passed seamlessly between your mobile forms, systems of record, and databases.
GoFormz also provides a small screen optimized viewing mode for every form, which can be easily toggled on and off whenever a user may need it. Mobile forms can be used offline and later synced to your account once a signal is available. GoFormz mobile forms can also host a variety of new data types like Images, Sketches, GPS/Maps, and Signatures.
Getting started with GoFormz
Getting started with GoFormz is incredibly easy, and requires no code or IT support. First, sign up for a free GoFormz account and login from a computer, then:
Upload a PDF or JPG of your form or use one of our free Starter Form Templates
Drag-and-drop fields onto your uploaded form, in the Template Editor
Make your form fields interactive and dynamic, in the Properties panel
Automate form actions (like routing and Tagging) in the Manage Events Window
Download the GoFormz app and start filling out forms on your mobile devices