We are in the middle of a worldwide digital transformation with direct investments in digital solutions growing at a CAGR of 15.5% every year. Businesses are leveraging new technologies to automate and streamline time-consuming business processes that would ordinarily drain significant time and resources. One such process which is ideally suited for digitization is form-filling.
Over the years, manual forms have been widely used in various industries to help organizations collect field data and process information. Manually filling out these documents can be time-intensive and error-prone for frontline workers. This is one of the reasons why it’s important for companies to consider migrating from paper-based record-keeping methods toward digital solutions. Thanks to advances in contemporary technology, it’s now possible to reduce the costs associated with managing paperwork while enjoying greater flexibility. Here are some of the benefits of making the switch:
1- Collect data accurately and rapidly.
Digital forms can be completed in a fraction of the time it takes to fill out paper forms. They are generally more accessible and intuitively designed, which means that your team can get to the next task earlier. Plus, digital forms offer more accuracy because:
- They’ve been designed to capture data exactly how you’d like it collected – including text boxes or drop-down menus for specific answers.
- Validation checks are applied at the time of data entry to ensure error-free inputs and relevance. Frontline workers can submit them from anywhere, anytime – even offline.
In addition, management no longer has to worry about lost data due to “missing” paper forms.
If you have a global operation consisting of speakers of multiple languages, some digital form can adjust to the local language of the user, increasing the readability and accuracy of submitted data.
Digital form entries can also be automatically assessed for correct formatting, as well as checked against the organization’s business rules. This can help eliminate errors before they are submitted or even printed out by a staff member.
By digitizing these forms and routing them through a digital workflow, organizations can improve the quality of field data by increasing data traceability, capturing rich supporting content such as media and geotags. With automation at every step in the process—from capture to verification to validation—compliance across all departments or teams involved in collecting or using this information will eventually improve.
This means that not only will a digital form be more accurate than a paper one – it will also help you collect data faster. And the faster you collect data, the sooner you can use it for decision making.
2- Create a better frontline worker experience.
Document digitization can help organizations create a better frontline worker experience, so they can spend more time on high-value tasks. For example, frontline workers spend about 30% of their time entering data into paper forms and legacy systems in customer service centers. When these same forms are digitized and made available on mobile devices, workers can spend more time directly serving customers.
Digital forms are accessible on any device – desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, wrist computers, smart glasses, and smart watches – so no matter where or when someone completes a digital form, they’ll be able to do so on their preferred device. They can even leave the form semi-finished on one device and continue on another, providing frontline workers enormous flexibility on the field.
In addition to improving the frontline worker experience, digitizing documents provides organizations with greater access to data related to customer interactions and field activity. This can help to improve performance across the organization by providing insights into how well the company is meeting their customer and operational needs.
3- Track and analyze field activity performance.
With digitized forms, organizations can better track and analyze the performance of field workers. This can allow them to improve frontline performance and leverage data to make better business decisions. One way to do this is by using dashboards that compare frontline activities across different teams or departments. For example, if you have an assembly team that is responsible for assembling parts on a production line, they can be compared with other teams in different shifts to analyze the best performing team and reveal performance outliers.
A digital form is not simply a set of user inputs. With each user interaction, they can collect various types of enriched content, such as user information, geolocation, date/time, user’s movements (i.e. direction/speed etc.), and video footage from the user’s point-of-view (using smart glasses). This large amount of data collection requires effective reporting tools such as dashboards to track trends and analyze results – which is possible with the right tech stack. Using these powerful tools can reveal valuable insights in a very short time, enabling managers to observe trends, segregate outliers and assist managers to decide on what to improve.
4- Shorten data-to-action cycle time.
Digital forms and the effective reporting of digital forms enable management to get curated insights on the go and effortlessly act on low-performing or problematic activities on the field.
Rich data reporting and delivery options such as report dashboards, conditional triggering email notifications on problematic entries, and the ability to inform relevant people on each problematic case, make digital forms a very powerful tool to manage field activities.
For example, a production manager can be notified if a production-related task is completed incorrectly or a maintenance manager can be notified if a piece of production equipment is stated as non-compliant on the same form. This flexibility of automatic data dissemination makes digital forms an extremely powerful tool to manage field operations.
5- Save money and time.
Manual data entry is slow, tedious, and prone to errors. Digital forms cost less to manage than paper forms because they reduce data collection labor by eliminating the need for manual data entry and re-entry into legacy systems while also helping you minimize time spent on training and managing data.
Data collected from electronic forms is more accurate than from paper forms because of managed validation principles preventing human error during input, which is the most common type of error during form entry.
A digital form helps organizations save time by automatically validating all the information entered before submission or export, so that management doesn’t have to manually check each piece of submitted data for validity during the review process. In addition, with the involvement of IoT and Bluetooth-enabled equipment, capturing measurement data is becoming more like pressing a button to automatically pull digital data from the tool/equipment with no manual input requirement.
If you’ve got this far, chances are you know the benefits of digitizing manual enterprise forms. To summarize, here are the key reasons why your business should consider going digital:
- Reduced paper usage and storage space
- Improved data accuracy and security
- Greater flexibility in how forms are used and accessed by staff members, clients, and customers alike (even while they’re on the go!)
- And as always: increased efficiency!
If you’re thinking of digitally transforming a manual data collection process such as routine HSE inspections, location checks, lock-out tag-out reporting Taskimo is a powerful form automation platform to consider. Taskimo provides a no-code form authoring and publishing platform that can be deployed on your servers for data security, allowing frontline workers to fill out forms even offline via an easy-to-use mobile application. Data collected is reported in many formats and can be shared as ready-to-distribute PDFs. Collected data can also be pushed to any legacy systems in any format required. Contact us to get more information on how Taskimo can add value to your field operations.