Managers have a tough time analyzing this kind of data collected by their field teams on paper. Let’s accept that no matter how smart your field teams are, they are vulnerable to committing errors while collecting data through paper forms. When meaningless data due to errors arise, what it means is wasting a lot of resources. That’s where the problem lies.
Let’s first discuss why the paper form is a bad idea for enterprises and what’s compelling them to shun these forms for various processes like data collection, inspection, audits, maintenance reports, work orders, invoices, etc.
“Did you know that after rent and salaries, the paper is the next largest expense for offices?” (According to a report published by PrintAudit) Here are some stats that will make you think twice about paper forms:
Citigroup, a major financial enterprise concluded that it could save a $700,000 annually if employees could switch to double-sided copying.
Another major bank – Bank of America, took a midway approach and introduced: digital forms, reports, double-sided copying to reduce the paper consumption by 25%. That’s straight 25% of savings of the amount spent on paper.
Another challenge with the paper-based approach is that it requires storage. Storage requires space & space means costs.
Had you been using mobile form applications, these costs wouldn’t appear on your balance sheet, ever. No paper, no printing, no photocopying, no data entry, no storage. Mobile apps mostly use cloud storage – that’s where your data goes.
We have already seen at the beginning of this article that how erroneous it can get while filling out data on paper forms. Apart from filling the wrong form, the legibility could be another issue. Sometimes a field agent who has filled up the form cannot make out himself on what he has actually written. Wrong calculations is another area where a majority of errors take place leading to wrong invoices, work orders, etc.
While entering the data into systems, there’s another possibility that the wrong data can get typed. Paper forms just expose your processes to a variety of errors.
It gets different when mobile forms are used. All these mistakes could be avoided. The first sentence of this article could have been different if the data would have been collected with mobile forms. Mobile forms or digital forms can be built by employing different validations and logic. The irrelevant & repetitive parts of the forms are skipped. Combination of these features cut down the risk of committing grave errors.
For field teams, inspection teams, audit teams, incident reporting teams working with paper forms, it becomes very challenging to describe a certain scenario or an event. But mobile forms make it easier because you can capture images, videos, audio, etc. Teams can click a picture, and annotate it with necessary details and submit the data. Authentication improves because signature & GPS can now be added to the data. Data capture is faster with barcode & QR code features.
All of these features are not feasible with paper forms. It’s not just about the availability of features, but it’s more about making the work more faster and easier for your teams.
In the world of instant gratification & automation, paper forms can really slow you down. Forms filled out on field reach offices late and data is entered into systems even late – there’s a possibility of delay in everything. Compare paper forms with e-forms or mobile forms and it’s crystal clear. When the data is submitted on the mobile form app from the field, it can be accessed by the manager at the office, sitting miles away. Reports can be created and emails can be sent to managers, teams, and customers at any point in time. Your enterprise doesn’t need a data entry operator anymore.
Enterprises cannot analyze the data from the paper forms immediately. It has to be fed into systems. So, it’s as good as records piling up somewhere. But with mobile form applications, it’s a different story.
There are mobile form apps that allow you to track and measure the performance. Business insights through analytics are key features that digital forms can offer. You can make better strategic decisions.
“According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 49% of the enterprises state that the greatest benefit of using data analytics for them has been the ability to make strategic decisions.”
Paper forms could get spoilt, they can get lost in transit, could be sent to the wrong address, etc. The possibilities of things going wrong with these forms are endless.
To sum up, a lot can be done with Google Forms when it comes to data collection. But to be honest, there’s so much that you can’t do with these forms.
That’s the exact reason why businesses explore other Google Forms alternatives like Axonator.
The safety could always be questioned here, but it isn’t true with mobile forms. Paper forms cannot be encrypted but digital forms can be. The access of information to users can be controlled with mobile form apps. Several layers of data security can be employed to safeguard your data.
Axonator is one of the most trusted mobile form application for enterprises. It has helped enterprises build robust form apps and workflows to automate the data collection process.
There are inbuilt apps for various processes like field work, inspections, audits, incident reporting, installation, safety, fleet management, quality, maintenance, etc. You can easily customize these apps to match your needs just by drag and drop – without coding at all.
Making customized reports with Axonator is very easy. Gain business insights with powerful dashboard analytics on the mobile app. Discover better revenue opportunities through strategic decision-making.
What may surprise you is the fact that Axonator can allow your digital transformation in surprisingly low turnaround time and costs.
Interested in knowing how Axonator can further help you in going paperless?
Get in touch with us now at firstname.lastname@example.org