The key to improving your process with mobile forms is to not get overwhelmed with the task of trying to replicate everything you were previously doing with paper, but instead focusing on the data collection and analysis goals that you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to be able to collect data in the field and get it back into your office so that it can be invoiced within minutes, focus on the on the tools needed to make that happen.
Switching to Mobile Forms
So let's talk about the 5 tips and tricks to going paperless with mobile forms!
- A fillable PDF is NOT a mobile form - There are many services that will boast that you can fill out your forms "right on your tablet", which is true. But that is all you can do! You literally have to click each space on your giant form and type in the data. This is no faster than if you were still doing it on paper. That is why you want to focus on more than just replicating what you were doing before, and focus on the issues you are trying to solve. If your goal is to make it so your data automatically flows into your Quickbooks system or SQL server database, then check out how GoCanvas makes this possible with our integration with Zapier.
- "Auto-fill" fields with Reference Data - One of the biggest ways you can start saving time and money with your mobile forms is by automating the process of filling it out. What I mean is that a user should only have to select a customer's name or a project location once, and the mobile form should fill out all the necessary details of that selection automatically. This "auto-fill" type functionality is possible with GoCanvas through Reference Data. You simply take an Excel file with customer, employee, material or other types of company information and connect it to the proper sections within your mobile form. This can reduce the amount of time and mistakes made filling out forms by 50%.
- Building multi-step approvals with Workflow - Paper forms make getting approvals a time-consuming affair. First, someone completes the form, then the forms have to be mailed/faxed/driven back to the office. From there it must be redirected to the right supervisor to review, comment, and sign before it is then finally completed days or weeks later. By using Workflow with Canvas mobile forms, the process of sharing time-sensitive documents takes minutes. All a user has to do is fill out their section of the form on their device, press submit, and the form will automatically be sent to their supervisor's device for review, comment, and approval. This whole process can be customized to fit each mobile form or departments needs as well.
- Manage tasks right from your desktop - Many companies struggle to properly or effectively communicate job information with their personnel, especially in the construction, field service, and retail industries. Most of the time it is done through text messages, emails, or even phone calls. With the GoCanvas Dispatch manager, you can create, schedule, and assign tasks right from your computer. These assignments will automatically send a push-notification to the field user with the description of what they are to complete, and whatever related information you have pre-assigned on the mobile form. Now when they show up on the job site, the job information is already filled out on their mobile form and they can proceed on completing the job they were sent there to do.
- Create custom reports to fit your business - When using a paper form, you are locked into a box of how you can fill it out and what it looks like. With GoCanvas mobile forms, you get complete control over both of these aspects! Not only can you design your forms from scratch using our no code, drag-and-drop builder, but you can also design exactly how you want the completed report to look like with the GoCanvas PDF Designer. In this way, you can control the presentation of the information that your employees are collecting based on the type of form they are filling out. This allows you to have full control over how your internal staff and clients receive the information, and allow them to make real-time decisions as soon as they receive it.