ABCs of How Businesses Can Use Electronic Forms

By Jason Peck on January 15, 2014

You’ll probably agree with me that sometimes it’s hard to describe something that’s very useful, something that does its job and is awesome.  You think about it and it’s just hard to put your finger on that one thing about it.

 For us at GoCanvas, one of these things is electronic forms. We’re insanely passionate about how businesses can use electronic forms to save time and money, while boosting their productivity.

But because they have so many uses and endless applications, electronic forms can be hard to describe.

Between this fact and trying to write this while watching the NFL playoffs this weekend, I wasn’t able to pick just one or two ways businesses can benefit from electronic forms. Or five or ten. 

Below you’ll find 26 uses of electronic forms that organizations of all shapes and sizes can benefit from. If there’s not something that you can apply to your business, I salute you, because you are a master of data collection and are probably here from the future.

We’re breaking down the benefits of electronic forms, letter by letter (Paula Godoy, Source).

Analyze processes – Before getting started with electronic forms, analyze your current processes (hint: what information are you currently using paper forms for). Also think about what additional processes you should put into place to capture even more information to improve your business. 

Back up your data – One of the best uses of electronic forms is that you’ll always have your data. We store it in the GoCanvas cloud, so your data is easily accessible, and you don’t have to worry about it getting lost or storing it in filing cabinets. 

Calculations – Eliminate human error by setting your forms up to perform calculations, like automatically figuring out how much tax should be added to an inovice and calculating the total. 

Double down on safety – Workplace safety is often overlooked, until something bad happens. Don’t take any chances and put your forms to work here. The safety department from one of our clients estimates they’ve saved over 300 hours a year

Elevate your efficiency – With electronic forms, your business can see immedicate increases in efficiency, due to time and costs savings associated with reducing the hassles of paperwork. 

Fix processes – Did someone forget to fill out that most important field on that form, AGAIN? Eliminate this problem with electronic forms, which enable you to require that certain fields be filled out, so you can improve your processes. 

Grade employees – You could capture info relating to how certain employees performed a given task and easily make notes. Or you could look at how employees are doing specific tasks and see who is doing the best job at completing them. 

Highlight wins – Having all the data relating to how employees performed a specific task, can be really helpful in highlighting the best ones, so you can show examples of what people should strive for. 

Inspect everything – Electronic forms are great for inspections and capturing information, from the biggest buildings to the smallest parts of a machine. 

Jump on opportunities – The opportunities are practically endless with what you can capture via electronic forms, and you’ll also start to see opportunities for improvement. Jump on these and get moving!

Kiss your paper forms goodbye.  

This picture is infinitely cooler than anyone kissing a paper form. Brocken Inaglory, Source 

Learn – Want to analyze the most common problem areas with an inspection or that certain customers are facing? By capturing this data electronically, it’s easy to do. 

Manage projects – From projects like remodeling and moving, to using electronic forms for checklists to ensure specific steps are being taken, electronic forms can be used for managing just about any project. 

Notes and more – Can your paper forms capture GPS, do calculations, have specific conditional screens, scan barcodes and send notifications to your employees? Didn’t think so. 

Observe customers – Businesesses can use electronic forms to observe customer behavior and record their experiences with your store environment, products, services and.or employees. 

Photos – Being able to capture photos, whether of a building site, retail location, or specific repair, and take notes on them via a mobile device is a great thing for businesses, especially when you include the photos in inspections, work orders, invoices and more. 

Quit using paper forms! I think there’s a theme here… 

Recoup lost time – Recover the time it takes to get paper forms back to the office, decipher handwriting, and manually input data into office systems. With electronic forms, the data can be shared in real-time. 

Surveys and signatures – Make it even easier to do surveys and capture signatures electronically. 

Time Sheets – If your employees are already using mobile devices for their work and collecting data, they might as well also fill out time sheets electronically, too. 

Undercover shoppers – You could bring undercover shoppers into your business location/s and give them tablets with forms to fill out grading the customer experience, employee friendliness, cleanliness of the store, or any other information you’d like to get from the customer’s point of view. 

Verify information  – Want to look up information about a customer or specific job? Electronic forms and storing the data in the cloud can make this simple. 

Whip Paper – As you can see, paper is no match for mobile forms. 

X-ray request forms – Electronic forms are great for any request form. But if you’re looking for X-ray requests, we’ve got you covered

Yes, you can save time and money with electronic forms. Try GoCanvas free today! 

Zoo inspections – If you don’t see the value of electronic forms by now, then this zoo inspection form probably won’t change your mind. But it’s worth a shot.