Investing in Mobile Form Builders: How to Calculate the ROI

By The GoCanvas Team on December 3, 2021
Tags: Data Collection, Productivity

Man on tablet device creating a form

If you are thinking about investing in a mobile form builder, it’s important to understand what that means for your business and the potential return on investment (ROI). Form builders help field service companies to digitize their processes and improve workflows between the field and office. Simple, yet powerful software built for the field can become your competitive advantage, with a digital experience for customers and tools to improve productivity for your employees. This article will cover some of the types of questions to ask yourself to understand the potential ROI that can be achieved through direct cost savings, productivity gains, and much more. You can also access our free ROI calculator here, that shows you the impact of GoCanvas on key business outcomes.


8 Considerations for Calculating ROI

While calculating return on investment is a fairly simple calculation, there can be some nuance to understand the different ways software impacts your business outcomes. The basic concept of ROI calculations is to understand the cost savings or revenue growth achieved when implementing software, minus the cost of the initial investment. The difference is your return on investment and it helps provide justification for the time, effort, and money spent on building out these business processes. With most form builders and field service management software, there is a clear return on investment in the form of cost savings, productivity gains, and competitive advantage by going digital over paper. While each business is unique, here are some helpful questions and categories to consider:


1. Number of Employees on Staff

Starting with the number of employees you have is important for understanding your ROI calculation. For example, if you only have two employees that are managing your operations, the calculation will be very different than if you have one hundred employees. As a company scales its growth, it becomes a larger impact to implement form builders and software built for the field to help eliminate manual processes. Manual processes on a smaller scale are manageable, but become increasingly difficult as your business grows.


2. The Cost of Paper

It’s often overlooked, but the direct cost of paper can be more than you think. You should consider things like how many paper forms are filled out by employees each day and what are the costs per form. This will allow you to calculate the direct cost of paper spent on a daily basis, so you can get a true cost of your paper processes. GoCanvas is often priced below what a typical company spends on buying paper forms, not to mention the impact that office paper has on the environment.


3. Time Spent Delivering Paper Forms

Do your employees spend time traveling between the field and office to manage paperwork? If so, then you could be losing valuable employee time that can add up into a significant cost to your business. To calculate the total daily cost of form delivery, you can multiply the number of hours per day spent delivering forms by the average hourly wage for a field technician. Form delivery is often one of the most expensive components of paperwork and manual processes. Going digital allows employees to upload their documentation instantly to the cloud, giving real-time visibility into operations and reducing the need for travel time.


4. Time Spent Manually Entering Data

Another cost that is often overlooked and difficult to calculate is the time employees spend in the office to manage paperwork and perform manual data entry. To calculate the total daily cost of manual data entry, you can multiply the hourly pay of office administrators by the number of hours per day employees spend  entering paperwork into your back office or accessing paper based forms.

By pushing data collected from field service management software to your other back office software tools, you can eliminate these very manual processes of data entry and paper form collection. Don’t forget the cost of hard to read paperwork, or even having to pull that paperwork afterwards to confirm information. Rework is often another culprit when it comes to dealing with manual processes that are a drain on productivity.


5. Time Spent Fixing Incorrect Forms and Tracking Down Information

Form builders like GoCanvas can help you to eliminate the time spent tracking down missing or incomplete information and trying to decipher handwritten data and information. Understanding the daily cost of fixing errors and tracking down information is an important consideration. Be sure to ask yourself how many hours a day are spent by your data entry specialist tracking down info and/or fixing errors. While this may be hard to calculate, having an estimate is a useful measure for understanding how employees on average are spending their time fixing problematic paperwork.


6. Time Spent Calculating Costs and Looking For Data

Form builders like GoCanvas will save you a large percentage of the time spent doing manual calculations and looking up data that would normally have been in paper-based customer lists, product catalogs and price lists. Be sure to calculate how many hours per day are spent by each of your mobile workers looking up information. For examples this could be in Parts Catalogs, Patient Files, Price Books, Tax Lists, Delivery Schedules, and more. This will allow you to better understand the total daily time savings by switching from paper forms to a digital form builder like GoCanvas.

GoCanvas will save you a large percentage of the time spent doing manual calculations and looking up data that would normally have been in paper-based customer lists, product catalogs and price lists.


7. Job Write-Offs

Many businesses that lose important documents like work orders and invoices have to write these costs off. Software can help you to eliminate this issue and helps you recoup this lost revenue. For example, how much business do you write off because of lost, damaged or illegible paperwork each week? While this may be harder for you to calculate, having an estimate of the write-offs that happen while on the job can help you get an idea of lost opportunities that can be avoided with better processes.


8. Other Soft Savings to Consider

In addition to helping organizations recoup lost revenue and save time, tools like GoCanvas enable businesses to realize a variety of soft savings that may or may not be able to be directly measured, but can be extremely valuable. Here are some key considerations:

  • Are efforts to improve your company’s going green initiatives important to you and your company?
  • Is the ability to access real time data from the field important to you or your company?
  • Field service software does the math for your workers, eliminating errors. Is this important to you and your company?
  • Technology can collect information not possible on paper (e.g., the actual time of events, GPS locations, photos, payment capture) and give you advanced functionality to Dispatch forms to employees and improve collaboration. Are these features important to you and your company? 


Now that you have an understanding of what factors go into calculating the business impact of software built for the field, be sure to fill out our free online calculator to see the potential ROI of GoCanvas. You can also reach out to our team at any time to set up a conversation and we can walk you through the ways GoCanvas can make an impact for your business growth.