We live in an age of awesome technology. We have gadgets to help us with pretty much everything we do. iPods let us listen to music on the move, high-tech microwave bring us dinner in minutes, robot vacuum cleaners will even clean for us! Sometimes I pinch myself to remind myself how clever it all is. No doubt there’s even a robot that could do the pinching if you like.
Yet, we are still obsessed with a very old ‘technology’: paper. Not for keeping up with loved ones, or causing havoc in classrooms, but for collecting information. Paper forms are everywhere. Businesses both large and small use them every day. It’s strange when you think about it. There are a thousand reasons why paper forms are outdated, inefficient and unhelpful, so why haven’t businesses stopped using them years ago when we have accessible technology to use?
Think about the ways paper forms thank us for our unending loyalty. We design them, print them, love them, store them. What do we get in return? Illegible handwriting, double data-entry, lost or damaged forms, desk clutter, even paper cuts! Worst of all, a paper form isn’t clever enough to do maths on its own. Can’t add up to save its life. Why do we bother?
A revolution is finally upon us. Increasingly, enterprises are facing up to the truth of disloyal paper forms and thinking about the huge benefits of investing time and effort to fully utilize the mobile technologies already at our fingertips.
With so many people owning smartphones and tablets today, the answer to swapping out paper forms is already in our pockets or sitting on our desks. When you start to use forms on a mobile device instead of paper you enjoy many features that paper never delivered: GPS capture, photo taking, maths, signature capture, even reference data.
Companies large and small find they save time and money by going mobile. They enjoy the efficiencies of data being entered accurately (the first time), the immediate availability of data to managers, colleagues, even customers. Mobile forms improve their communications between headquarters and the field. Many have found that they understand their business better by expanding their data collection. Even better? All that juicy data is stored conveniently and securely in the cloud for easy access. They even enjoy more space in their offices by removing filing cabinets and need for storage!
We’ve spent too long living with paper forms in the dark ages. Let’s get our forms running on mobile devices, speed up our businesses, and delight our customers. Maybe we’ll get home early and watch our robots clean our houses for us.