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March 2016

eForms: are you missing a trick?


Advances in electronic forms could offer significant benefits to organisations trying to remove paper from their processes, argues Vijay Magon of CCube Solutions.

With the rise in on-line business and e-commerce, organisations need a simple, cost effective way to capture and track transactions through the various processes, to successful conclusion. eForms ticks all the boxes in terms of functionality and potential use: studies by Gartner and Microsoft clearly show significant and tangible savings where eForms are deployed. The reality on the ground paints a different picture - why aren't more organisations using eForms?

eForms must not be seen in isolation from a planned information strategy. An eForms Framework helps to define a business strategy - simply deploying an eForm will not deliver that strategy.

eForms are essentially structured data entry screens used for collecting data which can be used to feed any number of front and back-end systems used in business processes, for example, HR and ERP applications, reporting tools, letter generation, etc. But these forms must not be seen as simply tools for data collection - this is just the start.

    As a minimum, eForms must:
  • Be usable on any mobile device, without having to manage versions for each device type
  • Allow the user to rapidly collect data using rich user interface controls
  • Validate data collected and save it for reuse
  • Perform simple and complex calculations using the data collected
  • Display and feedback to the user selected results to support analyses and reporting, including dashboardstyle charting

New and imaginative uses of eForms are in development, for example in Health Care, and at various stages of user acceptance. These developments are tightly coupled with major advances in the interaction between users and computing devices, driven by consumerism. Mobile devices are leading the information revolution. eForms is one of the core technologies, particularly in the Health Sector where advances in use for both structured and un-structured data are beginning to have a real impact on how clinicians interact with information - all without paper!