Since the dawn of business there have been forms to fill out. First by hand, then with typewriters and now electronic devices and ERP solutions.

From fulfilling sales orders to joining programs, collecting business information has involved entering data in one way or the other.

Even mail-in advertisements from newspapers in the 1800’s asked customers to write in their orders and send it to them on a form.

Although this process was designed to save time, it really hasn’t evolved over the last 100 years. Yes, there are fancy electronic forms that make it easy for the person filling them out, but handling the data always seems to be an afterthought.

Has the focus toward user experience led to a lack of performance on the business end of electronic forms? What’s the answer to driving efficiency for both sides?

Too Focused On Cloning Paper Forms

Most electronic forms available today have a common feature they showcase. They attempt to replicate the paper form as close as possible.

In fact, some some solutions even tout how much their hardware and software act and even “feel” like real paper.

Although this is fantastic for the user experience, it may leave the data collection and backend process wanting for more.

The thought process for electronic forms typically goes something like this:

  • There are a ton of customers or vendors filling out a paper form
  • It’s getting out of hand and taking too much time to process the information
  • Let’s create an eform that looks like the paper form
  • We’ll collect the information and somehow import it into our ERP system

Can you see the any problems in that thought process? The key point of migrating the data into the ERP system is one of the last items on the list.

Sometimes these paper forms have been in place longer that the team working on the project have been there!

There’s a more efficient way of collecting and managing the data than staring with cloning the paper form.

Three Ways DocuPeak Electronic Forms Can Help

If you flip this thought process on it’s head, it allows you to work on the business process first. After all, vendors may need to fill out forms from time to time but you’re being bombarded with them constantly.

Here’s a more efficient way to break down the forms process:

  • What data to we need from our vendors?
  • Can we verify this information and easily integrate it into our ERP?
  • How can we present this to vendors in a clean web based form?
  • Do we need to have any verification checks or issue handling workflows?

Putting the business process first ensures that your not creating more complexity and focusing too much on how cool the form looks.

Your vendors will need to follow the process you outline if they want to work with you. Just because it doesn’t look like the old paper form will not cause too many waves.

Here are three ways DocuPeak electronic forms can help. First, DocuPeak can integrate directly into your NetSuite, Intact or other ERP solution to make data handling a snap.

Next, we have a forms builder that can create the correct fields, adding some intelligence to your web based forms.

Finally, these forms can be routed to a predefined workflow to address any data related issues or for review and approvals you may be handing manually.

DocuPeak helps drive peak performance by focusing on the data processing and integration over cloning the paper form itself.

If you have forms that seem to bottleneck your business, DocuPeak can help!