Sometimes there’s an attraction that cannot be denied. Two individuals that have lived their lives apart join together and become more than just the sum of their parts. We see it everywhere we look in nature and as Spring pushes through the Winter doldrums, we’ll start seeing it even more. No, I’m not talking about marriage; I’m talking about yet another benefit of mobile forms software and the organizations that will implement them this year.
Recently we were presented with an opportunity to turn a paper based process electronic on iPad devices with our mobile forms software platform. Our customer presented us with two paper forms that were used for the same purpose, but depending on the audience required a few subtle differences in required information to be captured and perhaps more importantly in legal wording.
Think of it something like this:
- If the target audience was a student, an agreement might read “You may not graduate if you don’t return this piece of equipment”
- Whereas if the target audience was an employee, that same agreement might read, “You must pay for this piece of equipment from your paycheck if you don’t return it”
I’m no lawyer of course, but I bet it took more than a single 15 minute conversation with one to work up the exact language. That conversation probably took place years ago and ever since there have been two paper forms that differ in almost only that wording.
When we approached this project we asked the customer if we could combine them into a single iPad form used by either students or employees. They agreed and that’s exactly what we did. Where a basic form, and obviously one on paper, uses static captions near fields we instead used dynamic captions. The very first question on the iPad e-form became a checkbox that reads “Are you a student or an employee?” and once that’s answered, we change the wording in fields based on that selection. This means we can have a single mobile form, a single digital signature field on that form, and still retain the legal wording that had been established so long ago.
It may seem simple in retrospect, electronic forms have always been able to provide more functionality than their paper equivalent, but it makes me wonder how many organizations could combine multiple paper forms into one and optimize their business processes. In this case it was just two, but I suspect other organizations have even broader form sets that can be combined. Do yourselves a favor and look through your paper form set. If you see forms that capture 90% of the same information as each other, but vary in wording throughout, think if they too can be combined.
If you do find that combination, that opportunity to optimize your business process, we’ll be here to help. All you have to do is send us an invitation.