If you ask 10 people around you whether they think digitalization is good, chances are the majority, if not all, are going to reply with a quick yes. But why, actually? We hear ‘digitalization’ and instantly think of increased efficiency or decreased costs. But is it all there is to it?
While these are certainly good reasons to consider going digital with your operations, sometimes it can be hard to back them up by hard numbers beforehand. Where and how exactly do digital forms improve efficiency? And which costs are they going to drive down? The answers depend on the use case, which makes it harder for companies to set realistic expectations – and therefore progress with the actual implementation of digital forms.
After gathering feedback from companies utilizing Resco Inspections, we have been able to identify benefits that might be less obvious, but more tangible.
The real benefits of exchanging paper for digital forms
Better data quality
Quality data can offer valuable insights into business operations and prevent all sorts of economic damages. What constitutes ‘quality’?
- Completeness – mandatory data is not missing
- Conformity – data maintains a set standard, such as data type, size or format
- Consistency – data reflects the same information and is in sync across teams and/or points in time
- Accuracy – the degree to which data correctly reflects the real-world object or event
- Timeliness – data is up-to-date
Digital forms can improve data quality across all these dimensions. Completeness can be achieved by simple inclusion of mandatory fields, without which the form can’t be submitted. Conformity of data is a direct result of form and input field settings, and as an added benefit, users don’t have to be trained or reminded of what input format to use. This also naturally results in consistency. Accuracy can be improved in several ways, for example, by scanning codes instead of using manual input. Or simply by omitting the transcription process, where information is copied manually from paper forms into a system. And submitting the data directly in digital form improves timeliness and means quicker availability for the back office.
Business process standardization
Standardization reduces losses, increases transparency, and simplifies employee training. The bigger the company, the bigger the need to set internal standards of work across departments. Digital forms can undoubtedly help since, by design, they are more standardized than paper.
The issue of data conformity from the previous section already touches on this subject. By requiring a certain answer format or process flow, you are already making the first steps towards more unified workflows.
Another example might come from a common confusion amongst end users over answers which aren’t distinct enough, such as marking a service as “Standard” or “Pro”. Instead of recurring training sessions on how to correctly fill out the paperwork, the forms can help them make the decision, or even include a rule that will pre-fill the fields based on the information already provided.
Increased business compliance
Digital forms can also help with adherence to law and regulations. Creating and managing compliance checks is just the start. Timeliness of data means the data is available when it is expected and needed, for example, for quarterly or yearly reviews. Digital forms can also ensure worker safety by guiding them through processes and reminding them to follow regulations.
Redefining your digital strategy
Going digital with your forms isn’t just about the change of the medium. As we saw, it can provide many benefits, but it also requires careful planning.
If you want to get inspired further, we’ve written a blogpost about how various industries can use digital forms to meet their respective end goals.
If you prefer a hands-on experience, join us for resco.next 2019 in Rome on 24-25th October, where we’ll discuss the topic of digital forms and mobile inspections in detail. You can join us for inspiring sessions such as Toyota Material Handling: A Resco Inspections customer story and talk to our experts about how mobile forms can help your business.