Organisations that are able to successfully implement a forms and workflow solution can realise significant cost and time savings by eliminating repetitive, manual work. While there are a number of forms applications available today, the best forms solution for many companies will be one that’s part of a wider digital experience platform (DXP). DXP-integrated form solutions give businesses power and flexibility by leveraging robust rules and workflow capabilities, reporting, APIs, and more, while ensuring a consistent look and feel with business’s wider digital experience. 

This article outlines 10 considerations to think through when selecting a forms solution.

1. Forms Personalisation

First, a forms solution should allow for thorough personalisation of the form itself. A good form solution not only allows for different types of fields, but it should be dynamic enough to handle different types of users and use cases with a single form. By changing the available questions and fields based on user responses and conditional rules, modern forms can collect the necessary information for unique users without asking needless questions.

Whether accessibility and ease of use is critical, like Philadelphia Care Group, or you’re just looking to reduce friction in the user experience, you’ll want to make sure you are able to provide a personalised form experience for a variety of unique users.

2. Rules and Workflows

To create a dynamic form experience, you’ll want to be able to set up rules that determine which fields show up, determine which fields are required, perform calculations and more based on previous filled-out fields or even on attributes of the user themself. Rules become increasingly important as forms get more complex.

Once a form is filled out, what happens to the newly collected data? To avoid unnecessary, repetitive manual work, you’ll want to make sure that your form software also allows for robust, customisable workflows that allow the collected information to automatically go to the right person or team for processing or approval. 

Implementing a great workflow is no small feat- companies who create effective workflows can eliminate significant amounts of day-to-day work. One example is the LGA, a government association in the UK. LGA was able to reduce their operating costs by 40% by using Liferay to streamline their internal workflows.

3. Data Provider Integration

To eliminate even more maintenance work while keeping your forms dynamic and up-to-date, you’ll want your solution to be able to integrate with data providers. Data providers are often third party software components that interact with your data source. Want “Country” and “Language” field options synced with a maintained list of the countries and languages in the world? Then you’ll want to sync these fields with a data source so you don’t have to constantly maintain them.

4. Forms Security

Whether your form is a sensitive application for a government document or it’s just for a warranty claim on a product, it’s essential that any information captured is kept secure. In addition to a role/permissioning system that limits access to people who need to see the form content, you’ll want to make sure that your forms solution is up-to-date with the latest security features and has a process for quickly resolving any vulnerabilities that may arise in the solution itself.

5. Flexible and Customisable

From customisable images, colors and fonts, to structures, validation and field types, a great form solution will allow you to get the information you need and still adhere to your corporate image and style.

At a time when 80% of companies are competing on customer experience, it’s important  to make sure that your customers’ experience with forms matches the rest of their digital experience.

6. Continuous Experience Across Devices

With a majority of online visits coming from mobile users,  they have high expectations for a seamless, intuitive mobile experience. The reality is that a clunky, frustrating mobile form experience will result in abandonment and drop-out. Because 87% of these “abandoners” will not be returning to complete the form, it’s essential that the mobile experience should be not only continuous with the desktop browser experience but should also allow for easy form submission from any device.

7. Forms API

To further “future-proof” your company’s forms experience, another top consideration is to make sure that the forms work harmoniously with other technologies. Forms API allows you to customise your forms solution whether that means custom field types, dynamic data mapping, or pulling in form data from another application.  Whether you utilise a workflow, data mapping, or disparate third-party apps, it’s nice to know that wherever your business takes you there are options for expanding what you do with user data.

8. Reporting and Analytics

Leaders in virtually every industry realise that the key to improving their business now and into the future is aggregating and analysing their data to gain insight into their business and drive improvements. Whatever your industry or business, make sure that your forms solution can be reported on so engagement level on forms, completion rates, bottlenecks, etc.can be tracked and reviewed in order to allow your business to make improvements and refinements for better results.

9. Ease of Use

Not long ago, form creation was limited to developers. If your organisation wanted to utilise web forms on a regular basis you might even need to hire a developer just to create and manage your forms! Thankfully, many forms and workflow applications exist today that don’t require a single line of code. While your forms solution should allow for developers to customise a form, you’ll most likely want a solution that allows business users to create and manage your company’s various forms.

10. Validation

With all of the new features you’re looking for with forms, it’s important not to overlook the basics. Solid form validation not only protects you from malicious attacks to your business, but it also protects you from a whole slew of unintended consequences. Validation can also save time for you and your users by making sure that they are filling out the required fields as expected.

Universal Value of Forms

At first glance it may appear that forms are just uncomplicated stand-alone applications that run themselves and don’t require much thought. The reality is that behind every intuitive, modern form experience there is almost always a great deal of complexity! 

By choosing a form solution that’s part of a digital experience platform, organisations get access to a whole host of powerful applications like workflow, form rules, reporting, analytics, and more. In addition, DXP-integrated form solutions allow for a consistent digital experience and easier, more customisable back-end integration with existing users and applications.

Whether you are looking to forms to help manage massive amounts of users and content like EDF Group, or a scalable way to acquire and manage user information, forms and workflows are key components of managing internal and customer-facing interactions in an efficient way.

To realise goals like eliminating manual processes, and saving time and money, organisations need to think about more than just form fields. Exceptional results now and in the future will require thinking about the form experience for users, what happens to the data after it’s collected, and how the forms fit into the company’s wider digital experience offering.

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