Form Automation Software Checklist: What You Need to Get Started

form automation software

Forms have been an integral part of our daily lives -whether you purchase a product online or visit a doctor’s office, you need to fill out forms to provide the necessary information to conduct business. Forms are the gold standard for collecting data. 

As valuable as they are, manual forms can be time-consuming and inefficient. But with automation, gone are the days of relying on manual data entry or paper forms. You have form automation software to do the work for you. 

If you take a look at the market trends of form automation software, it is booming and is expected to reach $26.03 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 17.97% from 2024. These form automation tools come with impressive features such as customizable forms, email notifications, enhanced data security, and much more that simplifies data collection and managing forms better. This article is here to serve as a tactical guide to provide you with deep insights into how form automation is necessary for modern organizations. Keep reading!

What is Form Automation?

Form automation refers to automating the complete process of creating, completing, and submitting forms using specialized software and tools. The key aspects of form automation include digital forms, automated workflows, pre-populated data, and error reduction that results in enhanced efficiency, improved accuracy, enhanced customer experience, and increased organizational productivity.  

Types of forms

Different types of forms are used across industries and departments. Here are some of the widely used forms:

  • Registration forms
  • Survey forms
  • Contact forms
  • Lead capture forms
  • Donation forms
  • Application forms
  • Order forms
  • Employment forms
  • Evaluation forms
  • Complaint forms
  • Event forms
  • Subscription forms
  • Consent forms

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses and the type of form that you use determines data efficiency, accuracy, and consistency. How you collect and keep track of the information makes a significant difference in your business performance.

How does automated form processing work?

Automated form processing manages data submitted through digital and physical forms where the information is stored in a centralized database. They are capable of handling everything from scanning paper documents to parsing and storing them in proper fields. 

When data is collected, extracted, and categorized properly companies save significant time in eliminating redundancies and time-consuming data tasks which itself improves overall data quality.

The fundamental principle behind the working of automated form processing is mainly driven by how the data is collected – either digitally or physically.

Physical data:

For data collected through physical paper forms, automation is applied through the use of OCR. Optical character recognition (OCR) is a process of converting texts scanned using software into text that is recognizable and stored in a database. The OCR software relies on templates where the template indicates where it should look for a specific piece of text and it pulls that information and saves it in a centralized database. 

Digital data:

Data collected through digital forms can be augmented with progressive fields that guide users through the process of data collection and validation. It can be customized with automatic notifications that can be sent to customers once they complete the form. All the data in the digital form are collected and stored in pre-mapped fields and are stored in a central database for future analysis and segmentation. 

Form automation solutions can handle different types of forms including digital and scanned paper forms and recognize if the text is typed or handwritten. The key to this functionality lies in the form templates. They are crucial for a system to understand where and how to map the data. 

The form templates act as guides and pinpoint the software to find specific information such as name, address, checkbox selections, etc and they also define the data types for each field. The way these templates are created and used depends on the type of business and the type of system used for processing the data and helps establish a standardized procedure. 

Here is a simple breakdown of the step-by-step process for automated form processing:

  • First is the data capture where the data is captured or collected either from physical forms through OCR or any other image processing tools or digital forms. 
  • Now, the data is extracted using form automation software like Cflow which comes with predefined form templates to locate specific data points such as name, address, etc. 
  • Now the extracted data is validated to ensure accuracy. Here basic checks will be performed to ensure that all data is extracted against the organization’s business rules and verified against the organization’s database. 
  • The data is cleaned validated and sent to its appropriate destination. The extracted information can be populated in fields in CRM workflow software, databases, or other backend applications. They can also be used in automated workflows and used for generating reports and trend analysis. This gives valuable insights into market trends, understand customer behavior, and enhance process efficiency.

The Ultimate Form Automation Checklist

This checklist serves as a roadmap for efficiency where it helps you strategize implementing form automation in the best possible way.

Planning

First, it is essential to identify the type of forms that are mainly used by your target audience. Not all forms are the same. You need to focus on the high-impact ones such as high-volume forms that are submitted frequently or repetitive forms requesting similar data. 

Mapping

Next, it is essential to map the workflow. Mapping the workflow helps us understand data better and answers the who, what, and when. Who indicates customers, employees, or specific departments; what indicates the things that happen after data is entered and the form is submitted; and when indicates the purpose of the form. For instance, it is used for onboarding or order processing. Here, flowcharts and other visualization tools can help map the workflow easily and identify bottlenecks. 

Automation needs and goals

You can set goals such as faster processing, improved data quality, and enhanced user experience. The form automation solution that you choose should help you succeed in your business goals. For this, you need to evaluate your needs and choose the right automation tool. Evaluate your needs such as the level of complexity of the forms that are used in your business, level of automation, and integrations required. 

Research

There are many options to choose from. Many popular form automation software such as Cflow offers features such as drag-and-drop form builders, conditional logic, and integrations with various third-party platforms. You need to analyze and choose a tool based on the volume of forms that your business needs to process, the complexity of automation, budget, and customer support. 

Design

Now you have chosen your form automation tool and it’s time to design forms. Keep the form simple by providing each field concisely and making it user-friendly. Integrate with your CMS and email platforms to trigger an automated workflow to send welcome messages and confirmations to users. Test it before sending it to users and ensure that it works seamlessly and customers can finish the form. 

Monitor

Keep monitoring how form automation works. Note down processing time, error rates in data collection, and customer satisfaction. 

Continuous improvement

Always review and refine automation rules based on customer feedback. Also, identify new ways to streamline your forms that will enhance your business performance. 

Benefits of Form Automation for Modern Organizations

The benefits of form automation are plentiful when it comes to automating and processing digital or physical forms. Businesses rely on automation to help them streamline their existing processes such that it frees employees and leverages the benefits of automation by relegating the tasks to the software. Here are some of the benefits of form automation:

User experience

Automation speeds up the process of form filling. It replaces manual forms that require users to write down their details every time, automation can guide users through specific sections one at a time and collect information invariably. This results in an enhanced user experience and ensures more accurate data. 

Automated form solutions offer responsive forms that can fast-track completing information and take much less time for the whole process. As user experience is a critical part of any business operation, it needs to be seamless and customers expect frictionless interactions with brands throughout their journey. Only 66% of people complete an online form fully. To achieve 100% automation can help enhance the experience and ensure higher completion rates with field validation and pre-populated fields, improving overall customer impressions of the brand. 

Increased profitability

There are several ways in which automated form processing can help businesses save money. For insurance, they don’t need additional manpower to manually enter data and process forms where the talent can be used to handle other tasks that are viable for business operations. Also, through automation companies can save by reducing errors and improving data accuracy. 

Ensuring that the right data is recorded in the right fields for a specific customer record automatically streamlines other processes from HR to accounting to marketing. The time saved through automation significantly impacts the bottom line – frees up resources to focus on other important tasks and use data for strategic processing and analysis. 

Employee engagement and satisfaction

A recent study shows that dissatisfied employees have a 37% higher absenteeism rate, with 18% lower productivity thereby leading to a 15% lower profitability. With form automation, you can improve employee engagement by reducing repetitive tasks carried out by them instead of software. With a suitable form automation solution, employees can focus on higher-level tasks. They can have more immediate and accurate access to data that improves productivity. 

Speed and accuracy

Automated forms are swifter than traditional manual form processing. Once the form automation software is set and the templates are established then the system will review and input data from forms automatically at a much faster speed which is impossible with manual data entry. 

With digital forms, automated form processing makes navigating, searching, and locating specific data from the database much easier. With more consistent entries, data is updated regularly and also you can integrate with other systems to easily access the data.  

Since accuracy is important for any business operation, they rely heavily on the data gathered to make decisions, make strategies, and understand users. Better quality data reduces corporate risks, improves compliance, and directs initiatives across different teams throughout the organization – from marketing, product development, and other teams to make informed decisions. 

Examples of Form Automation

Human resources

Form automation benefits the HR team by completely automating the onboarding process by automatically sending confirmation and welcome emails to new hires, and managing employee data with ease. This eliminates hours of manual paperwork thereby improving candidate experience. 

Retail

Automated form processing helps retail industries by optimizing various processes from order management to customer service by automatically collecting data, submitting requests to suppliers, and sending reminders for restocking inventory. This ensures transparency, reduces manual errors and improves overall customer satisfaction as well. 

Sales and marketing

The sales and marketing team uses lead capture forms to gather data on prospective clients based on the website users by monitoring their activity. These forms are integrated with the company’s CRM software that nurtures potential leads. In the case of registering for events, users can submit information through automated registration forms that collect their information and send confirmation emails and reminders to enhance the attendee experience. 

Legal

Automated legal forms rely on a system that conducts thorough client interviews, captures all the information and processes it for easy access and reuse. Law firms use automated firms for client intake, gather information about legal matters, and contact details, and perform conflict checks. The automated workflow routes these forms to the appropriate legal teams for review. It streamlines the document creation process, ensures consistency in formatting, and creates a standardized procedure.

Healthcare

Hospitals and healthcare firms implement form automation by using patient intake forms where patients fill out medical history and insurance details before appointments thus saving waiting time. They can also request prescription refills online, with automated notifications sent to doctors for approval. The best part is appointment scheduling where patients can set appointments online with automated reminders and confirmation emails sent via email and text. The use of online forms has increased with patients, especially after the pandemic. 

Form Automation Solutions

Form automation software is designed to conveniently take the work out of manual forms. This software enables users to build forms and automate them thereby streamlining the entire workflow process. 

Key features of form automation software

There are so many options to choose from but the form automation software that you select for your business should have these key features:

  • Form builder – this is one of the most crucial features of form automation software. The form builder should be intuitive with a drag-and-drop interface where users can create forms without coding. Users can simply drag and drop different types of fields such as text boxes, menus, and checkboxes, and customize them to suit the purpose. 
  • Templates – form templates are the fundamental features of a form automation tool. Sometimes, the user doesn’t want to build a form from scratch and this is where predefined templates come in handy. Many vendors provide predefined form templates for simple Contact Us forms to more complex quotation forms. 
  • Conditional logic – this is an advanced feature that enables users to create dynamic forms that are adapted to the user input. For instance, if a user selects “yes” in a checkbox for “Do you have your previous order number?” then you can set rules to display additional fields specific to the previous orders. You can make the forms even more friendly, by setting pre-populated fields that come with default values based on the information entered previously.
  • Automated workflows –  here you can define workflows to automate actions triggered by a user action. For instance, if a user submits a Contact Us form, it can automatically send email notifications for follow-up. This significantly improves efficiency and actions are performed precisely. 
  • Integration – This is another important feature where it indicates how the right forms end up at the right place at the right time online. You can set up how your form interacts with other systems such as the CMS platform and email marketing software to facilitate a seamless flow of information throughout the organization. 
  • Security – This feature enables users to view, edit, and control who can access the forms and their specific automation. Since forms collect sensitive data, they need to be protected from data breaches. Therefore, look for features such as encryption, and access control settings and set compliance and data privacy standards. 
  • Reporting and analytics – most form automation tools come with built-in reporting and analytics options that enable users to track and analyze form submissions. This provides useful insights into user journeys, how they interact with your business, how many users can complete the form, and the fill rate. This helps in enhancing user experience.
  • Storage – Finally, the form automation software should have a centralized database to store all the forms where they can be accessed easily. Some tools allow users to categorize data for easy retrieval.
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List of Best Form Automation Software

Cflow

One of the leading no-code workflow automation tools, Cflow offers unique form automation capabilities to its users to create and manage seamless forms. It comes with a drag-and-drop form builder where users can click and drag fields to the forms. Also, it comes with pre-defined templates for different industries and teams that are completely customizable. In addition to this, you can set rules, write conditional logic, and integrate with many third-party applications of your choice. It provides excellent customer support and comes with affordable pricing plans. 

Jotform

With Jotform you can create unique forms that elevate your brand. It comes with a drag-and-drop form builder, conditional logic for creating dynamic forms and mobile-friendly form creation features to maximize the effectiveness of your forms. Jotform has a new feature ‘Group approvals’ that allows users to track and manage form approvals within teams.

ProcessMaker

A robust workflow automation platform, ProcessMaker offers a solid form builder. It is a no-code automation solution that enables users to create forms using drag-and-drop features, collect data, integrate with other systems, and automate approvals. 

Zoho Forms

Zoho forms are a simple but powerful tool for data collection and management. Here users can build custom branded forms that seamlessly integrate with your online workspace using webhooks. It also has an automated workflow builder where you can create dynamic triggers based on form submissions.

GoCanvas

This is one of the leading mobile form data collection and management tools. GoCanvas offers users with a flexible form builder that captures images, and signatures and even performs a calculator. These smart forms are designed to enhance your brand performance consistently and eliminate repetitive tasks.

Choose Right, Choose Cflow!

Manual forms are a thing of the past. By embracing form automation, you can unlock a world of benefits from streamlined workflows to enhanced customer experience. Therefore it is important to choose right. This is why you need Cflow. Cflow is a no-code cloud-based workflow automation solution that simplifies the process of form filling and automates them efficiently. Remember, automation is an ongoing journey, and keep exploring efficient ways to optimize your forms and workflows. 

Interested? Visit Cflow and start your free trial today!

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