All workflows use some kind of form to gather important data, but not all forms are simple to follow. A majority of workflow software tools promise easy process management but deliver just the opposite by adding unnecessary complexities to their forms and other features.
If the forms are easy to create and use, it’s likely a tool that is worth its weight. If the forms take a lot of backend coding and have a sloppy user interface, don’t expect too much out of the rest of the tool.
Here are three factors that can fail your process automation when your workflow forms are ineffective.
The Paperwork Relapse
Every business is happy to adopt automation, but most of them don’t get as much as they can out of it. A lot of businesses tend to suffer from the hangup of manual work and circle back to their old ways.
You will complicate your process automation if you use an electronic online form, but print off multiple copies and distribute it to your team for gathering data. Or, if you have a form in place but your team doesn’t use it properly and instead exchanges data over emails when required. That’s like asking for more trouble; the new manual labor will eventually bog down your automated work because you keep going back to your habits from the pre-automation era.
The best way to tackle such scenarios is to stick with paperless forms as much as possible. Hangups are inevitable, but you’ll eventually conquer them if you consistently crusade against the use of emails or manual work in the realm of automation. Defy email requests, insist on using forms heavily, and don’t accept anything out of the established workflow channel, and – most importantly – create a work environment that discourages busywork.
The Coding Quagmire
We usually believe homegrown and home-brewed efforts are better. Unfortunately, you can’t say similar things about coding your workflow forms in-house. Many businesses still code their own workflow forms or depend on a process management software that requires them to code their forms. This is a tiring, error-prone, and ineffective process – it’s just the kind of manual problem that automation aims to solve.
There are many problems with coding your own forms workflow from scratch such as the time it takes, the chances of voodoo programming creeping in, and the elite level of technicality you have to dive into. Coding your public forms is no fun unless your business has the expertise and patience to be particular about it.
One great advantage of coding your workflow forms in-house is the flexibility that it offers. You have full control over what you write and how you want the functionalities to behave. It’s useful when you have requirements that are not readily available in the market and it’s cheaper to code your own than ask a vendor to custom code it for you.
But again, your IT team will likely write a ton of spaghetti code that will create problems when they move on to other roles and leave the new IT folks to inherit the chaos. It’s easy to pick an automation software that offers low code app interface and leaves no room for surprises. A few left clicks on your mouse are easier than typing hundreds of lines of codes when designing your workflow form.
The Google Forms Delusion
A lot of businesses rely on Google Forms to gather first-level information about a process. Most of them do it when they lack a dedicated automation software within their reach, but you can’t deny its use even in businesses who use a dedicated workflow automation tool. But if they use Google Forms workflows for doing important tasks (other than maybe running company-wide surveys), they shouldn’t expect excellence from a workaround solution.
We have already expounded the pitfalls of using Google Forms in one of our previous posts, especially in combination with Sheets. Google Forms is a great tool in its own right – lots of data fields to choose from, a simplistic interface, options to add custom validations, functionality to auto-populate data to Sheets, etc.
But it lacks capabilities such as sending notifications to every workflow participant, control over who views or edits data, when was the last time the forms workflow data was manipulated, etc. Google Forms offers a glimpse of automation when it passes the form data to Sheets without any manual push, but that’s about it.
It makes sense to have a workflow software that offers a built-in form designer with all the necessary capabilities so that you don’t have to look out for another add-on functionality.
When Form Fits Functionality
A process automation software with a drag-and-drop form designer is a beautiful combination.
A drag-and-drop form builder is the king when it comes to gathering workflow data, building apps, creating websites, etc. It is better than its predecessors, i.e., click-and-drop interface and the pre-built templates because it’s more user-friendly and flexible.
A drag-and-drop designer beats all the others types of forms workflow tools because it empowers anyone in your business team to start a new automated workflow. It is the easiest, most intuitive, and most accurate way of gathering data in a forms workflow.
There’s no excuse for any business to fall back to paperwork once they embrace an automation tool; that’s a mindset problem that requires a change in perception. But imagine the amount of effort your IT team will have to put to code workflow forms when you have too many processes to automate, or if you have to keep changing the process steps and requirements.
You can rely on Google Forms workflow to some extent, but it doesn’t offer a lot of functionalities and creates problems when you’ve too much data to handle.
All That Begins Well…
Designing a workflow form is only 10% of creating a well-rounded process, but it’s a very important part of it. Logically, the first leg of a process automation has a lot of impact on determining the success of the process because of how easy or difficult it is for participants to contribute data.
It’s nice to have a forms workflow automation tool that allows to you create a great threshold for workflow users to get the process rolling off to a good start. Get start with Kissflow Workflow to experience how easy it’s to create workflow forms and automation your business processes in a few simple steps.