Form management software support more than just the mere entry of data in form masks. A form management system usually links the forms directly to a workflow. Further processing of the data is automated and free of media discontinuity. Entry into the forms usually takes place via an accessible interface, which can usually be accessed via the internal or external portal. The creation of the forms should be as user-friendly as possible via an integrated designer, for example with drag & drop functionality.
With form management, for example, entries can be checked directly in the forms and duplicate entries can thus be avoided. Using stored logics, form fields can be shown or hidden as required. Form entries can usually be linked to existing directory services or authentication systems. Form management is often linked to a content management system or even an enterprise content management system.
A form is a template for querying data. Although each form is designed differently, all forms are based on a defined structure. This structure ensures the standardized collection of data. For the query of data, forms can contain various elements such as text fields, selection lists or tables.
Forms exist in practically all areas. Whether public authorities, companies or associations, practically everyone either still has paper forms in a drawer or the digital equivalent on the website.
Forms can be divided into two categories, those that request data and those that output data.
Examples of data requesting forms:
Example of data output forms:
A form management system (FMS) is the central and redundancy-free point for the creation and administration of forms. For this purpose, the form management system is equipped with appropriate functionalities. The system usually offers functions for the design of forms. The layout should be strictly separated from the content and data sources. The system includes features for the use of texts and text modules. The FMS supports the processing of data in organizations without media discontinuity and usually ensures the efficient transfer of data to specialized procedures through automated workflows. The functions of an FMS also include plausibility checks for input validation and the operation of various output channels.
One of the most important advantages of a form management system is the central handling of forms and data. This central management avoids redundancies. With an FMS, all forms can be easily and effectively created in a uniform structure. If the incoming and outgoing data is available in a structured form, it can be automatically incorporated into processes, specialized procedures, etc.
Another important advantage is the automated processing of incoming data without media discontinuity and the automated form filling by specialized procedures. A simple workflow can be mapped with a form management system. This workflow enables effective processing of regular cases and accelerates administrative and business processes overall.
A form management system is usually equipped with functions for checking the plausibility of data entries. Any form can only be really good if the data that is entered is actually "correct" or "accurate". For this purpose, FMS include control functions that check whether the data entries match the respective fields at all. These plausibility checks can concern, for example, the postal code, the telephone number, the e-mail address, but also billing, time spent or statistics.
An important component of the form management system is the creation of form templates. For these templates, for example, texts, images, text modules, selection lists or tables can be stored. The templates can include logos and layouts or the corporate design of the organization. The advantage of templates is that they provide a common basis for all users and ensure uniform business correspondence.
Another advantage of a form management system is the integrated connection of specialized procedures and the e-file. In form management systems, standardized interfaces can ensure data exchange with any third-party systems. These can include not only the aforementioned specialized processes or the e-file, but also payment systems or invoice receipt platforms, among others.
The use of digital forms does not only reduce the immediate consumption of paper, but also ensures faster and more effective further processing due to the data already being available digitally after capture, which saves personnel resources in addition. The creation of templates or forms for cover letters also saves resources, as not every employee has to create the basic framework for information in the header and footer of the letter him- or herself, which in turn saves time and reduces errors at the same time.
With a form management system, legal requirements and recommendations, for example on IT security in public administrations, the standards and recommendations for e-government applications (SAGA) or accessibility, can be implemented end-to-end. As a rule, an FMS also supports all aspects of the Online Access Act (OZG).
Due to the predefined structure in the created forms, the captured data can be efficiently routed to the respective defined locations for further processing. This ensures fast turnaround times in organizations and subsequently also faster approval processes, as the FMS can be directly linked to workflows.
Further specific criteria and question suggestions for the evaluation of form management systems