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Do you have staff turn up at businesses or sites, and need to fill out forms and have them signed?

Fed up of the paperwork floating about, getting lost, having big delays in being processed?

Would you like a simple, cheap way of having it all electronic?

 

What the customer wanted:

Recently I had a request by a company that sends it's engineers to construction sites to do maintenance checks. The engineer has to fill out a form, which involves ticking boxes, writing down readings and descriptions of their findings, and getting the customer to sign it off at the end of the visit.

Suffice to say they were getting fed up of lost and delayed paperwork, and wanted to computerise the process, but not have it cost a huge amount. I appraised a number of solutions, and came up with one that costs $9.99 per mobile device per month. Given how versatile and resilient the system is, that's a fantastic price! It allows use on iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets. Given that many people have one or the other, or that Android tablets can be had cheaply, it means there's no great outlay on equipment.

 

My solution:

DoForms is the product I settled on. There are a number of other good similar products out there like devicemagic. I settled on DoForms as it provided reporting, which some of the others lacked. It might not be a feature used straight away, but in the case of my client, they may in the future decide to look at all sites with a certain measurement.

The process was simple. I created an account, and then recreated the client's maintenance checklist using the form creator. Basically I clicked on a numeric question, and could fill out a prompt, such as "Valve pressure in bar:". You add questions in a sequence like you would write a page from top to bottom. The last couple I added were a date selector, and a signature box. Most smartphones are touchscreen these days, so you can either have the customer draw their signature on the screen, or you can buy capacitive styluses from eBay for very little.

DoForms has an advanced feature of question logic. So if the person filling the form out had a question that said "Was there any water damage? Y/N.", and they answered Yes, the form would then ask the question "Where was the water damage?" If the answer to the Y/N question was No, it would skip the next question, making the form filling quicker.

 

How long it took:

The form I was copying was a side of A4 with about 15 questions. That took me 15 minutes to recreate on DoForms. After that, I saved the form, and marked it as published. I then added my phone as a device by registering it's number on the DoForms website. Then I downloaded the DoForms app to my phone, logged into the account, and the app fetched my new form from the DoForms server. All of this fiddling around on the phone took about 5 minutes, at the end of which I had a very easy to use form. The signature box worked great, and I couldn't see much need for a stylus, except to give confidence to customers.

One killer feature of DoForms is that it works when there is no mobile signal. Say your worker goes to visit a site with poor or no mobile signal. They can fill out forms, which are stored on the phone or tablet. As soon as they come within range of a mobile signal or wifi, which could be hours later, the forms are automatically uploaded. Once on the DoForms website, you can see them in a list, and read all the results.

 

Conclusion:

There are more good addon features of DoForms, such as transfer of information to other systems like Quickbooks accounting, SaleForce CRM, and other databases. This makes it nicely scalable and connectable. It's good to see such a nicely made and solid product. From my usual poking around, the company seems to be one of the leaders in this market, so I would have confidence in good continued support and provision for new devices.