Digitizing Forms is More Than Putting Them Online

With remote work (and frankly, remote living) becoming a reality the need for digital forms has never been more acutely felt. No longer is it an option to walk a form down the hall or drop it off at an office to conduct routine business. Organizations have had to quickly shift to digitally enabling methods for processing forms, including the capture and acceptance of electronic signatures.

The discussion of digitizing forms did not start with the pandemic. It's long been a focus of modernization teams that realize there are over 10,000 forms available for download on government websites. This online availability of forms goes back to the 1995 Paperwork Reduction Act. It was a great first step, but as with anything that started in 1995 it is in serious need of advancement and updating.

Simply making a form downloadable does not make it digital. If it still requires a pen to fill out and sign then it's not a digitized process. Digitizing forms is more than making them available online, it is about making them actionable online and feeding a digital document management strategy.  This means applying business rules behind the data entry so that forms become dynamic, guiding people to enter the exact information needed to complete the transaction as it applies to their situation. Data collected should be shared across agencies to enable a continuity of service to citizens that builds on their interaction with each agency.

There are a number of events and resources available that include a discussion of what it means to digitize forms in government.

  • Sharing Data Securely (January 13, 2021; online) -- This webinar will explore the fundamentals of data sharing and why it matters, how data sharing can unlock new opportunities, and new strategies for securely sharing governed data in real-time.
  • Data Cloud Summit (January 14, 2021; virtual) - This event will help guide attendees in developing a foundational enterprise data strategy. Discussions will show how that can spark digital transformation, powering new capabilities like machine learning and rapid analytics. Experts will also explore how the cloud can be used to manage data across the enterprise, best practices for keeping government data secure at scale, and ways to effectively process and analyze streaming data.
  • Future Offices Winter 2021 (January 20-21; online) - This event will explore topics including aligning workplace investments with organizational mission, hybrid and remote working challenges and successes, and more.
  • How Customer Experience Personalization at Scale Will Ensure You Thrive and Survive in the New Normal (January 26, 2021; online) - This webinar is focused on helping attendees deliver a consistent experience online and offline, develop a personalized mobile experience, and deliver real-time personalization at scale.
  • Modernizing Government Data and Applications (data sheet) - This paper provides strategies for how agencies can modernize through consolidating disparate and legacy systems and presenting that information in new, modern ways.
  • Digitizing Paper Charts to Save Space, Time, and Money (case study) - This paper provides a case study of Penn State Health's journey in digitizing medical charts and records across multiple locations across the state.

We'd love to hear where you are getting insight on digital transformation for document and data management. Share your ideas in comments.

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