Survey after survey indicate that some of the most popular applications on organizational Intranets are the employee directory, the cafeteria menu, and HR forms. What those surveys often don’t mention is the fact that many of those HR forms are still in MS Word or Adobe PDF format and aren’t able to be completed from within the browser.
Recently, Mike Watt, of Intranet Connections gave me a tour around the new Intranet Connections Version 10, which now includes an online form builder. Having built my own form builder application a few years ago for a Fortune 500 company, I have a deep appreciation for how difficult this module is to architect and implement. The beauty of Intranet Connection’s form builder is that it’s simple, easy-to-use, and doesn’t just build “plain jane” forms that send an email.
Instead, the form builder allows user to create standard form fields, pre-populate fields with database-driven SQL queries, add form validation (required fields) and….wait for it….WORKFLOW! Yes, Intranet Connections has paired their form builder with a workflow tool that allows the creator of the form to create a review or approval process for the form once it is submitted by the user.
If you look around at social Intranets today and the rich feature-sets that offer, it may seem like I’m getting excited over a relatively small piece of functionality. After all, a form builder is hardly the sexiest tool out there. But think about it….how many forms do your employees fill out each day? New employee forms, pay change forms, benefits enrollment forms, password change request forms, time off request forms…the list goes on and on. The amount of time and energy (not to mention trees) that can be saved by converting paper forms to electronic forms is staggering.
If your Intranet doesn’t have a form builder, you might ask your vendor “Why not?”. If you do have a form builder, are you using it to it’s maximum potential and digitizing all those paper forms?
Now…if we could just use that form builder to update the cafeteria menu <G>!
I’d be interested to hear feedback/thoughts/experiences with Intranet form builders. Let me know what you think!