Online Form Builder: A Hidden Gem of Intranet Productivity

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.

Intranet Connections v10 Offers An Easy-To-Use Form Builder Application

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!

Comments And Reactions

  1. [New Blog Post: ] Online Form Builder: A Hidden Gem of Intranet Productivity

  2. Hi Sean, I fully agree that self-build forms are very useful for the intranet. They are even sexy! I built a formbuilder for the intranet two years ago. It became a mini project, because we wanted to give the intranet a real boost with it. Data could be sent by mail or stored in the database. It had many lay-out options. Forms could be filled in anonymously (with an option for no duplicates). With the form builder you could also build surveys. The data stored in a database could be retrieved in excel format, so the data could be further processed. The users had many options to create a form, but they were many times requesting for other usages. Of course very complex form could not be build, but the option to process the data later in excel, made it a very useful (& success) application in the intranet.
    Thumbs up for intranet connections!

  3. Thanks for the comment, Bas! Being able to output the form results to Excel is a great feature that allows folks to crunch the numbers, especially in the case of surveys. I still find it amazing how many organizations rely on free survey tools like SurveyMonkey when they could have an in-house tool that doesn’t compromise their data by putting it in the hands of a third party.

    Thanks again for the comment!


  4. I agree with Bas, “Thumbs up for Intranet Connections”. We save a ton of money using online forms. In addition to the savings on paper and printing we also save on the cost of getting forms to our branch offices and our teammates have an endless supply of whatever documents they need. Another KEY REASON to like online forms is that you always have the most current version. WOW is this ever important. So were saving paper, time, labor and we’re delivering exactly what our users need. What else is there???


  5. Interesting ideas…can anyone recommended form builder software that can be used or purchased without buying the whole 3rd party intranet package?

  6. Check ZohoCreator for online Form Builder.

  7. Totally agree Sean! We are leveraging the forms capabilities within SharePoint to transform our business from being dependent on paper forms & re-keying information to a more efficient system where information flows from step to step and ultimately to the system where it should reside. The forms that people fill out tend to be perceived as being minor but when you consider the time spent re-keying information, printing/emailing/scanning, and then the destination person re-keying — that could be a huge efficiency gain!

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