5 Essential Questions on Form Builders

April 13, 2021
Learn how to create effective forms with these 5 key questions. Improve your data collection and streamline your processes.

Form builders are great, an off the shelf SaaS solution is greater.

We’re often asked how Raildiary differs from a form builder and we’ve previously written about the possible downsides of using form builders for site reporting.

Here’s 5 questions to ask when considering whether a form builder or a specialist SaaS application, like Raildiary is best suited to your needs -

1) Am I digitising best practice?

Taking a paper form that’s been used for decades and building the same form in a digital format is not necessarily going to add significant value.  Consider the context of the process, workflow and data you’re capturing.

If you were developing a mobile app to support that process and capture that data how would it function?

How would the user interface be designed and what would be key elements of the user experience? – when you consider the process and data in this context, copying a paper form into a digital format is often not the most effective or valuable solution.

2) Is the problem I’m solving consistent and recurring?

If you’re using a form builder to create something that captures data consistently in a structured format and it’s a recurring process, such as a site diary, chances are someone has already built an off the shelf SaaS application for that use case.

You may save considerable resources adopting a standardised off the shelf solution rather than building your own.

3) Will I need the data in the future?

This is one of the key elements in deciding whether to use form builders or a specialist application for that specific process.

If you’re happy to ensure you’ve captured the data, it’s safe, retrievable but it has no particular inherent value for supporting future decision making, or long term learning, then a form builder is probably sufficient for your needs.

If you want to harness that data, constantly derive value from it and use that data in real time to drive decision-making and learning then you need to consider an application that’s built for that purpose.

4) Do you have a team to build, maintain, train and support your form processes once they are built?

One reason businesses procure SaaS solutions is that carrying the overhead of developing, maintaining, supporting and evolving a software application is not cost effective and doesn’t leverage the economies of scale of a multi-tenanted solution.

Using form builders may remove the technical overhead however it doesn’t remove the design, support, training and evolution of that solution whilst also missing out on the power of the “crowd sourced” intellectual property that is embedded in off the shelf SaaS.

5) Is integration and the transfer of data for reporting important to you?

Project teams normally have several applications that they are using in parallel plus reporting tools such as tableau, Qlikview or PowerBI.

Integration between applications and the transfer of data for reporting purposes is only possible with consistent and structured data sets.  If you are using a form builder and creating several different forms it becomes increasingly difficult to develop integrations and consistently provide valuable reporting data.

To benefit from the power of large data sets you need lots of structured, consistent data.

The flexibility of a form builder creates a risk that this benefit is never realised.

If you’ve decided that form builders aren’t for you, or you want to review how Raildiary performs against your current process, then click below to find out more: Raildiary Consultation.

5 Essential Questions on Form Builders

Nick Woodrow

Operations Director

A positive and outcome focused chartered civil engineer with over 20 years spent in a broad range of businesses successfully delivering complex projects & leading teams at C-level.

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