Using forms is a great way to reduce cost and build efficiency into your business operations. Forms can be leveraged across an organization—e.g., admin/operations, human resources, marketing & sales, etc. Form building apps allow you to create a myriad of forms such as surveys, polls, job applications, contact forms, progress reports, and more. These apps are intended to be collaborative which allow for sharing, tracking, and the incorporation of approval processes. However, not all form building apps are created equal. 

Basic Form Apps

Among the long list of form building apps, two familiar apps on the rudimentary end of the spectrum are Microsoft Forms and Google Forms. They are easy to use and free as a part of their respective collaboration platforms—i.e., Microsoft 365 and G-Suite. Microsoft Forms also includes some minor advanced feature capabilities at no extra cost. Another highlight of Microsoft Forms and Google Forms is they play nice with other native Apps within their sphere. For instance, Microsoft Forms can be easily exported to Excel and Microsoft Lists and all forms are stored automatically in the document library on the Microsoft 365 group SharePoint site just as Google Forms are automatically saved to Google Drive. These apps are great for creating basic online forms like tests/quizzes and surveys that you can invite people to and get responses in real time.

The shortcomings with basic form building apps are their limitations with advanced features. Microsoft Forms has limited feature integration options outside of Microsoft 365’s native apps. For example, there is no available integration between Microsoft Forms with many of the widely used email marketing platforms like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. When circumstances necessitate more template options, advanced formatting, field validation, applying time sensitive response rules, etc., Apps like Microsoft Forms and Google Forms may not be enough to fulfill the needs of the business.   

Advanced Form Apps

When businesses require advanced level form building features, then solutions such as Zoho Forms, Cognito Forms, and Infowise may serve as good candidates to review for consideration. Examples of advanced features are but not limited to modifying templates, creating dynamic forms from scratch (e.g., sales quotes with electronic signature, equipment tracking, etc.), dashboards, incorporating charts, ability to pull data from large lists, applying rules to forms, configure business logic and workflow processes, and setting notifications and alerts. The drawback for many advanced form builders is there can be a steep learning curve, they tend be expensive, can be time intensive to manage and, in some cases, require knowledge in basic coding skills—i.e., for Apps that are LCDPs/Low Code Development Platforms.

One exception among the advanced form builder apps is Infowise. Infowise Ultimate Forms (IUF) is feature rich yet easy to use and does not require intensive learning. IUF is a SharePoint Online / Microsoft 365 add-in that enables the business end user the ability to create smart dynamic forms without the need for custom coding; it is an entirely no code development platform (NCDP). It also has integrations with other data sources like Salesforce, ORACLE, Google, etc. Ultimate Forms was designed with the end user in mind, so it features highly intuitive UIs with drag and drop features, drill down capabilities, and includes dozens of pre-defined templates out of the box providing intelligent and sophisticated no code forms. The catch with IUF is since it is a SharePoint extension, it requires SharePoint. 

Discovery Checklist of Insights

Here are 10 things to consider when preparing for discovery on a Form Builder App:

✓   Evaluate how much data your company collects, the business documents already being managed, and other forms being contemplated

✓   Be aware of the key players in your workforce—Are they savvy with Apps? Do they have any programming skills?

✓   Consider form builder apps that fit the size of your business (small, medium, large) if cost and resource capacity will factor heavily into the decision

✓   No code options that provide advanced functionality

✓   The degree of integration with other platforms

✓   Data exporting capabilities

✓   Conditional formatting –e.g., applying rules and calculations, etc.

✓   Security – does it have the capacity for encryption technology?

✓   Mobile Ready

✓   Ease of use

Be committed to reviewing multiple form building apps that you determine will meet most of your business requirements so you can make an informed decision. Give thought to seeking assistance from a business technology professional to help in determining a suitable solution, to ensure the best possible deployment outcome, and successful outcome for company-wide user adoption.