How the Pandemic Is Accelerating the Mobile Form Revolution

By Chad Reid, VP of Marketing and Communication, JotForm

The pandemic changed the way people shop, work and get the services they need. It will take years to fully understand the coronavirus’s impact on work and life, but it’s already clear that the pandemic accelerated digital transformation. A KPMG survey of U.S. CEOs found that business leaders estimate the pandemic accelerated their digital transformation plans by months or even years.

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Three-quarters of the surveyed CEOs said their companies sped up the use of technology to create a “seamless digital customer experience,” and 70% reported using technology to create “new digital business models and revenue streams.” A recent Mobile Data Collection Report by JotForm drills down into a specific type of digital technology adoption.

Based on analysis of data from over 300,000 JotForm Mobile Forms users (i.e., mobile app users) from June 2019 to December 2020, the report found a 220% increase in mobile app usage and a more than 1,500% increase in mobile form submissions. These findings suggest major shifts in the way data is collected, the devices users prefer and the types of industries that are switching to mobile apps for data collection in the greatest numbers. 

Gaining a Mobile Advantage

The report shows that organizations are using mobile data collection to automate processes, improve accuracy and take advantage of mobile features. It’s important to note that the shift to using digital forms to collect data was happening before the pandemic, in part to move from paper to a more sustainable collection method and recoup some of the $120 billion spent annually on printing forms. 

The pandemic supercharged that trend as businesses shifted to online outreach and looked for safer and more efficient ways to operate. Mobile forms enable companies to collect data quickly, and forms with advanced features like QR codes, e-signature collection capabilities, etc., allow users to work from anywhere, even when offline, and collaborate more effectively with teams by syncing data in the cloud. 

The real-time nature of data collection and access associated with mobile devices is another huge advantage. The JotForm report indicates many companies that have turned to mobile data collection integrate forms with their productivity software to enhance and streamline workflows. Using a secure mobile form solution also decreases the risk of paperwork falling into the wrong hands.

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Collecting Vital Data via Mobile Forms

JotForm’s analysis found that the three most popular mobile form types are report forms (22%), consent and acknowledgement forms (20.8%), and registration forms (17.7%). Other commonly used forms include application forms, appointment and order forms, and survey forms. Survey forms can be especially helpful as businesses try to identify how their customer base has evolved. 

It’s no surprise that report forms are the most popular category. Organizations of all types need real-time information on field incidents, customer complaints, service availability, etc., and with most adults in the U.S. now using smartphones, it makes sense to collect data via that type of device.  

The popularity of consent and acknowledgement forms is no doubt driven in part by heightened public health risks associated with the pandemic. Organizations like municipal governments, county health departments, clinics, etc., have deployed mobile forms to screen for COVID-19 symptoms and to document consent for vaccinations and treatment. 

Businesses are also implementing consent and acknowledgement forms in preparation for a return to workplaces when the pandemic recedes. Forms that work on mobile devices are ideal for this purpose since they don’t require users to access forms from a set location, and with the right integration capabilities, companies can track what’s trending and make decisions accordingly. 

Becoming Mobile Forms Power Users

Usage trends in the JotForm study show that the healthcare and beauty and personal care industries are power users when it comes to mobile forms. This makes sense in the context of the pandemic because those industries often require close in-person contact. In healthcare, mobile form use is popular for collecting e-signatures for testing, vaccination, medical records releases, etc., to keep patients and staff safer and coordinate care more efficiently.

In the beauty and personal care industries, a growing number of organizations are using mobile forms to collect e-signatures and health screening data, complete checklists, and receive sign-off for services to reduce liability exposure. Beauty and personal care businesses are also using mobile forms to collect feedback on the services they deliver, as are businesses in other sectors. 

These types of organizations were the most frequent users of mobile forms, but the sky-high growth in mobile form adoption captured by the Mobile Data Collection Report suggests that mobile form use will continue to increase across all industries. The ability to improve data accuracy, collect signatures, automate core processes and enable real-time access to data makes it easy to understand why. 

With mobile forms, organizations looking to manage risks and keep customers and workers safe can easily implement authorization and consent forms and collect other types of vital data, including orders and payment information from offsite locations. In these and other use cases, organizations that deploy mobile forms are embracing digital transformation and accelerating the mobile form revolution. 

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