An e-form (electronic form) is a computer program version of a paper form. Aside from eliminating the cost of printing, storing, and distributing pre-printed forms, and the wastage of obsolete forms, e-forms can be filled out faster because the programming associated with them can automatically format, calculate, look up, and validate information for the user. With digital signatures and routing via e-mail, approval cycle times can be significantly reduced. With electronic submission of completed forms, you can eliminate the cost of rekeying data and the associated errors.
Compared to paper forms, e-forms allow more focus on the business process or underlying problem for which they are designed (for example, expense reporting, purchasing, or time reporting). They can understand the roles and responsibilities of the different participants of the process and, in turn, automate routing and much of the decision making necessary to process the form.
Some e-form products now support many of the well established Internet/intranet protocols. Organizations that rely on intranets and the Internet for internal, public, and business-to-business communications can further benefit by integrating intelligent e-forms for data collection and process automation. Many software programs include e-forms as an integral part of the application.
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