Key Leadership Trends in Today's Mobile Forms Market
Feb 20, 2018
Mobile forms solutions have proven to be a popular way to ease today’s businesses into their individual digital transformation experience. The best vendors lead on a number of fronts.
First, what are mobile – or wireless – forms? A traditional “form” has typically been a typed or printed paper document that is designed to be manually filled out with requested information or feedback. We define a “mobile form” as the digitized version of this, built to function on a mobile device, which is typically a worker’s smartphone or tablet.
Mobile forms are available as a standalone offering or as part of a larger mobile enterprise software solution. The standalone sector was quickly carved out as a niche a decade or so ago when mobile worker apps began leveraging the new smartphone form factor, GPS technology, and affordable cellular data networks to become mass market (instead of expensive proprietary) offerings. The bulk of the standalone mobile forms market is addressed by approximately ten smaller firms, including companies such as Canvas Solutions, ProntoForms, and Weever Apps.
Any organization that is still dependent upon manual, paper-heavy processes should be seriously evaluating a transition to mobile forms. High-potential industries include construction and engineering, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, field services, government, etc.
Here are some priorities to look for when evaluating various vendors and their offerings:
- Ease of use: Worker resistance to using a mobile device instead of a clipboard can stop a wireless forms rollout in its tracks. Best-in-class providers offer a seamless, intuitive user interface that allows the worker to input information quickly and accurately.
- Ease of administration: Large customers have IT departments that are stretched to the limits. Smaller customers tend to have no IT organization at all. Leading mobile forms vendors recognize the value of providing no-code/Low-code development platforms that allow non-programmers to build and manage forms on their own.
- Flexible pricing: Leading vendors are flexible when it comes to pricing models for their mobile forms solutions. Monthly per-user subscription rates are common, but providers are also willing to negotiate per-site pricing, group or team rates, licensing by user quantity tiers, etc.
- Plans to incorporate cutting-edge technology: Customers are bringing more sophisticated product expectations to the table, including curiosity about how to incorporate innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence in order to improve the worker experience, provide actionable intelligence to executives, and enhance customer engagement. Look for a visionary technology roadmap.
- Partner ecosystem: Today’s mobile forms vendors are forging relationships with a broad selection of channel and technology partners. For example, wireless carriers are leveraged as a direct route to the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market – as are application stores. Select systems integrators and value-added resellers (VARs) can fill voids in specific geographies or industries. Partnerships with developers of more complex B2E (business-to-employee) solutions can provide customers with the opportunity to migrate to a more sophisticated mobile offering down the road.
- Professional services team: Businesses are stretched thin. If a customer doesn’t have the necessary resources to design and implement a mobile forms solution, then the vendor’s own professional services team can come to the rescue, providing custom solution design, implementation, backend integration, and customized report/analytics creation.
- Support after the sale: Onboarding assistance and then regular proactive post-deployment contact from the mobile forms provider helps the provider and the customer to identify and address any developing issues or needs early on.
It’s a rare company that doesn’t have paper processes ripe for digitization. The above topics will help prospective customers evaluate and screen potential mobile forms vendors.
You can learn more about mobile forms in the Frost & Sullivan study, “North American Mobile Forms Solutions, Forecast to 2022: Evolving to a Next-Generation Strategy with New Partnerships, Technologies, and Targets.” 9ABE-37, February 2018 at https://store.frost.com.
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