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A Step-by-Step Guide to Form Automation

March 31, 2022

No one wants to be drowning in paperwork or spend hours looking for one specific form in a sea of many. Using form automation for higher education paper-based approvals removes the paper (and email) clutter, streamlines processes, and makes it easier to quickly find the information you need.

Let’s learn more about creating automated forms and how they benefit higher education institutions. 

How Do You Create a Form?

Before jumping in to create an automated form, there are a few questions you should consider. 

  • What type of form tool should I use?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • How often will the form be used?

Which form automation tool should I use?

With effective form automation software, creating a document is simple. Kuali Build makes the process easy, efficient, and intuitive. You can select the options you need and simply drop them into your form using drag-and-drop functionality. Once you have the correct fields added and placed where you want them, the automated form is ready to go. 

Form complexity varies based on how the form is being used. Here are the three tool tiers for building forms. 

  • Basic form creator — Turn a PDF into a digital version that users can fill out online. With this feature, the information in the form is not permanently saved, and the next steps are not triggered. 
  • Intermediate form creator — Create forms from a set of field types. This option stores form information in a backup database and allows you to manually export data for reporting needs. 
  • Advanced form creator — Get the functions of the previous two tiers and gain complete customization. This option includes robust integrations, efficient workflows, approval routing, and more.

Kuali Build is an advanced form building tool, ensuring higher education institutions have all the support they need to create automated forms. 

Who Is the Main Audience?

Your audience determines the type of automated forms you create. Perhaps you need to create a form for IT purchases. This form will be different from that of a research grant partnership form and different still from a student-facing form. As you set up your form automation, make sure that each form and the fields within are catered to the department using them. 

For higher education institutions, form automation works for a variety of situations, including: 

  • Research extensions 
  • Supplemental pay 
  • Registrar documentation 
  • Course withdrawal 
  • Change of major 
  • Correcting student/school records 
  • Remote work agreements 
  • Employee vacation requests 

How Often Will the Form Be Used?

Filling out paper forms and inputting data manually takes a lot of time and increases the risk of error. Automating them can minimize these issues. Once you add your forms to the system, they are easily accessible whenever you need them. Even if you don’t use a paper form frequently, it should still go through the form automation process. 

When to Use Form Automation Software 

Form automation software can be used in any instance where paper forms are the standard. To reduce paperwork, PDFs, emails and make processes more manageable, consider using this software for these tasks. 

  • Data use agreements
  • Vendor authorizations
  • Student transcript request
  • Graduation application 
  • Course withdrawal
  • System access requests
  • Staff onboarding
  • Payroll authorization

Consider using automated forms whenever possible. This will help facilitate seamless interactions with the institution for students, and transparent processes for faculty and staff.

Benefits of Automated Forms 

Form automation for higher education makes processes more cost-effective, efficient, and streamlined. Here are some additional benefits to using form automation software. 

Gain Transparency

When all your forms are digitized, there is no need for scanning or emailing PDFs. When a form is filled, the data is automatically stored in a structured way, making it easy to run reports. This information can then be used to audit processes and identify ways to improve them. 

Boost Efficiency 

Manual data re-entry and re-keying is time-consuming and has a large margin of error. With form automation, paper-based processes become streamlined and more time-efficient while boosting accuracy. Additionally, many departments throughout an institution need to communicate and share form information. When these forms are automated, the data is easily shared or accessible to those who need it. Data sharing not only improves inter-departmental efficiency but overall institutional efficiency. 

Campus-wide Process Upgrades 

As colleges and universities discover how easy form automation is, they’ll begin to look for other processes to streamline. This can lead to campuswide updates and encourage constant efficiency checks, ensuring all procedures are constantly improving. With many forms and processes automated, administrators, educators, and students can spend more time making personal connections, innovating, and attending to higher-value tasks that forward the institutions’ mission. 

Enhanced Experiences 

Instead of manually filling out forms and delivering them to the recipient, students can quickly fill out and submit automated forms right from their computer or mobile device. When the forms are already uploaded to a student’s account, they won’t need to fill in available information such as their student ID, birthday, or email address. This saves time and makes the experience easier and faster for students. 

Improved Security 

Automated forms are more protected with controlled access and data encryption. The information is more secure than paper forms or PDFs, and institutions can feel more confident using this process knowing that the records are safe. 

Get Started With Form Automation 

Form automation makes higher education processes easier for students, faculty, and administrators. With Kuali Build, you’ll get a time-saving, highly accurate, and highly secure form system that streamlines the entire process for you. 

Give us a call to learn more or to request a demo. 

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