5 Critical Items for IBM i Electronic Forms Software

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iStock_000021826371_SmallStudies have shown that managing paper documents (printing, collating, folding, mailing, distributing, storing, retrieving, and destroying documents) can consume up to 15% of the annual revenue in your organization.

That’s why report automation and document management software is so important. Replacing paper forms with digital documents could have the same effect on your bottom line as a 15% sales increase or closing one or more physical locations. Those are significant savings.

If you’re ready to swap paper forms for digital delivery (see DRVTech’s FormFlex) here are five critical items that you should consider when evaluating electronic forms software.

1. What Kind of Document Editor is Available?

Look at the capabilities your form design editor provides. A good editor will allow you to create and work with the following items on an electronic form.

  • Lines & Boxes
  • Variable fonts for text
  • Logos & other graphics
  • Signatures
  • Pictures
  • Bar codes
  • Retrieving IBM i data into your forms

A good document editor will be flexible enough to work with any graphical and non-graphical element on a form. It should work with any type of form.

Also look at the vendor providing the editor. Many vendors offer turnkey services that include installation, design, mapping, logo, and signature digitization to get you started.

2. Does the Software Prefer Inexpensive Network Printers?

Printing electronic forms shouldn’t require older IBM printer drivers, such as IPDS, SCS, or AFP. Generated forms should be printable on any standard and inexpensive network printer.

Your form design software can be a gateway to eliminating the need for expensive or outdated line printers or label printers and the expensive maintenance contracts that come with those printers (more savings). Many forms-design software packages don’t require IPDS, AFP, or SCS.

3. Where are the Files Stored?

Does the package create and store electronic forms natively on your IBM i partition or are they stored on another server? IBM i storage provides for maximum reliability and security.

The most efficient way to create and deliver IBM i electronic forms is to perform all electronic forms processing on your IBM i partitions.

4. Duplex Printing

Does the software support duplex printing, enabling you to print on both the front and the back side of a form? This is valuable for required text that tends to go unread, such as terms and conditions on a bill of lading.

This is another key element to eliminating expensive warehouse printers that require two-sided printing. There are many inexpensive HP compatible printers as well as standard copiers that print duplex.

Duplex printing also allows you to save paper.

5. Does it Support All the Formats You Need?

Before buying electronic forms-design software, inventory all the different types of graphical elements you’re using across the network. Make sure your intended software supports any formats you may be using now or in the future, including:

  • UB-04 for claim forms
  • PDF417 for homeland security
  • All barcode formats your organization uses

A good forms inventory is invaluable when evaluating electronic forms software. And don’t forget to look at forms used in remote locations, such as warehouses and remote offices. They may be using form and graphical elements you may have forgotten about.

Think Beyond the Form

These are some of the important features to consider when purchasing electronic forms-design software to eliminate paper spooled files used on your IBM i. In future posts, I’ll look at other capabilities you’ll want to consider for your report automation and document management systems, as they can help increase efficiency and your bottom line. Interested in learning more about electronic forms? Don’t forget to check out the helpful articles and blogs below.

Download our FormFlex ‘Fast Facts’ to learn more about how electric forms can help your business grow

3 Steps to Setting Up Better IBM i Automation

5 Ways Electronic Forms Software Helps Counties and Cities

DRVTech FlexTools Webcast

FormFlex Quick Overview Webcast


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