Answering the ROI Question for Electronic Forms Software

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ROI of electronic form softwareHere’s the biggest question IBM i Managers face when buying new electronic forms software.

“What’s my ROI in purchasing this software?”

As forms software providers, DRVTech knows how a professionally designed forms package can transform business processes. But decision makers want more. They want to know how your forms software benefits their business and what kind of ROI it provides.

To provide that number, here’s an equation that builds an ROI for four critical areas that benefit from a forms package.

Forms software ROI = Paper-based ROI + Printing ROI + Faxing ROI + Programming ROI

If new IBM i forms software is in your 2015 budget, you can cost-justify your purchase by accumulating the cost and productivity savings you’ll enjoy in each of these areas.

1) Paper-based ROI

Companies who convert reports, invoices, POs, etc. to emailed or downloaded files can calculate how many boxes of paper they’ll save each year. They may also save money on expensive single- and multi-part pre-printed forms and the postage needed to mail those forms to their customers.

The equation for calculating paper-based savings for using forms software is:

Paper-based ROI = continuous forms savings + pre-printed & multi-part form savings + postage savings

2) Printing ROI

You may also have costs for special printers that print on custom or multi-part forms.

With a package like my FormFlex software, you can print checks to inexpensive laser printers instead of using MICR printers that use proprietary MICR toner cartridges, eliminating those costs.

Many organizations also use high-speed printers to produce shipping documents such as bills of lading, pick tickets, and shipping labels. These printers also use expensive ribbons and toners. For each special-purpose printer that you replace, you create ROI savings for that item.

And don’t forget bursting machines and operations time. Some companies still use bursting machines manned by operators to separate pre-printed forms for distribution. When you move to electronic bursting, report splitting, and sorting, you can eliminate these old dinosaurs. You can also reclaim any costs to keep a bursting system going, along with the labor costs associated with manually handling forms.

Finally, because these printers and support equipment are critical items, you may also have to buy expensive maintenance contracts to insure all these printers can be quickly serviced if they break down. When you eliminate special purpose machines with electronic forms software, you can increase your ROI by dropping yearly maintenance for those machines.

The Printing portion of our ROI equation looks like this:

Printing ROI = savings on buying and maintaining special printing equipment + custom toner & ribbon savings + labor costs (if appropriate)

3) Faxing ROI

Many packages like FormFlex provide modules for faxing forms through the Internet without buying additional hardware or phone lines. These costs (along with fax machine maintenance) could be eliminated with a new package.

Faxing ROI = Faxing hardware costs + eliminated fax line costs

4) Programming ROI

Programming ROI is what you’d save by using professionally developed software to process forms rather than having a programmer write a custom-written package. Programming ROI could be calculated this way:

Programming ROI = Programmer cost freed up that would otherwise have been spent on programming forms-like features

This is a softer number that represents how much programming resources you’d need to support forms programming, if you don’t have forms software available. It shows what else IT can do if you buy this package.

Putting it all together

Once you total up all four ROI costs, you’ll have compelling numbers for what forms software adds to the bottom line. It quantifies the business case for forms software. If you’ve targeted forms software for your 2015 budget, feel free to contact us at DRVTech for more information on leveraging and justifying your purchase.

FormFlex’s module architecture allows you to customize and tailor software to your specific needs with add-on modules that provide greater flexibility, functionality and security for IBM i, iSeries and AS400.


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