Mobile forms are an innovative solution to collecting data quickly, accurately, and effectively. With these as part of your enterprise mobility strategy, you can enjoy numerous benefits such as faster and more reliable decision-making. Despite the advantages of mobile forms, some enterprises are yet to embrace them because of the following cons.
Need for Battery
Unlike paper forms, mobile forms rely on battery-powered devices to run. This may seem inconvenient, especially on work sites where access to power outlets can be difficult. However, this isn’t really a major issue as the average work day is 8.4 hours and most devices can last 12 hours between charges.
Besides, there are many ways you can conserve your device’s battery, including:
- Switching on Battery Saver Mode in Android or Low Power Mode in iOS
- Charging your mobile devices properly and resorting to fast charging only when in a rush
- Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not needed
- Deleting apps which deplete your battery (and productivity)
Need for an Internet Connection
Paper forms don’t require an internet connection as they are delivered in person or via mail. However, this can be more of a setback. For starters, any changes to paper forms can waste a lot of time and lead to many mistakes. Moreover, delays in relaying crucial information may result in losses in productivity, human resources, and money.
That said, not all mobile forms require internet connectivity throughout. Forms in Miracle Mobile App, for instance, can be used while your device is disconnected from the internet. You’ll only need the internet to download new or updated forms or submit the data you collected. Not only does Miracle Mobile Forms’ offline capabilities free you from depending on the internet, it also helps extend the life of your device’s battery.
Several studies show employees prefer hard copies and paper documents over their digital counterparts. This mainly stems from reasons such as industry requirements (a little more on this later) and the needs of their own clients.
The age of employees is also an important factor. While the average age of employees in most industries is 43, the populations of major industrial countries are getting older. This has brought forth the challenge of the aging workforce. By 2020, 25% of the U.S. workforce alone will comprise of 55 or older workers.
However, enterprises need to make the shift from paper for reasons like accurate audits and effectively monitoring important metrics. Therefore, paper is no longer a valid option for forward-thinking enterprises. Mobile forms can complement a company’s digital strategy while gently pushing employees away from paper. You can use tips such as the ones in this post to ease your employees into the change.
Potential Security Risks
Hackers are the biggest reason many companies opt for paper forms. With data stored digitally, enterprises fear spyware or having their company data hijacked. Malicious attempts aside, companies fear the inability to access data after a disaster or similar incidents.
However, holding a form in your own hands and locking it in a far-off corner of the office does not make paper a more secure option. In fact, that thought is really far from the truth because companies can’t keep track of who has seen or photocopied their forms and the data they contain. Moreover, managing paper manually can lead to issues such as misfiling or outright loss. There’s also the issue of compliance, which is the next con on this list.
On the other hand, digital data collected via mobile can be secured in many ways including:
- Password-protecting all data collections
- Creating digital copies of data
- Using electronic signatures
- Improving internal policies
- Encrypting data when submitting forms
- Securing mobile devices
- Managing devices using mobile device management solutions (MDMs)
Industries, especially highly regulated ones such as health care, have to comply with strict regulatory rules. Some of these mandate paper records and a wet signature as opposed to a digital one. Moreover, outside parties may expect hard copies of their contracts and even add provisions for these.
However, compliance regulations are starting to move away from paper. Take for instance the latest European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation mainly focuses on cyber security threats, data vulnerabilities, server hacks, and digital data transmission.
Changing compliance regulations aside, companies relying mainly on paper need to practically take into consideration the following to meet stringent rules.
- The Right to Erasure and Similar Clauses – In the GDPR, the right to erasure is the right to “enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data whether there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.” As finding data in paper forms can be difficult, complying with such clauses can take too much time and money.
- Number of Copies Existing Throughout – Even the most secure information storage policy can be compromised by issues such duplication on a photocopier or insecure disposal of paper documents. Human error and human document handling can further reduce an enterprise’s control over documents, exposing it to the risk of data breaches.
- Privacy of Paper Documents – The privacy of paper documents is crucial for compliance. If this factor isn’t ensured, data can fall in the wrong hands, resulting in a data breach. Transporting paper documents is just as risky as it threatens information security.
- Retention Periods – Enterprises need to keep tabs on the retention period of information. This can be a complex task as tracking paper forms will require a lot of time and effort.
In comparison, digital data collected via mobile is easier to manage. Therefore, ensuring compliance won’t be much of a hassle.
Paper is considered a more reliable medium since it has survived thousands of years. On the other hand, digital data formats tend to change over time. In the unlikely case of Adobe ceasing to exist, Adobe Acrobat files (PDFs) may be difficult to read in the future.
Realistically speaking though, technologies don’t disappear overnight. You’ll have ample time to change formats if need be. Moreover, data collected via mobile forms can be stored in databases then displayed in a range of formats. For instance, you can have the data fetched and displayed in another mobile form instead of a PDF. Therefore, format risk isn’t really a major risk.
Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It
Despite these cons of mobile forms, they are still one of the important additions to any enterprise. Luckily, you can try using them yourself for free to determine whether they can help you achieve your goals. Download Ready2Use Forms and get instant access to over 80 mobile forms for safety, HR, and more. Once you’ve tried it, you can truly decide whether mobile forms are what your enterprise needs.