Electronic Forms (eForms) – What you need to know

We all know what a form is.

A document that requires the person to fill in the information in specified fields.

For a long time forms have come in a physical manner, using pen-to-paper-based methods – and are still used today.

Whether you have gone to home affairs, applied your child to a school, or opened a bank account, you have to fill in a form or forms to either start or complete the process.

Nowadays, with most of the world based online, or things needing to be done remotely – the world is shifting to a new norm – Electronic Forms or “eForms”.

Blog Post Image Electronic forms

 

What are electronic forms?

The same principle applies to eForms, where a user needs to fill in the information in specified fields – only now, it will be done using a web browser or software application, digitally.

eForms allow the data filled in to be captured validated and submitted for processing remotely and far more efficiently.

Benefits of electronic forms

eForms have many benefits, for the creator, the submitter, and the processor.

eForms are very simple, easy to use, and quick to submit. Allowing users the ability to reach and complete forms electronically means they can access it anywhere with an internet connection, and save time and money from printing, scanning, and mailing costs (this goes both ways).

The creator of an eForm is able to send the form to the submitter immediately, through email or IM apps, reducing time spent waiting to send and/or receive these forms, they also can have full control of the data needed for the form – making certain fields required, only allowing specific data types (numerical or text) and even setting character limits on fields.

This control over the data on eForms gives real-time feedback to the submitter if there is an error or missing information – this ensures only the correct and the completed form will be submitted for processing.

If forms are electronically received and stored, and their information is correct and complete, this saves time and money for the processor. The processor doesn’t have to waste money or space on storing large amounts of paper forms, or waste time going through all the forms to reject incomplete or incorrect forms.

 

 

What can electronic forms be used for?

 

 

With the control, the eForm creator has over the data, data types, and even the visuals of the eForms, how easy it is to send, complete, and return, and how simple it is to process without error, and the technology we have at hand – the use of eForms is virtually endless.

eForms can be used in any circumstance where data needs to be collected and processed. From something as simple as a survey to general HR and even complicated accounting tasks.

eForms are especially useful when data needs to be collected in an agile manner, requires accuracy, and when data protection is ideal.

With the development of electronic and digital signatures, and their accuracy and legality – eForms can now even be used for certain legally binding documents, saving time and money in those processes as well.

Vacancy: Technology Solution Planner

The Basics


Industry
: IT – Software

Reports into:  IT Project Manager

Location:  JHB Area, remote

Role type:  Contract – 7 months

About the Role

Provide approvals to architecture decisions required by the solution engineer in order to enable the eCommerce solution needed by the Pods.

What you will do:

  • Develop the applications required to meet the architected solution.
  • Perform research on emerging and current technologies that will be utilised
  • Defining and documenting architectural patterns to be consumed by developers.
  • Review and guide development teams on software development industry leading practices

Qualifications required

  • Matric
  • Degree or Diploma advantageous

Interested?

Apply Now

Diagram illustrating types of electronic signatures

Know your buzzwords: electronic and digital signatures

Signatures have been a part of society for almost as long as civilization itself. Whether it’s an artist proclaiming their work, a binding document that requires authority, or simply receiving a package, signatures are an accepted method of confirmation.

The evolution of cryptography and technology in recent years, means electronic signatures or e-signatures have become ever more common. Their security and convenience mean that they are replacing “wet” signatures in many contexts.

What are e-signatures?

E-signatures allow people and entities to identify and authenticate themselves, and even digitally sign electronic documents, data, and records. Much of the world – especially the business world – has moved online and this, coupled with the need to reduce paper waste has resulted in the wider use of electronic signatures.

Operating almost exclusively electronically and online is the new norm, and this has made e-signatures a crucial component of business in a post-COVID world.

Types of e-signaturesBlog Post image Digital and electronic signatures

There are many different types of e-signatures, each of which varies in terms of how they are applied, how they are captured, and what they can be used for.

A Click-to-Sign signature is the most commonly used form of electronic signature. Click-to-sign allows the user to enter a simple signature (typically a typed name or ID number, or template image signature) to acknowledge what they’ve signed and identify themselves as the signatory. These signatures are mainly for simple things like deliveries – they offer no real certification of the signee and offer very little legality or protection as it is difficult to confirm who actually signed the document.

Basic or standard electronic signatures offer a little more protection and help ensure the reliability of the signer, as they are protected with a cryptographic digital certificate, user confirmation and action (such as an OTP sent to their cell phone), and a trusted timestamp. The cryptographic digital certification ensures that the document has not been tampered with after signing, the user and action help in identity validation, and the trusted timestamp helps with the longevity of the signature.

Lastly, there are digital signatures, of which there are two types: advanced and qualified e-signatures. The terms electronic signature” and “digital signature” are often used interchangeably, however, a digital signature is a highly secure type of digital signature, and currently has the highest trust and authority for e-signatures.

An advanced electronic signature (AES) uses similar technology to standard electronic signatures but adds an extra layer of security and reliability by assigning a unique “signing key” to every signatory. This signing key links a user’s registered and verified identity to each of their signatures, allowing for proven identity.

A qualified electronic signature (QES) is slightly better than an AES, as the signer’s identity is verified by a qualified Certificate Authority when registering for the digital certificate.

Current issues with e-signatures

E-signatures have gained a lot of traction recently and some forms of e-signaturesmay even do a better job of identifying and confirming the signature of a signatory.

Some industries and authorities still do not fully accept the validity of documents signed electronically or digitally, however. This is because it can be difficult to confirm whether the correct signatory signed the document, knows that they signed it and that there was no tampering. This means that certain circumstances require the signatory to be physically present and witnessed signing the document at the time of signing.

Although AES and QES were developed to overcome these shortcomings and do it well, they are comparatively new technologies. It will still take some time to normalise their use and get them approved across the board.

That said, advances in technology, digital transformation, and the growing need to conduct business remotely and online mean that it’s only a matter of time before electronic signatures become the norm.

If you’d like to know more about how to implement digital signatures in your organization, why not contact us?


What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation” is one of those terms that people bandy about so often you feel as though you should know what it means. At the same time, it’s used so broadly that it seems almost meaningless! 

So,  what is it really about?

In short, digital transformation is the process of transforming businesses utilising digital technology – replacing manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.

Conclude Digital Transformation

Importance of digital transformation for your organization

Whether you are a small one-person business or a large enterprise, digital transformation is a “must-do”. 

You could even argue that it is even more critical for small businesses because it will reduce the time, resources, and costs associated with labour-intensive manual work!

Read more…

The importance of Digital transformation is a big topic. To make navigating your way through it a bit easier, we have curated a list of online resources where you can learn more: 

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation

A Framework for Digital Business Transformation

Six Stages of Digital Transformation

A Step-By-Step Guide to Digital Transformation

For example:

  • Digitising your business processes enables the kind of tracking tools that will help you monitor and improve service delivery, overall customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
  • Implementing electronic signatures will simplify your documentation and approval processes in a secure and legally binding manner. 
  • Digital marketing allows you to reach a larger audience at a lower cost while collecting valuable data and analytics about your campaign and target market.
  • An online store or makes it easier for customers to buy from you and has the added benefit of allowing youhttps://concludesa.atlassian.net/secure/BrowseProjects.jspa to track customer purchasing patterns.

Getting started: Common practices

In a post-COVID world, all organisations must adapt to how business has changed or risk falling their competitors who have embraced the “new normal”.

Digital transformation will be different for each organisation and the different challenges, demands and processes they face. However, some common practices provide a basic framework for how to approach digital transformation.  

As a starting point, you will want to consider in which areas of your organisation digitisation can help you:

  • Improve customer experience, 
  • Enhance operational agility, 
  • Empower and enable your team, and 
  • Integrate systems and processes.  

To sum up, digital transformation uses technology to improve or replace processes, increase efficiency and enables organisations to keep up with trends in a fast-paced, ever-changing digital world.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you digitally transform your organisation,
why don’t you get in touch?