The title of this blog post is kind of cheeky, but with 2.0 moving into the enterprise, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and forget that while these new social tools are no doubt valuable on an intranet, you can’t dismiss the core intranet functions that help employees to do their jobs.
One of the key applications (and one of the more powerful) is a Form Builder, or an online forms application. With all the publicity and blog posts relating to new web 2.0 intranets, the power of applications like Form Builder are often ignored and are a must-have for any intranet.
Let’s take a minute to dive into what Form Builder can do for you and your intranet. An easy to use and interactive Form Builder can give you endless flexibility – you can quickly and easily create leave request forms, vacation requests, employee self evaluations, annual expense reports, online surveys, and just about any type of company form where you need to collect, store, and archive online data.
By building customized electronic forms, all within a point-and-click interface, anyone can be a form builder in the company. Your Form Builder should be integrated with your intranet security, and allow for approval workflows on submissions. If you have a leave request form that needs to be approved by the employee’s supervisor, the department head, and the CFO – you want to do this seamlessly, effortlessly and online within your intranet. A Form Builder application goes a long way in reducing paper costs and the overhead of processing results, not to mention the benefits of having all your forms in one central location – searchable – and where employees can fill them out and submit them online.
When considering a Form Builder application, integration to your intranet site is paramount. A consolidated intranet where electronic forms can be found, results stored, security applied, and approval enabled is crucial versus using disconnected third party software.
Jakob Nielsen of NNG, known as the “King of Usability” and a popular web usability author nailed it in a recent Alertbox post:
“A bunch of stand-alone tools will provide a disconnected user experience, causing employees to waste inordinate amounts of time moving between environments. For more than a decade, we’ve talked about the need for a unified intranet user experience, consistent design and features organized around humans rather than technology.”
A Form Builder application delivers huge potential for an intranet site and it’s an application that needs to be integrated within your intranet. When thinking about designing or purchasing an intranet software solution, keep in mind the functionality and flexibility that a robust integrated Form Builder can achieve, along with the time and money that it can save.
Visit the Jakob Nielsen Alertbox article: Social Networking on Intranets