Let’s get real here: A fillable PDF is not really a digital data solution. It’s merely a typed version of a hand-written paper form. Nothing more.
Sure, there are some benefits, like:
- Easy-to-read typed forms (instead of hard-to-read chicken-scratch/handwritten paper forms)
- Individual PDF files can be saved and archived into your cloud storage (instead of having to scan the paper forms and upload to your cloud storage)
You are going to end up with hundreds and hundreds of individual PDFs, scattered throughout your cloud storage. When you need to find a specific form, you are going to hope that the file hierarchical structure you or your organization created is simple enough to navigate so that you can find the right PDF file.
And forget about aggregating or analyzing the data collected on those forms. That’s impossible in a fillable PDF world. Yup…not possible unless your data is actually digital and is transferred to something else, like Excel or Tableau, for example.
Not to mention that you would probably need to use a laptop for a fillable PDF. I guess technically-speaking, you could fill out a PDF on a phone or tablet, but the storage mechanism for iOS and Android is a bit different than the storage system we are used to navigating in Windows and Mac. So there’s that.
A more elegant way to do this…
Why not go true digital from the start, with XForms? Here are some benefits:
- It’s cheap…pay a small amount per user per month. No contracts. No minimum number of users like some other software tools.
- It’s easy to implement…unlike Earthsoft’s EQuIS or other vertically-integrated legacy tool, which usually require an entire IT department to set up, maintain, and support.
- It’s simple. You don’t need a giant user guide to figure out how to use it.
- It’s easily expandable. You can build any kind of form template you can dream up. And you can do this yourself, not have to submit a request to the software provider to build something for you at extra expense and time.
- It has built-in data analytics that you can configure with aggregations and simple math in a very eay-to-understand dashboard.
- You can integrate it with any other modern software. For example, you can have the data collected with it automatically populate a Google Sheet or AirTable, or set it up to automatically upload a PDF verion of the submitted form to OneDrive or Dropbox. These are just examples.