Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 - 20:20
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 21:17
Making the jump to digital forms can save more than just time and money. For the U.S. Army, it also might save lives.
Like many large organizations, the Army has complex business processes with multiple levels of approval. Those approvals require over 100,000 different types of forms.
In addition to requiring hours of work and running up billions of dollars in administrative processing costs, paper forms can put troops in harms way. In countries like Iraq, the Army had to organize convoys to transport forms across combat areas, and planes had to fly through war zones to transport forms back to the United States.
But the Army's new e-form solution changes all that. Army personnel will now be able to view and digitally sign forms on their computer screens, enabling approvals to pass quickly through the enterprise with no printing (or convoys!) required. Users are authenticated securely, and the system produces a detailed audit trail.
Even if your agency doesn’t work in harm’s way, the case for digital forms is still compelling. The Army’s solution is expected to save millions of person hours and over $1.3 billion annually. Plus, it has additional benefits:
- Reduced development and system maintenance costs
- Reduction of system redundancies and common user errors
- Interoperability with existing infrastructures and system extensibility—the ability to add new features to an existing program without disturbing any existing code
- Regulatory compliance (Government Paperwork Elimination Act)
Have an idea for how digital forms could help your organization? Let us know in the comments!
Greg Greben is Vice President and Market Leader for Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO), IBM Global Business Services, US Public Sector