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Are Forms Slowing you Down?

January 29, 2010
online workflow

Web-based Workflow Software Saves Time

Universities are bogged down by forms, according to an article published in The Australian. Academics resent the time wasted on administration. For every PhD graduate, an academic has filled in 14 forms, supplied 270 pieces of separate information an average of 2.7 times. A conservative estimate places the time an academic spends on filling out these forms at 580 minutes. That’s almost 10 hours per graduate – equating to funding 11 full-time PhD students or paying a professor for two years in just one faculty.

In 2001, Gartner released Rightsizing Output Fleets – The Hidden Gold Mine. This research paper identified total print costs (copying, printing and faxing) to be as much as 1-3% of an organization’s revenue. However, the real strategic value lies in analysing the indirect costs such as the cost of document searches, IT support, lost paperwork and the cost of time spent filling in countless forms.

An online workflow can integrate all the necessary departments into one efficient software solution, streamlining processes and providing immediate feedback on procedures. The integration of paper into the digital workflow, if done properly, will produce a complete information solution combining both paper-based and digital-based documents.

These workflow solutions will ultimately increase operational efficiency, employee productivity and encourage compliance. Most of all, a web-based workflow solution would reduce the almost 10 hours of form-filling per PhD graduate, capturing the data only once and transferring it to the appropriate sources.

An online workflow management tool includes the following benefits:

  • Fewer “lost” documents
  • Faster, online access to information
  • Consistent and accurate audit trails
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Ability to identify bottlenecks
  • Streamlining and automating of administrative processes
  • Reduced delays by intelligent routing of forms to the right person at the right time

Ref: Clarke, P. & Graves, N., 2010, The Australian, January 20, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/opinion-analysis/in-most-forms-a-waste-of-time/story-e6frgcko-1225821367468  on 25 January 2010.

Philip Clarke is from the University of Sydney and Nicholas Graves is from the Queensland University of Technology.

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