Companies that are just starting up and dealing with constrained budgets are happy for solutions like Google Forms, which allows them to create electronic forms online. In the first days of a company’s life, keeping costs down is often a top priority, and finding low-cost or free solutions can help them keep going until revenues allow for better solutions.
But such solutions, like Google Forms, are easily outgrown as businesses expand. Google Forms is part of Google’s online apps suite and is free and easy to use. It can be a great way to save data directly to a spreadsheet, but many organizations that use it find that they soon need more than what Google Forms offers. Here are 5 reasons why Google Forms falls short as a workflow management solution.
1. Notifications Are Too Limited for Most Organizations
Workflow managers need to know when a new entry of some kind has been submitted via a form but turning Google Forms into a comprehensive workflow designer is neither easy nor straightforward. And notifications are often inadequate to the task. While you can enable an email notification for the creator of the form when a form is submitted, nobody else is notified. In other words, if you have a workflow built around the forms, the next person whose input is needed in the process isn’t notified, just the form creator. Hence, notifications must still be handled via phone, email, text, or some other way.
2. Permissions Are Not Customizable Enough for Many
With Google forms, you can label users as editors or not, and it applies to the entire set of data included in that form. Should you want to, for example, allow certain users to edit certain fields but not others, you’ll need more advanced workflow automation tools. What’s more, if you want some fields of a form to be hidden from certain viewers (such as hiding approval fields from people who aren’t authorized to grant approval), you can’t do that. If someone has permission to edit your Google Form, he or she has permission to edit all of it.
3. Moving Already-Processed Data Is a Chore
Workflow tools help ensure that the data that arrives via form gets copied and/ or moved to where it needs to go automatically. Say your Google Form dumps form data into a spreadsheet, but you want that data moved out of that spreadsheet as soon as it has been acted upon (for example, if an order has been packed). Moving that data out is a manual process, and mistakes can cause problems for your employees and customers. Ideally, you want your workflow designer to get data to where it needs to go automatically when it has been processed.
4. Tracking May Be Inadequate
Timestamps on spreadsheets are great, and Google Forms can timestamp a spreadsheet every time a form is completed and data is dumped into the spreadsheet. But that’s it. You don’t have a way to track data as it flows through other steps of the process. Most businesses need workflow tools that automatically track when, say, an order goes from the warehouse to shipping, or when approval is granted to a particular request. Currently, these tasks have to be done manually with Google Forms, so they’re time-intensive and subject to human error.
5. You’ll Probably Need Better Reporting Options
While Google Forms does have report creation capability, it may not be enough for your organization. While you can easily print out the Google Spreadsheet where the form data is stored, this may not be a useful format. A form publisher add-on is available to keep “reports” from being printouts of raw data, but if you need reports to show regulation compliance, or to present to the board during a budget planning meeting, you may not have what you need. Most companies need a workflow designer that makes it easy to create aesthetically pleasing, engaging reports that tell a story at a glance.
PerfectApps offers workflow management software tools that address all the shortcomings of Google Forms and then some. It allows you to create reports online that are pixel-perfect with a simple drag-and-drop interface, complete with automatic notifications and outstanding reporting options. What’s more, it integrates easily with many software packages you already use (including spreadsheets). We invite you to watch our demo video so you can get an idea of the tremendous power and flexibility that PerfectApps offers.