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How to Develop Digital Forms and Workflow Automation

If you’ve decided to develop digital forms and workflow automation as part of your customer experience (CX) strategy, you are not alone. Many companies recognize that digital forms offer myriad benefits for both customers and businesses. You have several options as you focus on how best to develop digital forms . This post will review the most popular choices, including the approach many companies are now using: no-code digital cx platforms.

Option One: Internal Custom App Development 

Most large companies today have an internal team of developers that create software applications for the business. These teams know the business’s infrastructure well and may have a strong understanding of company goals and objectives that are underpinning your digital self-service initiatives. 

Some companies prefer building their own applications versus buying third-party solutions or platforms. They feel that internal development gives them greater control and ensures that the company’s systems and standards are consistently applied. 

The challenge with these policies is that there is often a shortage of developers available to do the work. CX leaders must compete for resources with many other teams and functions in the company, which can extend timelines. Finally, internal development costs can run high because developers are scarce and expensive. 

Option Two: Outsourced Custom Development

Some companies leverage outside development teams to do some or all of their custom dev work. Some with compact internal teams assign “overflow” projects to outside resources to help keep development timelines shorter.

While these teams may have less institutional knowledge of a business, they may be more flexible in having resources available to perform the work. Further, some firms specialize in specific app types, which may be helpful for specialized needs. Additionally, many firms are based  in lower-labor-cost markets like India and Eastern Europe, which can significantly reduce software development costs. 

It’s important to note that the quality of outsourced resources varies considerably. Some provide excellent capabilities and have long-term relationships with companies that help mitigate the institutional knowledge gap. Other providers are challenging to work with when customer experience is the central consideration. Further, when you work with an overseas team, it can be harder to communicate goals or feedback throughout the process. 

Option Three: CX Development Platforms

A third alternative is to leverage a no-code CX platform. These tools have been developed to simplify building consumer applications. No-code is valuable because it means citizen developers can create applications independently without waiting for tech resources. The applications can then be tested and implemented. The best such offerings leverage drag-and-drop interfaces and require little or no coding experience. 

Platforms enable companies to develop applications in hours or days instead of the weeks or months that custom applications can require. They are ideal for common use cases shared across companies. In these instances, the need for extensive customized capabilities is minimal. 

Some platforms offer pre-built templates that make creating, connecting, and deploying new experiences even easier. Since the basics of making a payment are the same for most companies, for example, templates can provide a strong foundation that you can then customize to your specific needs. A robust platform can also enable you to apply your branding to the experience for a more seamless and intuitive customer experience.

Advanced Capabilities

Purpose-built platforms often offer advanced capabilities beyond simple form fields, like automatic data validation, e-signature, upload/download content files, auto-fill, and dynamic form logic that adjusts and personalizes the user experience to the individual. They can also meet or exceed strict standards and guidelines for security and privacy. Many of the world’s most security-conscious businesses now leverage platforms after extensive security reviews. 

Great platforms also enable you to deliver experiences that can be deployed across any touchpoint, channel, or device. The FICX platform, for example, provides digital applications via short links that can be incorporated into web pages, customer portals, IVR decision trees, and other customer interaction points. Clicking a link opens a web application on whatever screen is in use. 

Choosing the Right Path 

No one approach is appropriate for all challenges. Platforms are ideal for simple use cases and straightforward tasks that don’t require extensive customization. Custom software development is best for complex challenges where institutional knowledge has excellent utility and value. Many companies are moving to a hybrid model where the development team creates meaty software while small applications for CX and other challenges are built using third-party platforms. 

As you review your options, spend some time learning how each development alternative can help automate manual process steps that add cost and complexity to your customer processes. Workflow automation can be a boon to both customer experience and key business metrics.

For more information on these topics, visit the FICX digital forms and workplace automation web page. You can also explore our other articles and content on digital forms at the links below. Visit the FICX website for additional information on the FICX platform, or request a demo today.

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