Think of Adobe FormsCentral as Your High School Ex

By Vladik Rikhter


Adobe FormsCentral will officially retire July 28, 2015. While Adobe might say their demise was due to apathy, we believe it was impracticality.

“It’s in our nature to innovate and try new things, and it was in this spirit that we introduced FormsCentral over three years ago,” Adobe wrote on its website. “Unfortunately, not enough people have chosen this path. As we look to the future, and all the opportunities ahead, we need to focus our efforts on new areas of growth.”

Not enough people have “chosen this path”? Parting ways with Adobe FormsCentral is like ending a high school relationship. It was becoming old, it was bringing you down, and now you’re being blamed for not making it work.

Who needs that drama? Now that you’re back on the market, you’ll soon realize…

There Are Better Mobile Platforms for Collecting Data

The Adobe FormsCentral website lists three steps for collecting data: building a form, distributing forms and viewing results. It doesn’t emphasize how you need to improve the  processes by which you collect data. Adopting the right platform can make your organization more efficient.

There are flaws in each of these steps that could be easily remedied with a better process:

1. FormsCentral tells you to import Existing PDF forms to update or re-use. Here’s a hypothetical scenario: Do you remember what you did with the employee evaluation form you created in September? No, not that one – the one your team revised five times through email. Don’t upload the wrong version or it will prevent you from accurately comparing data across multiple locations.

If you’re searching your computer for the last form you created, you’re doing it wrong.  Go mobile and free yourself from the operating system of your Mac or PC!

When you create forms on a mobile platform, you can update and save changes right on the platform. With a mobile platform, everyone along the chain of command can access the same form.

2. Adobe FormsCentral doesn’t eliminate extra steps like emailing your forms, saving them online or embedding them on your website. So unlike a mobile app, you can’t preload the form, work on it without an Internet connection and transmit data later. You must maintain the Internet connection to see this process through to completion. This can become inconvenient.

3.  With Adobe FormsCentral you can use “built-in formulas to analyze results,” which sounds limiting, or you could export and share summary reports as images or in a PDF file, meaning more paper and emails. Again, why split screens when you can work from one platform that analyzes results in real time and displays them clearly?

Can Your Platform Do This?

Before you adopt your next data collection technology, be sure you understand its benefits and ask questions. A superior platform will allow you to receive real-time exceptions notifications, upload and share videos and photos, and quickly pinpoint problems using a GPS locator. Accomplish even more by notifying vendors or assigning maintenance to tasks. Verify communication with an electronic signature.

Remember: Going paperless is worthless without a process!

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