Making Decisions Once With Workflow Customizations
Decisions must be made. And those decisions are based on data—the data that comes in. You’re either a small startup, a global corporation, or something in between, regardless, you have forms bringing in data that are the backbone of these decisions.
No brainer of course.
But here’s the catch. Yes, data is universally crucial, but how you gather it, interpret it, and use it is going to be unique to you—it’s your business fingerprint.
So you have a couple of options for how you’re going to get after that data.
Grab an off-the-shelf software solution because it’s readily available, cheap, and I bet you’ve seen their promises that it will meet “all” your needs.
But you know better. Which is why you’re reading this. It just never seems to work out that way.
Sometimes they’re inefficient, sometimes they don’t align, or worse, you miss crucial opportunities due to intake failure or catching the data rightly, or at the right time.
How can you know FOR SURE it’s going to solve a super-specific data collection process that you need it to do, maybe with an old legacy system, or how do you know it’s not going to force you into a workflow, tech stack, or some other guardrail that’s more rail than guard? You don’t.
At the end of the day, you have developers standing by who will need to audit the solution, see if they can make it work, hack it together with what you already have, or see if it can work at all.
Because one of the promises was that “anyone can make forms,” “anyone can do X,” or some such claim. But that claim almost always comes with baggage. As soon as a software solution makes that claim, along with it comes a bunch of opinions about how they solved it—not how you would solve it.
But what if instead of relying on developers to hack something together to achieve some semblance of automated workflow customization, you used a platform that was built from the ground up to let THEM, your developers, build automated workflow customization—ingrained into your business?
What you actually need is something diverse. Something that can fit into your unique challenges. Something that will play nice with your developers, to do all things custom while still enabling non-developers to build workflows that mold themselves into your organization’s specific requirements.
Your uniqueness is a challenge, but it’s also your advantage.
Zero Baggage Claims In Form Design
EVERY interaction users have with your organization signals who you are—even if it’s something as mundane as a form asking for data input. Your brand, values, commitment—all of it can come through, in a sign-up form, a big ole survey, or something else.
How you present these things can mean the difference between a user who engages and a user who rage closes the browser.
Make Your Forms Match Your Brand
I’m starting with the lowest hanging fruit here.
Your forms should match your brand, visually. Your forms should match the styling of where they are embedded, on your website, in your apps, wherever. That continuity is important. It signals to the user “yes, you’re still with us.”
Form.io forms are not iframes. K? No iframes (unless you really really really want them to be). Which means, you can style them however you want, with the native CSS styling that’s driving the page they’re embedded on.
Same exact form on one page can look totally different on another, if you want. So your hands are never tied with how they look, no matter where they’re displayed.
Speak To Them, Not To Everyone
Not every audience is the same. A tech-savvy group is going to field your interactive, on-page elements better than the luddite who needs simplicity.
The former might be more willing to run through your complex conditional logic. The latter might bail if they see more than 5 fields.
Whatever the case, Form.io’s drag and drop form builder will let you design any kind of form so you can cater to exactly who you want. The end goal here is to get that form completion.
Lean doesn’t mean short. It just means only requiring what is absolutely necessary.
With conditional logic and custom JS validation rules that you can add in yourself, you can ensure that users only engage with relevant questions—to them, especially when you can pre-populate data from basically anywhere (I’m getting ahead of myself here).
This offers a smoother, intuitive experience.
Yes you’re collecting data, but you’re also respecting the user’s time and effort, and that’s an investment you only have to pay for once when you set up the form. You’re eliminating the excess baggage that’s not necessary.
Just the other day, I saw someone complaining on X about how he had filed a support request for a software product he had purchased. Naturally, he was required to provide his account email. Mind you, his premium license key is associated with his email address, yet the support rep asked for his premium license key to prove he was a premium user.
That support rep could have already known this already from the ticket submission, if it was configured rightly, but it wasn’t.
Form.io solves this exact scenario, and 1,000 others that otherwise would be the 1,000 cuts that kill a user’s experience. That’s a zero-baggage claim we stand behind with the Form.io platform.
But That Requires Workflow Customization
The scenario I just described isn’t just about collecting data, it’s also about serving up the existing, relevant data.
To achieve true, workflow customization, you need a platform that can deal with all things custom, which means:
- With your tech stack, whatever backend and front end you’re already using
- Connected to your existing databases in NoSQL, SQL, etc.
- From legacy, cloud, and/or third party systems
- Capable of conditional routing and custom event triggers
- And if you have strict security and/or compliance requirements, the WHOLE THING may need to be embedded in your environment
The goal is to get the right data to the right person at the right time—automatically.
Back to the scenario I mentioned above. One form can route a support request to sales, product, technical support, billing support—and populate all the relevant data about the customer. And if you really want to fine-tune it, you can populate the user:
- As a lead in a CRM if it goes to sales,
- As an entry into a bank of user-feedback ideas for the product team to reference when they go to build version 2
- As an entry into your ticketing system for technical or billing support
You can do this with Form.io’s extensive APIs. Everything can essentially connect to anything. When you, a developer, or a non-developer builds a form OR a data resource (that looks like a form), the APIs are automatically generated, letting your developers hook into them however they want.
It’s an API engine to manage data as much as it is a Form engine. When you get down to that level, that’s real workflow customization.