The Ultimate Guide to Forms Automation

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The Ultimate Guide to Forms Automation

Learn more

As customer expectations for simple, digital experiences increase, companies like yours are racing to deliver “best in class” fast, mobile-first interactions. One of the most common business processes left behind in that race to digital automation is forms. They stalled at fillable PDFs, basic web forms, and mobile applications.

In highly-regulated industries like insurance, financial services and healthcare–where there are hundreds of complex onboarding and servicing processes–the customers’ journey from first phone call to final outcome should be seamless.


Fewer, more impactful interactions where you know your customer and deliver faster outcomes are the name of the forms automation game.

The Ultimate Guide to Forms Automation provides an overview of what forms automation is (and is not), how it can be used across your organization, and how it will be a game changer for your customers and internal stakeholders.

What Is Forms Automation?

(Plus, what it’s not)

There are a lot of digital form software solutions disguised as forms automation solutions on the market which offer a quick path to creating online forms—maybe with some light conditional logic or basic workflow included to check an RFP box—all in the name of improved customer experience. But, that isn't considered forms automation.

The software systems that power true forms automation are designed to fully digitalize your organization’s data collection processes for the most critical business applications and servicing applications.

What does that really mean?

Digital Data Collection
Digital data collection is not just the information collected in the fillable fields of a form—it includes supporting documentation tied to a process, consent signatures, and the ability to pull in third-party technology for additional information when necessary.
Critical business applications—beneficiary management, policy renewals, wealth management onboarding, asset reallocation, and release of medical information—are the complex processes initiated thousands of times a day that impact the experiences driving company revenue and retention.

So, there are basic digital forms and there are enterprise digital forms solutions, and they provide very different approaches to data collection. From the capabilities running behind the scenes and ensuring data compliance to benefits around data hygiene and delivering faster outcomes, any perceived similarity starts to fall away early in the search for an enterprise solution.


Discover What Enterprise Forms Are and How They’re Different From Most Web Forms

Read the Blog
Discover What Enterprise Forms Automation is

Current Drivers Increasing
the Need for Forms Automation

Regardless of the industry you’re in, there are several drivers that require your organization to act and secure a forms automation solution. Those are:

1.Reducing Strains on Technology Teams

Historically, IT teams have implemented and maintained the business’s data intake processes. Whether they inherited a process through an acquisition or built it themselves, these teams find themselves inundated with requests to add new data fields or update logos when their purpose is to automate as much and as quickly as possible.

The other major initiative these teams are tasked with is data hygiene and ensuring the data is accurate and shareable. They spend countless hours on data cleanup because legacy processes don’t offer the level of sophistication needed on the front end to avoid downstream delays.

With a form automation solution, companies address both issues. They eliminate using costly IT resources for forms managementbecause internal lines of business can create and maintain forms and approval workflows themselvesand significantly reduce time spent sanitizing data, a byproduct of consistently formatted, validated information coming in.

2.Enhancing Customer Experience is a Top Priority

Customer experience is complex. Whether the customer is a policyholder, an investment advisor (or their client), or a patient, they are comparing their interaction with you to their experience with online retailers who have slick websites, relevant product recommendations, and same day delivery. Insurers, investment banks, and healthcare providers need to close the gap between the experience they deliver and the experience a customer expects.

These are the experiences your brokers, advisors, agents, policy holders, and customers want:

  • Enterprise forms that are mobile first
  • Easily facilitate prefilling information
  • Only ask relevant questions
  • Allow digital document uploads
  • Display questions in the preferred language
  • Route information in real time for signatures and approvals—that deliver
    same day answers rather than in a different month
3.Protecting Sensitive Information

If you’re a business leader, you undoubtedly recognize that many of the ways customers provide information today are neither reliable nor secure. All it would take is one hack or one bad actor to compromise thousands of people’s personal information. Government agencies are constantly tightening data regulations, and there is mounting pressure from compliance, legal, and InfoSec teams to not just meet these requirements but get ahead of them.

Security certifications from an enterprise technology vendor are table stakes. The other side of the data security story is critical. Your brand has a responsibility to protect your customers’ data like your organization protects its own and completely rethink its approach to digital data intake. The more channels the data comes in, the more costly and challenging it is to ensure the security of that information.  

The advanced API architecture of forms automation software can allow your company to collect, transfer, and store information however you need to at every point in a process, ensuring compliance with internal data handling policies and procedures. Adaptive technology means that a single, secure form process can be accessed within a portal, on a public website, or on a mobile device.

10 Reasons to Digitalize End-to-End Form Automation Processes


From Chaos to Control - 10 Reasons to Digitalize End-to-End Form Processes

This Quick Reference Guide highlights how your company is likely managing form processes and how you can increase efficiency and effectiveness with SmartIQ.

Learn more

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Forms Automation

Nearly every business process requires information. Whether it’s part of the onboarding process or servicing a longstanding customer, collecting information is one of the first steps in the overall experience. The impact legacy processes are having on organizations are very real, very costly, and very extensive—impacting IT teams and the direct lines of business.

Some of the most noticeable ways cloud-based enterprise forms automation technology impacts an organization:

For Automation 
and IT Teams

Eliminates downstream data cleanup

Improves utilization of new and existing information and technology

Frees IT resources for strategic initiatives

Reduces time spent maintaining legacy tools

For the Business

Higher completion rates due to less effort and a better experience

Retention and loyalty from fast, personalized outcomes

Seamless creation of “mobile first” experiences for every business process

Sophisticated branding for consistent, engaging experiences

Did you know? 53% of customers would end an interaction with a company if the way they collect information 
(such as completing a form) is too difficult.

Smart Communications, 2023 Benchmark Report


Next-Gen Enterprise Data Collection: The Role of Forms in Interaction Experience Management (IXM)

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Whitepaper - NextGen Enterprise Data Collection

What Are the Typical Use Cases
of Forms Automation?

When considering insurance, healthcare, and financial services business processes, the interactions happening can be emotional, incredibly time-sensitive, and highly stressful—with everything from life to multi-million-dollar investments on the line.

Here are some typical applications that can benefit from digital forms and approval automation to deliver the seamless experiences customers expect.

Financial Services

Asset Management Servicing

Investor Risk Assessments

Wealth Management Portfolio Management

Commercial Lending

Wealth Management Client Onboarding

Loan Servicing

Insurance (P&C)

New Business Applications & Customer Onboarding

Quoting & Underwriting

Policy Servicing


Agent & Broker Onboarding

Claims Submission

Insurance (Life)

New Business Applications & Customer Onboarding

Quoting & Underwriting

Policy Servicing

Beneficiary Management

Claims Submission

Advisor Onboarding

Healthcare (Providers)



Medicare Secondary Payer



HCAHPS Predictor Surveys

Healthcare (Payers)

Member Submitted Claims

Appointment of a Personal Representative

Medical Information Release

CAHPS Predictor Surveys

Claims Appeals

Prior Authorization

To see some real-world applications of SmartIQ, or to learn more about how it powers forms automation, visit the SmartIQ Demo Zone.

What Should I Expect from a Forms
Automation Solution?

Enterprise forms technology is not new—some of the most mature vendors, like Smart Communications, have been honing their solutions for over 30 years. But it is a new topic for most companies and a new space for them to research. So, what capabilities and features are required to ensure long-term viability and scalability? It depends on who you ask.

For Automation 
and IT Teams

Automates manual paper processes

Consistently structured, formatted data intake

Robust APIs and prebuilt connectors to integrate with core systems

No technology maintenance

Flexible output and data storage options

Enables long-term business ownership

Complies with information and security policies

For the Business

Prefills known information and validates collected data in real-time

Automates approval workflows

Ensures all features are mobile enabled

Real-time status updates

Automatically presents translated content

Supports digital collection of supporting documentation

Includes video content and fully branded experience

Flexible signing options (signature box, eSignature, etc.)

Closing the Loop

Many of the external business processes out there end with some kind of agreement. That could mean checking a box, “sign on glass,” or a legally binding eSignature agreement. Mature forms automation solutions are developed to give companies options, based on the specific needs and requirements of the business. And some processes may include a variety of signing options, depending on who is signing, when, and so on. The point is to ensure you are not committed to only capturing agreement via eSignature when it may not even be needed.


Get to eSignature Faster: Maximize the Value of Your eSignature Investment with True Forms Automation

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Whitepaper - Get e-Signature Faster

Why Partner with Smart Communications
for Forms Automation

SmartIQ™, a forms automation software from Smart Communications, enables enterprises to modernize forms-based processes. By guiding employees, stakeholders and end-users through automated, digital-first experiences, SmartIQ helps companies streamline everything from first name to final signature. Here’s how:

How SmartIQ Powers Forms Automation

SmartIQ is comprised of four key elements that provide a streamlined, secure, and personalized approach to data collection. Those elements are:

1. Interactive FormsResponse-based questioning and conditional logic turn one-way, individual process steps into fast, relevant interactions accessible on any device.
2. Data IntegrationsExtract and integrate data assets from within your organization using a variety of pre-built connectors and data endpoints.
3. Process AutomationConnect forms to core systems and trigger automated processes and approvals where stakeholders and observers can check status, receive notifications, and more.
4. Output & Communications Use information submitted and data from core systems to create personalized, branded documents or electronic messages in real-time—and, connect directly for eSignature.

Are You Ready To Scale the Conversation With Your Customers?

Get in touch with one of our experts today.