You’ve likely heard of mobile forms software and how it optimises operations in many different industries. Some report cost savings; some report increases in production – our very own customers have cut their admin time by as much as 80%. That said, you may be wondering… how, exactly, would you calculate your return on investment (ROI) when adopting a mobile form builder?
You’re not interested in vague benefits or promises of ‘greener grass.’ You want things in black and white: the hard stats – your own hard stats.
Within four steps, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and let the numbers help you get there.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Mobile Forms Software?
For the sake of clarity, mobile forms software is any platform or system that allows you to create business-specific mobile forms. These forms generally replace safety checklists, work orders, complicated workflows, simple inspection tasks, and so much more. Mobile apps can replace almost any paper process.
Some platforms even have features that allow you to largely automate your workflows (like Appenate 😉).
Unlike a bespoke app, these platforms are typically hosted on their own servers and app – and they give you an account that you can use to create and dispatch your apps from these resources.
For more information, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Forms.
Try Our Mobile Forms ROI Calculator
Before we get into highly specific calculations, here’s a nifty calculator to whet your appetite. Use it for a quick look at what sort of return you can expect when investing in mobile forms.
Looks good, right? Now let’s get into calculating your true, indisputable figures.
Step 1: What Are You Spending On Paper?
The first step is to establish your current monthly expenditure, which goes beyond just printing costs (probably the most insignificant cost here, ranging from 5-60 cents USD per print).
Think about how much time your team spends travelling to take paper forms from A to B (fuel + time). Then calculate the time office staff take to capture and process that data. Next, you need some form of storage for the paper forms – how much floor space do you use for this? Could that space be better utilised? And what’s that floor space costing you? (Storage area divided by total floor area times rent)
This is all without even considering that a paper form takes longer to complete than a mobile form – on average.
Calculate all these costs that tie back to using paper in your processes. You should find a surprising figure here. Let’s write it down and move on.
Step 2: Compare Costs To Mobile Form Software
Now you’ll need the total number of users involved in those processes (most mobile form providers charge per user). Work out what you’d need to pay for a form builder and compare the costs.
For quick reference, our highest per-user price is $17.90 (paid monthly, premium user). So if you have five users that need mobile forms, you’d pay less than $80 a month. Calculate your cost for mobile software and compare figures.
You’ll also cut out travel time, manual processing, time spent deciphering illegible handwriting, and so much more.
Now… do the figures make sense yet?
Step 3: Measure Everything
This initial calculation could be the spark to going paperless, but there’s one more step to ensure that the benefits justify the time cost of switching over.
Detail your current process carefully.
Calculate how long your processes are taking your employees to get through right now – double-check the costs in 30 days, etc. Also, keep in mind that employees typically end up happier when using Appenate instead of paper forms, even after some initial resistance to change. (Get around this resistance with our guide on Digital Transformation)
Once you have this indisputable figure, it’s time to…
Step 4: Test It Live
Do a live test and see, with zero lingering doubts, whether mobile forms can work for you.
We’d like to extend a challenge to you. Pick a core process within your business that you think could benefit from going paperless. Calculate the printing costs and time spent on paper admin duties within that process.
Now start a trial with Appenate. Gather your forms and build them out in the drag-and-drop app builder. Make use of our free one-on-one training – it’s invaluable.
Test the process live and compare costs and efficiency.
Welcome to Appenate. 😉
Examples Of What ROI Looks Like In Different Industries
You’ll likely realise a return on investment through cost-saving alone. That said, the real return lies in optimised business processes. Money is one thing, but faster production, smoother procedures, and sometimes even happier (more motivated) staff are all far more valuable than a quick cash boost.
Bearing that in mind, here are a few examples of what the ‘true’ ROI looks like in different industries.
Construction: Improve Accountability & Compliance
Construction projects require serious coordination of people and resources in the field. When you start adding up duties like site inspections, safety and compliance reporting, work orders, employee timesheets, checklists, etc. – it adds up to far too much admin.
Too much paper.
Imagine combining all of these into one polished and easy to manage mobile app – with all your data safely stored and easily accessed on the cloud.
The data visibility and time savings could change how your entire business runs and give you a vital edge over your competition. The auditors will never give you sleepless nights again – all your data is safe, intact and easy to find.
Agriculture: Farm Smarter, Not Harder
There are few better examples of ‘Smart Farming’ than leveraging mobile apps. Better land management decisions, better quality produce, and more effective asset management are just some of the benefits on offer.
The best part is that Appenate is fully offline-capable, ensuring continued production with or without an internet connection.
The result is faster feedback from the field, greater visibility across operations, and easier decisions regarding daily planning.
(Insert Your Industry Here): More Effective Operations
These are just two of countless industries that benefit from mobile forms. Safety, Mining, Manufacturing, Logistics, and more can benefit from mobile apps and see a positive ROI and higher efficiency and compliance.
For more, see our use cases.
As long as you have worker-facing operations you’re looking to improve, Appenate may be a fit for you.
Calculating ROI Can Be Complicated
This article is quick and easy to follow – but taking all the moving parts into account when calculating ROI can be challenging.
That’s why we go into this very topic in our guide to mobile forms. Check it out, and be sure to use the free Google sheet to put all your costs in writing. In a month, you’ll be able to open it up again and see exactly how much you’ve saved.
Then you can take advantage of our 90 for 90 offer, which gives you 15 premium users for 90 days – all for just $90. That way, you can conduct your tests over an extended period to ensure your new solution is sustainable and profitable in the long run.