Augustana College first found Formstack when they began looking for an easy-to-use form building tool that anyone at the college could use to build a form. Fast forward seven years, and the college now has nearly 400 forms running and close to 500 employees using Formstack.
When the pandemic hit, the registrar’s office needed to quickly revert all their paper forms to digital. Leslie and her team swooped in to save the day. They quickly transformed all the paper forms into powerful workflows that made data capture and management much easier. These forms included robust logic and approval functions, which helped further streamline work among professors, staff, students, and departments.
I think our biggest win was stepping in as kind of superheroes during the pandemic and rescuing our registrar's office with those forms that they had to have quickly, that could not possibly be done on paper. That was a huge win.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Leslie Dupree. I'm the Director of Web Services and New Media at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
What were the challenges before using Formstack?
95% of the forms the college was using were on paper. People could see, though, that doing them online was better in a lot of ways, and so there was a demand to move paper forms online, although it was slow. And it quickly became apparent that building forms by hand, which probably not many people do anymore is torture and it's very slow, and it would be impossible to keep up.
For example, if a student wanted to drop a class, for example, they had to take a piece of paper to three different offices. Their advisor had to sign it, the instructor of record had to sign it, and someone in the registrar's office had to sign it. And so you can see there are a lot of places for that whole system to break down.
How have you reimagined work using Formstack?
We have a series of art classes in the summer for kids. And you think, well, how complicated can that be? Well, you've got to sign up all these kids for the art class. They've got to pay their money. They have to pick the class from a long list of classes. Plus a lot of parents want to sign up more than one child at a time, so you have to sign up two or three children for a variety of classes, and the classes are grouped according to age.
We were doing this on paper. It was a big pain in the neck. People would send in checks with the wrong amount because they didn't add it up right. You can imagine what kind of a snarl that could be. And there was one poor secretary who had to handle the whole thing, and her life was miserable. And so we said, we could probably do this whole thing with logic and workflow, and at the end of it, all you're going to get is who took what class, and you'll see what they paid. And so we built one of the first sort of complicated forms that we ever had done. She was delighted.
What outcomes has Formstack helped you achieve?
One thing it's helped us with, which is an overused word and a word you don't associate with colleges very often, is we've become more nimble. We are quicker to react when there's a problem, and the pandemic was a problem as far as processing information. Suddenly the people who still had paper forms that have to be taken around to offices, or forms that people just had to come into an office to give you, they didn't want that to happen.
In a matter of days, we were able to take some fairly complicated forms and turn them into workflows that went to various places. I hate to imagine how we would have handled it in the past without a tool like Formstack, because now I don't dread getting those emails from people who say, I have this fill in the blank complicated problem, can you help me with this problem? In the past, I would read that, and my heart would sink, because I knew it was going to be hours of work. But now I generally say, sure, we can get this done by tomorrow. And we do.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become “practically genius”?
It's a cliche, but oftentime if you only have a hammer, everything looks like the proverbial nail. And when people have a broken process or problem, sometimes they're slowed down in their solution because they all have a hammer. And if they actually need a saw, it's really hard for them to put their tools aside and just start over. And I think that is a really important thing.
I'll get used to doing things in a certain way or using a certain software, but once in a while you just have to put it all down and step back and try to look at it with fresh eyes. You really do.
Would you recommend Formstack to a friend?
I would recommend it to anybody who's running a website where you have to process any sort of information at all. We've been a Formstack customer for a number of years. I have watched Formstack carefully add the features that most people can see would augment the product.