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InfoPath: Where e-forms meet Sharepoint (comin’ thru the rye)

As much as recent perambulations around the edges of the forms arena have confirmed that so much hasn’t changed about organizations’ appreciation for and use of electronic forms (see post of February 9), so they also have opened the gates between what once was an administrative backwater and the more mainstream world of IT. This isn’t to say that today’s forms administrator is tomorrow’s CIO – far from it! – but for those who are so attuned, the separation between the roles is beginning to narrow.

For example, not too long ago, I asked in several places (including the AIIM and Xplor groups on LinkedIn) where forms become something more in the scheme of content collection/presentation (like, say, personalized brochures/enrollment kits), and the answers were varied and interesting.

Today, I’m moving in a different direction to gauge how e-forms are being leveraged in the Sharepoint world. Specifically, I’m keen to learn how best to move forms into InfoPath, and I’d like to pose the couple of quick questions below about your experiences so I can compile an insider’s lay of the land. Even some short, quick bullets would be really helpful, so please comment and/or email me at sweissman@hollygroup.com. Thank you!

– Are you starting from scratch in InfoPath, or are you converting from paper or a different e-format? (Jetform, PDF, etc.)

– Are you trying to re-create the layout of a specific paper form, or is a regular online form OK? (trying to learn what the latest thinking is about this)

– Do you need only simple fill and submit capabilities, or do you need programming for calculations, validation, database lookup/entry/reporting, etc. as well? (don’t know how much harder it is to do all this vs. not)

– How long does each form take to finish? (I know it depends, but is there a rough guideline for planning purposes?)

– Who’s doing the actual work? (by title or function)

– What is especially straightforward or challenging about moving to InfoPath forms? (forewarned is forearmed!)

Stay tuned for more. Thanks!

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