Recycle, Reduce and Reuse: The Rs of Form Migration

The Rs of Form Migration

Except for the ultra-organized, most of us have hauled all our belongings from one home to another. Then, a few years later, we look at the mystery boxes in the basement or storage and wonder…

“What is even in there?”

“If I have not missed it by now, do I even need it?”

“Do I need a toaster oven on my small counter if I also have a toaster and an oven?”

Moving is an undertaking in itself, so adding the task of purging and consolidating is low on the list. So, we pack our belongings and move them, confident that we will organize them later. What is the harm anyway, right? Wrong. There’s a price to pay for holding onto old things you probably don’t need anymore: Storage fees, maintenance, and clutter. The same rule applies when migrating your document generation solution from sunsetted or outdated software to a new solution. We have helped companies with thousands of document templates migrate in less than a year’s time. Every form migration project is unique, but the strategy remains the same: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  


Do you already have forms and data files developed?

A Quick history lesson: JetForm was a Canadian software company founded in 1982 that created an electronic form software product by the same name. It was founded by Wayne Hall, Bob Allum, Tom Hicks, and John Gleed, often referred to as the grandparents of the industry. JetForm was the dominant leader in the industry. In February 2002, Adobe purchased the product and rebranded it as Adobe Output Central (AOC). In July 2015, Adobe announced the end-of-life of the Adobe Central product suite and offered customers the option to transition to the Adobe LiveCycle document output solution. Why the history lesson? What you might not know is the founders of JetForm are also the creators of DocOrigin, and consequentially, the DocOrigin form conversion tool is particularly effective at leveraging the information in IFDs and XDPs so you can recoup as much value as possible that you have already invested in developing your forms. In addition, we know the enormous investment made in building the proprietary field-nominated data files that accompany these forms. DocOrigin ships with a built-in data filter so you can continue to use your FNFs.


Are there any forms that are no longer used?

If you don’t know, let your logs research for you. All document solutions have a log file that captures the data files, tasks, and forms. Our partners at ProTechnology have used this tactic with great success. They wrote a script that traces form calls and populates them in a database. When a form is called for the first time, the name is added to the list, and a count of one is recorded. Then, if a form is called again, the form count is increased by one—simple yet powerful information. Within one month, they were able to easily identify that over half the forms at a particular company were not in use, saving everyone loads of time and resources by avoiding unnecessary form conversion. Of course, you must remember to also include forms that are run periodically, like Form W-2 and Form 1099-MISC year-end tax forms. But logs can point you in the right direction towards determining which forms are potentially obsolete.

Are there any documents that can be consolidated?

Often companies have sets of similar forms that vary in only a few areas. Investigate the data files for those forms to see if there is a field that can be used to determine which portions of the form to show. DocOrigin forms use sections called “panes” (somewhat like subforms in AOC) which are instantiated only when triggered by the data, allowing for similar templates to be consolidated into one Universal Template, reducing form conversion and form maintenance efforts.


Are there static documents (all content and fields are in a fixed position) or regulatory text-intensive documents that come from an external source, such as your compliance team or a government agency?

These documents are regulated and require periodic updates, which often come with financial penalties if the documents are not updated in time. DocOrigin’s Stitching (document assembly) feature pulls your external documents directly into your output to eliminates the need to redesign regulatory forms. No more lightbox nightmares! Furthermore, if you have many pages of text that are part of a legally binding document, it could be imperative that those pages remain exactly as authored. Stitching allows you to preserve the exact format, light-table position, and content of pages.

Is there content that is referenced on forms that are prone to change or varies only in text content?

Why not place that information in an INI file and pull the content into your form using the Profile feature? If anything changes, such as signatures, phone numbers, fees, logo, or corporate color, you update the Profile file once, and the update is captured instantaneously. This applies to multilingual documents as well. Keeping information that is updated occasionally outside of your form design allows you to reuse your designs. Eclipse is the home of never-ending improvements and has the last enterprise document software your company will need. Contact Eclipse or one of our authorized partners for more information.