As part of the administration process of traditional forms, data collected is often manually keyed into a back-office system or database, a laborious and time consuming process for team members who could be working productively on other procedures.
With non-integrated electronic forms, the wastefulness of having to key information twice (once when completed, and then again to get the data into the database) can be addressed by sending eForm data directly to these back-office systems, which are becoming increasingly open to receive data in specific XML format files (as specified by applicable XML schemas).
Back-office system data handling has varied from vendor to vendor – each requires data to be sent in a proprietary format, which often involves writing long complicated code to convert form data into the prescribed format.
In previous years, there have been increasing moves to establish standardisation between the way that different back-office systems import data. Various industry initiatives encouraged vendors to converge around XML as the preferred means for sending and receiving data.
For integration into different systems, XML is raw data that is structured and labelled in pre-specified way, as defined by an XML schema. When eForm data is structured and formatted into XML according to the schema, it can then be received and processed by any system that is compatible with this data schema.