Microtask: we love the forms you hateMay 11th, 2011 by Tommaso De Benetti
Paper forms are the bane of the modern workplace. They clutter-up our wireless, iPad-glass-and-steel offices like ghosts of the pre-digital past. As well as ruining the décor, forms are a terrible way to store data (just try “quick sorting” a full filing cabinet). Humankind has sent robots to Mars, mapped the human genome and even (in just 11 years) tracked down Osama Bin Laden. So why is the paperless office still such an impossible dream?
As you probably know by now, here at Microtask we take productivity seriously. We spent many long days and sleepless nights wrestling with this data-based dilemma. Finally we emerged, red-eyed and over-caffeinated but victorious. Ladies and gentlemen, we are extremely proud to present our new miraculous service: (drumroll please) Microtask Forms!
Forms of torture
Say you run a hospital. Most likely your staff are overwhelmed with bureaucracy. Let’s be optimistic and say your super efficient workers only spend 25% of their time filling in forms or deciphering doctors’ scrawl (bad handwriting seems to be an entry requirement for med school) and inputting it into databases. Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all these highly-paid, highly-professional people could take back that quarter of their work time and spend it on something more productive? Like, for example, taking care of sick people?
Similar bureaucratic blues are experienced by a huge range of companies and institutions: from law firms to arts organizations to government agencies. The problem is how do you digitize and structure tons of paper records without condemning brilliant employees to perform endless tedious tasks?
Crowd beats paper
From today, the solution is at hand. Microtask Forms is a service specifically created to digitize high volumes of paper forms, transforming them from groaning, overweight piles to slender spreadsheets (available in two popular Excel formats: .xls or .csv).
The idea is simple and powerful. Submit your forms via fax or email then sit back and let the crowd do the work. Our system extracts the data from each record (a totally painless procedure) and splits it into individual tasks which are distributed, over the internet, to our workers. Humans are much better than machines at deciphering handwriting (especially bad handwriting). Just to make things extra-reliable each data fragment is digitized more than once and the results are automatically cross-checked. Security is also guaranteed, as each worker only ever sees tiny fragments of information. The “big picture” remains hidden: only known to you and us.
Our free trial (absolutely no strings attached) is now up and running. Microtask Forms is great value and doesn’t require a subscription or any long term commitment – we just want to digitize your data (but in a good way, not a creepy-iPhone-tracking way). Like we did with Digitalkoot, we’ve built a platform using crowdsourcing to get repetitive and dull work done better and faster. Why not form your own opinion and give it a try?