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Mark Lytle
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Going paperless, tablets, forms and techs in the field - need advice

I'm an IT consultant. I have a hot tub company customer that uses (3) forms for its techs in the field. These are for maintenance and various services to the equipment. Need to create online forms that have drop down boxes or pick lists. This data to be updated online to a database preferably on the business' storage versus in the cloud, but will settle for cloud. So many so called solutions out there - its very confusing. Can anyone recommend a source for creating forms as we need them to look and work, and the data getting uploaded into a database locally or in the cloud? What product(s) are the friendliest and easiest to understand and use?
Appreciate any input here... as the more I look the more confusing it gets...
Thank you.
Laptops NotebooksTabletsDatabases

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Walter Curtis

8/22/2022 - Mon
Norm Dickinson

Adobe Acrobat Standard works great for fillable forms.
Mark Lytle

ASKER
Thanks Norm. Yes it would cool if it were that easy with Acrobat. And if nothing else I might resort to just using a cloud drive for upload from the tablets... but its complexity of the form - there has to be drop down lists or pick lists to choose values from and ideally to remove all the hands  on of the staff - automatic upload into an accessible database be it cloud or local to the biz on a server, where they can create reports from. They would love to be able to automatically input to QuickBooks, but that can get pretty complicated...  So the focus for me is to find the right publisher of an app or software to create our forms as we need - fields and lists... and this publisher also have storage we access where we can sort and create reports - maybe query... or the ability to install the app or SQL some database on a local server to do the same. I worked a little with SharePoint... I don't like it too much. But if I can create the documents like I want and have them in SharePoint and IF it interfaces with QuickBooks... that might be the way to go. Again there is a lot I need to find out about still.
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Walter Curtis

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Mark Lytle

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Thank you both! I get all you both say... and SneekCo, you mirror my questions that I first had if I were to even consider venturing into Access, Excel and QuickBooks import. - IF - it made sense to build a ODBC driven or whatever custom solution would fit like a charm for the one customer. QuickBooks lets you create forms and recently I discovered this will not fit what they ask, and I do not want to get into some ODBC issue, (as I don't know crap about software writing, access database creation or mating different apps thru ODBC with foreign data), when Intuit has big issues with its software stability version after version as it is. I am going to split QBooks into the online version for the onsite labor and parts. The forms - thats the challenge - not creating them but how to have them upload to either a database... local or cloud... (not one that I want to create) - a service in place already... dropbox with templates... etc... kicking it around...
Bottom line - WHO provides a turnkey service as I describe - forget QuickBooks - just the forms and the database in the cloud or an avenue to a local server?

The customer envisions this wonderful ready to go, in a week ready, solution.... their logic: the 'other' guy does it... he uses tablets in the field... ( I ask.... well what all does he do and how is it done.... and you know the answer right? They have no clue - they have seen a tablet and thats all...  point - I know the solutions are out there and good ones), and because 'they have one',so it becomes 'the answer should be readily available and fit THEIR particular custom template... but I can tell you the other guy is probably invoicing on the spot in QBooks... and there are no service forms filled out or if so - just notes made... etc...
Miracles... its an unlimited dimension of whatever you want or however it works... its just floating around waiting for you... sorry...  

I have to refine what I ask here as I don't want you to waste your time. Its late here and I have other projects that draw me away for days at a time.... I really value your input so far and will get back on this with you this weekend. Let me define things to a finer point. You guys have a good weekend.

Thanks guys,
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Mark Lytle

ASKER
I am leaving this open for now if possible. The issue for me isn't solved, though I was drawn away now for weeks on other projects. So the answers are informative but I haven't had a chance to really consider them.
Walter Curtis

Thanks