If you scroll down to the bottom of the list of field types available when you're setting up a Collect Info step, you'll see Organization as a choice (or, if someone on your team has already set this feature up, you'll see a specific option such as "Parcel" or Business".)
This article is an overview of how to use this field type to improve the consistency of your data and allow your applicants to pick from a list of reference data (such as a list of previously licensed businesses, or select the correct parcel information for their property). To set up and customize the Entity feature for the first time so you can easily do what's described below, please read this article first.
When to use the Entity/ Organization feature:
If you have workflows that applicants have to fill out repeatedly, such as a contractor that requests multiple permits per week or month, or a workflow where you want to make sure the exact same information (about the business name and associated information) is added to all the related processes the same way, then the Entity/ Organization feature is for you! (To keep people from having to enter the same data every time for the same annual license or permit, use the ClearForms Renewals feature.)
Here's how it looks when this feature has been set up and an applicant uses it (scroll to the end of the article for a screenshot of the same information)
The ClearForms Entity feature and Organization field type allows you to add groups of field into a specific process. So businesses can search for their business name and then additional data like their address, phone number can all be added into their application easily. Or applicants can search for their address and then all the associated data on their parcel can be added automatically.
In order to get this feature you or someone on your team will first have to set up the Entity/ Organization feature. Follow this link for more on how to do that.
How to add the Organization/ Entity data to your forms so applicants can search and select it
Once the Entity/ Organization feature is set up you can select the type of information that's been set up - in the example below it's been set up for Business information. Please note that there's a special setting unique to the Entity/ Organization feature that lets you decide whether or not you let applicants create new Organizations (in this case, the setting lets you decide whether you Allow applicants to create a new Business).
For dynamic data, such as business licensing, where new businesses are applying every year, you'd likely want to set that toggle to "On" so that if a business didn't find their name in the search, they could make a new entry. For static information like parcel data, you'll probably want to toggle that "Off" since only your team would authorize a new parcel in your system!
There are additional settings at the Team level where the Entity/ Organization is configured that allows you to limit whether applicants can view and/or change each field in the grouping. Each Team in ClearForms can have one customized set of Entity data (one reference list for you to use in all the workflows on that Team).
Viewing Entity Data on the Directory Page:
If you're using this feature, you can view and edit each Entity on your Directory Page. Here's an overview of the directory functions:
So how will this look on your forms? Check it out in the screenshot below! When you have Entities enabled, especially for workflows where applicants fill out the same application multiple times (contractors pulling multiple building permits, businesses that file quarterly reports and payments) it can really save time. It's more to set up, but gives you a lot of flexibility, access, and control of information in your system. For governments who have been using ClearForms for a while it will take some strategic thinking about which of your applications might benefit from our new Entity field and Directory functions - get in touch via Intercom if you want to talk through your options!
Here's how it looks once an applicant has selected their organization from the list. And of course you'll determine exactly which fields are included in the grouping when you set up the Entity/ Organization feature.