March 2, 2014 Leave a comment
Working on some database stuff today reminded me of this XKCD. Gotta be the funniest SQL joke of all time
frevvo Live Forms – Mobile Business Forms and Approval Workflows
February 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Nowadays, most business software will sport the any device tag meaning you can use it on your phone, tablet or desktop. But all too often, this means adding some media queries to the existing desktop web application and throwing it on a mobile device. Usually, the result is a terrible user experience (UX).
Similarly, for web designers, mobile first has become the ‘buzzword du jour’. Mobile first prioritizes mobile devices over PCs and other devices. Might make sense for games, social networks etc. but blindly following this paradigm for enterprise apps also leads to a terrible user experience – see Windows 8 on the desktop.
There’s no point in prioritizing the quirks of individual devices. Instead, we prioritize how people use apps on different devices and try to provide a natural user experience everywhere. It’s practically impossible for enterprise developers to do – they’ll almost always prioritize data integration and offline use over sexy screens and fast UX. Customers use frevvo to create enterprise apps like Employee On-Boarding. The designer is often not a professional developer but a business engineer. For our product, people first then translates into:
Let the business engineers design forms and flows to meet business requirements. We’ll take care of providing the natural user experience everywhere.
We’ve invested tons of effort in this area. I’ll highlight a few items below. All this works without the form/flow designer having to do anything.
We’ll continue to invest more and more so customers don’t have to worry about CSS3 and HTML5 and can simply focus on their business requirements and be sure of a great enterprise UX.
February 20, 2014 1 Comment
Came across this really interesting article by Johan den Haan that categorizes the cloud landscape in great detail. As he says,
“The popular wisdom that the cloud comes in three flavors (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) does not provide a realistic picture of the current landscape.”
It’s always bothered me too. What is frevvo? Well, in the conventional wisdom, we must be a PaaS company. But what the heck does that mean? We’re certainly not targeting professional developers but business users [who are curious about technology]. Johan proposes a framework that breaks things down into multiple layers that describe a range of approaches.
I’m not sure that I’d go about calling frevvo a “Model-Driven PaaS” but our customers are often business people who don’t write software for a living but still need to create applications (forms and workflows in our case) that collect and manage data and documents. Obviously, they’re interested in technology so I like the “business engineer” terminology used in the article. They’re comfortable with dragging and dropping to design web forms and approval processes, configuring email addresses and high-level business rules, and viewing submission data in an Excel spreadsheet or a PDF. frevvo’s value is in empowering these “business engineers” with:
February 7, 2014 Leave a comment
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed an approval process that collects comments/a signature from an external, anonymous person. This second pattern is another common approval process where an employee forwards a request to his/her manager. The manager can approve/reject the request or ask the employee for more information. A common variation is where a supervisor or VP has to further approve in some situations e.g. the amount is greater than $1,000.
Some examples might be:
With frevvo 5.3, automating this process is straightforward.
That’s it. How does it work? The employee accesses the workflow (preferably via a frevvo space) and fills in the form, signs it and clicks Continue.
frevvo will send that employee’s manager a notification, which the designer can customize. The manager clicks on the notification [on any device], can view the purchase request and approve it or send it back for corrections. If approved, the workflow will be routed to the VP for further approval if the set condition is true otherwise it will continue to the next step for fulfillment.
February 3, 2014 1 Comment
Document workflows involving an approval process (a signature, comment, review or some combination) are a very common use case for our customers. In this series of articles, I’ll illustrate several design patterns and show you how to automate the workflow.
This first approval process starts with an internal employee requesting something from someone outside your organization. The external person fills in and signs one or more online forms without needing to login/authenticate. The completed documents then come back to the same or another internal employee for further processing.
Some examples might be:
With frevvo 5.3, automating this process is trivial.
That’s it. How does it work? Say, you’re requesting a quote from a vendor. The employee starts the process, enters the vendor’s email address and other information and clicks the Send button.
frevvo will send your customized email to the vendor with a unique URL. The vendor can click the URL and fill in the quote and sign it. Upon completion, he/she clicks the Continue button and the workflow returns to the originating employee. Vendor’s on the road using a smart phone or tablet? No worries – just click the link in your email and it’ll automatically render a mobile version.
January 31, 2014 1 Comment
frevvo forms and workflows work well and look great on mobile devices, of course. But how do you deploy them so people can easily access them on their smart phones and tablets? That’s where Spaces come in handy. A single frevvo Space can handle all mobile platforms as well as desktop systems.
Click on Spaces in the left menu and add a new space. frevvo will automatically generate a portal with your deployed forms and, of course, you can modify the menus, display text, add a custom logo, change the color scheme, watermark etc. so the Space has your desired look & feel.
Here’s what it looks like on the tablet and you can bookmark it and add it to your home screen. The forms and workflows appear as icons (you can add your own thumbnails) – something users are familiar with on mobile. Click on an icon to access the form or workflow. The Space takes care of rendering it nicely, adding navigation (Next/Back/Cancel/Login/Logout) and making the experience intuitive for mobile users. You can also easily access your Task List, view and perform your pending tasks, audit trails etc. The Space will automatically render only public forms and flows if the user is not authenticated so users can only see what they have access to. Nice and easy.
The Space will automatically render differently on the phone with smaller icons. The space itself and its embedded forms, flows and task list are responsive and automatically adjust to the smaller screen size on the phone.
Of course, we didn’t forget about the desktops. The space looks natural with drop down menus for your forms – a paradigm people are used to on the desktop.
January 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Many business workflows follow a common pattern. Someone (applicant, employee, customer) fills out a form in the first step and the form is then routed to one or more people (manager, reviewer) for comments, signatures and approval. It can be rejected, sent back to the original requester for modification, circulate among multiple reviewers (comment on a proposal), require multiple approvals (amount > 1000) etc. but fundamentally the pattern is the same. You can map this to paper forms in use today: it’s very common to have large sections for data entry followed by one or more “Office Use Only” type of sections.
It’s very easy to automate these workflows with frevvo. The request fills out the original form (or set of forms) electronically and frevvo routes it to the appropriate person or persons according to the desired business scenario. They’re notified and can take action instantly using any device e.g. instant approval using a smart phone. With e-signatures, PDF generation, full mobile support, built-in workflow, and available cloud deployment frevvo is an ideal and affordable solution for approval workflows. Of course, frevvo also has multiple integration options so you can save your data but that’s for another article.
Consider these areas of your business where you may be able to automate approval workflows.
Approval workflows are everyday actions that businesses perform on a routine basis. Automating them saves time and money and increases your employees’ & customers’ happiness by freeing them from tedious everyday tasks. Now, who wouldn’t want that