[Infographic] frevvo + Confluence

infograpihc_wireframe_frevvo_july2016

Atlassian’s Confluence is a wiki used by 1000s of companies to connect people with the content and co-workers they need to get their jobs done, faster. Customers use Confluence to increase collaboration, reduce time spent in meetings and email.

But, a big part of people’s day-to-day work is things like completing routine time sheets, job applications, expense reports, vacation requests, purchase requisitions, sales orders, employee on-boarding, patient referrals and the like. These are just forms (often paper or PDF or Excel) that are filled out every day and routed around to others for signatures, comments and approvals (email or hand-delivery).

These routine tasks end up wasting a lot of time. From chasing down colleagues and bosses for signatures to misunderstood and poorly defined processes to lack of 24×7 access on all devices, these tasks can be an expensive proposition.

That’s where frevvo comes in. Check out this new infographic on how combining frevvo & Confluence can help solve real business problems quickly and effectively.

We provide an Add-On for Confluence that lets you add forms, workflows and the associated task lists to Confluence. Users then simply logon to Confluence, go to the appropriate Confluence page, fill out the form that’s embedded on that page and Submit. frevvo will route as required, send notifications to the appropriate people and remind them if necessary. When the next person in the workflow needs to act on the request, he/she can approve/comment/reject directly in Confluence.

It’s as easy as that. It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays, result in unhappy employees and wasted time and money.

Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.

Trust the Cloud to higher profits

Came across this Google-sponsored study, Trust in cloud technology and business performance: Reaping benefits from the cloud (PDF, no registration required) from The Economist Intelligence Unit (via Forbes/Louis Columbus). It’s based on a ten-country, multi-industry EIU survey of 452 senior executives and interviews with experts and is full of interesting insights:

An astounding 38% of I.T. at respondents’ organizations is cloud-based rising to 45% by 2019. Almost half of I.T. will be cloud-based by the end of the decade. And, the Cloud has already helped transform key areas such as time to market, greater agility and collaboration.
trust-cloudtransformation

Yet, while everyone is using Cloud, just 16% of respondents say their organization has a very high level of trust in the cloud and this level of trust is not growing quickly.

trust-lowtrust
The lack of trust is surprising when you consider the correlation between Cloud Trust and a wide range of key business outcomes from economic metrics such as Revenue, Profit & Share Price to non-financial ones like Agility, Collaboration & Innovation.

 

The conclusion is that Trust plays a key role. Cloud’s greatest benefits come from companies refashioning how they work and expand their capabilities by taking full advantage of the benefits and not from the low-hanging fruit of cost savings. Organizations with low trust are far from this transformation. Those with high trust are improving functional operations and profitability.

Workflows: Approve vs Deny vs Reject

PurchaseApprovalWhile working with customers, I’ve recently noticed that a lot of approval steps in a workflow have three possible outcomes. Consider a Purchase Requisition workflow where an Employee wants to buy something and it goes to his/her Manager for approval. If approved, the next step is Purchasing.

What actions could the Manager take?

  1. He could Approve in which case the workflow moves forward to Purchasing.
  2. He could Reject back to the employee asking for more information in which case it moves backward to the Employee.
  3. Or, he could Deny the request completely (Reject to discard) in which case the workflow should move forward, skip the Purchasing step and terminate.

With frevvo, the Approve case is trivial. It’s the default behavior. Reject back to the Employee is also straightforward. It’s built-in to frevvo and can be configured for any step.

Deny (Reject to discard) is also easy but not so obvious. We’re considering adding this as a built-in feature but you can do this today by taking a few steps.

Step 1. Create an approval section with a Radio button

RequestStatus

The radio has two options: Approve or Deny. Deny is the second (last) option and the Comment property is checked. If the Manager clicks Deny, a text box will show up below the radio asking for details. Note the Name (set to RequestStatus) and Options (values are Approve and Deny) properties of the Radio control. You can also set the control to invisible and create a rule to show/hide it in the appropriate flow step (Manager in this case). For example:

if (form.load) {
var an = _data.getParameter(‘flow.activity.name’);
RequestStatus.visible = (an !== “Employee”);
RequestStatus.enabled = (an === “Manager”);
}

Step 2. Set Preconditions

PreconditionIn the Flow Designer, select the Purchasing step. Set the precondition as shown in the image to:

RequestStatus.value === “Approve”

This will evaluate to true only if the Manager selected Approve in the Radio we created earlier. If it’s false (Manager selected Deny), the Purchasing step will be skipped and the workflow will terminate.

Step 3. Setup Reject

SetupRejectIn the Flow Designer, select the Manager step and then click the Setup Approval/Rejection link in the Properties panel.

In the wizard that shows up, you can check Reject from here, Reject to here, change the label of the Reject button itself and customize the subject/body of the notification email.

Repeat this step for any other step from which you wish to Reject.

That’s it. Now, the Manager can:

  1. Select Approve in the Radio and continue the workflow. It will move to Purchasing.
  2. Select Deny in the Radio, provide a reason and continue the workflow. It will skip Purchasing and terminate.
  3. Click the Reject button and send the workflow backwards to the Employee for more information.

[Video] frevvo + Google Apps

Several customers are combining frevvo + Google Apps in interesting and useful ways to solve real business problems. From electronic signatures to dynamic pick lists to using Google Drive as a content repository to approval workflows, the combination just makes completing routine, day-to-day business tasks easier.

Our infographics and other blog articles discuss how frevvo’s affordable, cloud-based workflow products work with Google Apps can improve efficiencies in these areas. We’ve also created a short (2 min) video below to show you the benefits of combining the two.

Interested in learning more? Visit our website to and see how customers are using frevvo today to improve efficiency and productivity.

frevvo + Google Apps: Part 7. Single Sign On using your Google Apps credentials

As of October 2015, Google Apps can now act as a SAML Identity Provider. Since frevvo also supports SAML, you can easily sign in to your frevvo Cloud tenant or On-premise system using your Google Apps credentials. The complete walk-through below shows you how to setup Google as the Identity Provider and frevvo as the Service Provider to configure SSO. This walk-through is for Cloud. On-Premise is similar but has an additional step to generate a certificate.

Google as the Identity Provider

Follow the steps below. Screens are shown in the images below.

  1. Login to your Google domain as an admin, go to the admin portal and click through to Apps > SAML Apps. If you have any existing SAML apps, you’ll see them here. Click the big PLUS (+) sign at bottom right to add a new one. A wizard will appear.
  2. In Step 1, click the “Setup My Own Custom App” link at the bottom of the screen.
  3. In Step 2, choose Option 2 and Download the IDP metadata file.
  4. In Step 3, you can provide a name for your application, a description and a logo.
  5. In Step 4, you must enter the Service Provider (frevvo) details. For ACS URL, type https://app.frevvo.com:443/frevvo/web/saml/SSO/alias/{tenant}. For Entity Id, type https://app.frevvo.com:443/frevvo/web/alias/{tenant}. In both cases, replace {tenant} with your cloud tenant. For example, https://app.frevvo.com:443/frevvo/web/saml/SSO/alias/ashish-saml.com. Leave the built-in Name Id attribute configuration alone.
  6. In Step 5, you need to add a new Attribute Mapping:
    User Id | Basic Information | Primary Email and click Finish.
  7. You should see the Setup Complete screen show up. Click OK.
  8. Your new SAML App will be displayed. Click the three dots at right and turn ON SSO. You can choose to turn it ON for everyone in your domain or for specific sub-domains.

Create users in Google

At this point, you’ll need to create your users in Google or move existing users into the appropriate sub-organization if you are limiting access to your SAML app in Google. You won’t have to create new users or move existing users if you enabled the SAML app for everyone in your Google domain.

However, you’ll need a user in your Google domain to serve as the tenant administrator. Either, create a new one or choose an existing one (there’s nothing to do as long as you choose someone).

Create users in frevvo

You need to ensure that the user you chose/created as the tenant admin exists in frevvo. Once we switch over to SAML, all authentication will use Google Apps credentials and you won’t be able to login using your current tenant admin or other users. We’ll use CSV upload. The file syntax looks like this:

userId,tenant,password,firstName,lastName,email,enabled,reportsTo,roles,transaction
{user}@{domain},{tenant},123,{first},{last},{email},true,,frevvo.Designer|frevvo.TenantAdmin,

The fields are your Google login (e.g. prajakta.deshmukh@frevvo.com), your frevvo tenant id (e.g. ashish-saml.com), any password (it is not used), the first name, last name and email address. In the roles field, use the roles indicated above.

  1. Login as the current tenant admin user.
  2. Click on Manage Users.
  3. Click on Download CSV users file.
  4. Edit the file to setup at least one Google User (the one you chose/created as the tenant admin).
  5. Click on CSV Upload (the Excel looking icon) and upload the file to create this user.

frevvo as the Service Provider

Now, we need to setup frevvo. Follow the steps below (also shown in the image below):

  1. Generate the SP metadata file from frevvo. Visit the URL: https://app.frevvo.com:443/frevvo/web/saml/metadata/alias/{tenant} in your browser. Replace {tenant} with your cloud tenant. Right click to View Page Source and save as an XML file.
  2. Login to your Cloud account as tenant admin and click the Edit Tenant button.
  3. In the Security Manager section, click the Change button, choose SAML in the drop down that appears and click Ok. NOTE: Free Trial accounts do not show the Change button. If the Change button is not visible in your tenant, please contact customer support.
  4. The SAML configuration section will appear. In the Service Provider section, we must paste the SP metadata file we generated in Step 1 above. Unfortunately, the file contains an XML prolog (highlighted in the image below) which must be removed. Paste the contents of this SP metadata file without the prolog into the Service Provider text area of the configuration form.
  5. In the Identity Provider section, paste the IDP metadata file we generated and saved in the Google setup above. Once again, the file contains an XML prolog. Paste the contents of this IDP metadata file without the prolog into the Identity Provider text area of the configuration form.
  6. Check Authentication Only. This means SAML will authenticate the user but not retrieve any of the attributes. Users are not automatically discovered upon first login. Therefore, you must create users & roles using CSV upload.
    • If you do not wish to select the Authentication Only option, you’ll need to map other attributes in Google first before you can assign them in Frevvo. First Name, Last Name, and Email should be pretty straight forward since these attributes are surfaced by the Google SAML IdP app. The other attributes may be more difficult.
  7. With the Authentication Only option, attribute mapping only includes one attribute, the User Id. Since we mapped the email address to the User Id attribute in Google while setting up the SAML app, we can simply map the frevvo attribute to User Id in the configuration form.
  8. Submit the form and we’re done.

How to use your new SAML tenant

  1. Logout of all your Google accounts to test.
  2. Go to the tenant URL: https://app.frevvo.com:443/frevvo/web/tn/{tenant}/login. Replace {tenant} with your tenant id.
  3. You will be redirected to the Google login page.
  4. Login to Google as the Google user you chose/created as the tenant admin.
  5. You will be redirected to frevvo to the Manage Tenant screen.

The user id displayed in frevvo at the top will look like {user}@{domain}@{tenant} which is a bit confusing but is purely cosmetic.

Load other users in frevvo

Before your other Google users can login to frevvo using their Google Apps credentials, they must first be created in frevvo. You can download users from Google Apps as a CSV file (uncheck the create a Google Sheet option), modify it  to follow frevvo’s syntax as above and upload it. You can also login as the tenant admin Google user and create users and roles using the UI.

Once the user exists in frevvo, he/she can login using Google credentials and the system will behave as expected according to the roles assigned to the user.

frevvo for Confluence – Part 4. Create/Update Confluence Pages

In Part 3 of this series, we looked at how you can create a form or workflow and accumulate submissions on a Confluence page.

But, customers often want to create and update Confluence pages from frevvo forms for structured content. An example is an application to manage client contact information.

Let’s say you want to create a Confluence page for each client. The Confluence rich text editor is one way to manage these pages. But, it’s hard to keep the pages consistent, eliminate errors and enforce business constraints with the Confluence editor. That’s where frevvo comes in.

Instead of creating/updating these pages using Confluence’s editor, you can use a form. The form enforces structure, business rules, validation etc. When the form is submitted, frevvo will generate a Confluence page for the client; the page can be named using data from the form (e.g. client name).

frevvo can also generate an Edit link on the page. When clicked, it takes you back to the form pre-filled with the client data. You can edit the data and submit. frevvo will then update the client page with the updated data.

With Live Forms for Confluence, anyone can do it. See how easy it is in this 4.5m video.

frevvo for Confluence – Part 3. Collect data on a Confluence page

In Part 2 of this Series, we saw how to create a simple survey form in Confluence and view submission data or download it to MS Excel. But sometimes, people want to do more. They want to format the results as a table and add a graph, display the results in specific ways etc.

Confluence and its rich set of plugins is the ideal platform for this and with frevvo Live Forms you can now easily create forms [and even workflows] and collect submissions on a Confluence page. Then, use arbitrary macros to create tables, charts, Tab views etc. It’s a powerful way to leverage the unique capabilities of both platforms.

Watch the 3.5 min video below to see how.

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