Month: September 2014

Paper: An Endangered Species?

Adobe released an interesting study of US business managers views of digital processes and paper. The full study is here and it’s a year old but there are some particularly relevant and interesting nuggets, especially when it comes to collecting signatures electronically. By now, everyone knows that paper processes are expensive and inefficient (Getting a Purchase Order signed electronically) and just plain make you look bad (Google Apps signature form). But there’s even more to it than that.

Security & Trust

Users and customers increasingly trust digital/electronic signatures over paper. So not only is it costing you money, it’s making you look bad and not with the times.

More people trust digital signatures

 

 

 

 

 

Going green matters to more and more people

People are increasingly aware of the environment, care about it and understand the negative consequences of using paper. It’s one of the few concrete actions businesses can take immediately that are easy and affordable. In fact, going green by getting rid of paper saves your business lots of time & money.
Going green matters

 

 

 

 

 

People want to work in a digital company

Old-fashioned, paper-based process just make you look bad not only to your customers but also to your employees. When we’re all carrying iPhones, who the heck wants to print out a Word document, sign it, scan it and email it around for approvals. It’s nuts!

People want to work in a digital company

 

 

 

 

 

Automate your approval workflows with frevvo in the cloud, gain your customers’ trust, go green, attract the best talent and save time & money while doing it. What’s not to love? Contact frevvo today for more information.

American Healthcare Technologies rolls out Android tablet solution in under 3 months

American Healthcare Technologies (AHT) provides technology-enabled services to a range of hospitals and medical practices.
They have several AHT Case Studyforms such as enrollment, medical test, consent and prescription forms as well as various questionnaires and surveys. Forms are often filled in by a patient or nurse and then sent to a physician for his/her signature and approval. With customers in many locations, the existing paper-based system is simply too inefficient.

With frevvo, they were able to roll out an Android tablet-based solution including the forms themselves, routing, and electronic signatures. It’s quick and easy and saves physicians invaluable time, reduces errors and saves data electronically.

Best of all – they needed to do this fast and were able to roll out a complex solution in under 3 months. Want to do the same for your business? Contact frevvo today.

3 top reasons our SMB customers are using the cloud

We keep hearing about Amazon AWS and Microsoft and Google peddling their respective clouds. But cloud computing is much more than just cheaper infrastructure and productivity suites. CNBC had an interesting article on why small & mid-size businesses (SMBs) are rapidly adopting cloud. They write:

Small shops with little to no money to spend on technology can subscribe to modern software for a few bucks a month without the need for a separate consulting budget.

Or, put another way, “… because they [finally] can.

We have many SMB customers including K-12 schools and Universities with small budgets but they’re still thinking big, face fierce competition and must constantly become more efficient to thrive. They don’t want to email PDFs or Word docs for signatures but, until now, they didn’t have a choice unless they were willing to spend big $$$ on a big BPM suite and/or consultants. So, what are the top reasons SMBs are automating in the cloud now?cloud

  1. Yes We Can: The #1 reason is simply that they finally can do it. Just like large companies, SMBs have sales orders that need to be counter-signed, they buy stuff and purchases must be approved, they hire people and must on-board new employees. Now, thanks to the cloud, automating these day-to-day processes doesn’t mean spending a fortune. It’s a big deal! It saves time – typically their most valuable asset.
  2. Mobility: Many SMBs have a single person who approves. If that person is traveling, everything has to wait. With anytime, anywhere access from a mobile phone, the equation changes. SMBs can now move fast when they need to.
  3. Geography/Demographics: SMBs (and, especially K-12 schools/Universities) must handle both demographic changes and the fact that it’s easier than ever to do business worldwide. This often means enabling people to interact with you in a language other than English. Once again, thanks to our cloud solutions, they finally can think global without spending a small fortune.

Of course, we benefit from Google, Amazon and Microsoft battling for customers (for the record, we still use AWS) with lower infrastructure costs, not having to buy and install hardware, improved cloud reliability etc. and customers see this reflected in lower prices.

But, our SMB customers aren’t too worried about this. They’re just moving their business forward using cloud software to automate their processes, save precious time, and respond to new challenges (e.g. demographics) because, Yes They Can!

Contact us or Try frevvo free for 30 days to start automating your own workflows.

How To Conditionally Trigger An Approval Step

Approval workflows typically are not just a fixed set of steps that get repeated every single time the flow is performed. Workflows need to be dynamic and route to specific steps based on data provided earlier in the process. For example, employees submitting expense reports for reimbursement usually require an approval from their direct manager but managers often have a limit on the dollar amount they can approve. An expense over a certain amount may need an additional approval by a supervisor.

With frevvo, this requirement is easily accomplished using preconditions. Preconditions are expressions that evaluate to true or false and can be defined for any step in a workflow. If the supervisor must also approve an expense report when the grand total is more than 1,000, the workflow can meet this requirement by attaching a precondition to the step:

PreconditionforSupervisorstep

When the first two steps (“Expenses” and “Reviewer”) are complete, frevvo will evaluate the precondition on the “Supervisor” step.  If the grand total is not greater than 1,000, the step is skipped and the flow advances directly to the “Accounting” step.

You can also use “ands” and “ors” to create more complex expressions. For example, let’s say the supervisor needs to approve anything over 1,000 but the president needs to approve anything larger than 10,000. You could change the precondition on the supervisor step to:

GrandTotal.value > 1000 && GrandTotal.value < 10000

What if you need an even more complex precondition? Let’s say supervisor approval is required if the total amount is over 1,000 or at least 1 line item is greater than 500. This problem can be solved by using a hidden calculated field and frevvo’s powerful but simple business rules.

Users can express more complex business rules in javascript: an incredibly powerful but easy language to start using. To solve this problem, a workflow designer could create a hidden field on the form called ‘ItemOver500’ and write a rule like:

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.52.08 PM

This rule will execute as the expense report is filled out. The rule initially sets the ItemOver500 value to “false” but then loops through all the amounts in the line items. As soon as an amount is found that is greater than or equal to 500, the ItemOver500 value will be set to “true”. Now with the rule in place, I simply change the precondition to:

GrantTotal.value > 1000 || ItemOver500.value = “true”

Double pipes (||) are used to indicate an “or” condition.

To summarize frevvo makes it easy to conditionally skip workflow steps even when the flow requires complex business logic to make the decisions.

Click here to view a short video about the expense report referenced in this article and here to read a full tutorial.

Automated approval workflow saves precious time for UC Davis students & faculty

Departments at the University of California, Davis offer several internships to students. At the Department of Animal Sciences, applying for one was a tedious and manual process:

  1. The Student gets a form from the Advising Center, fills it out and submits it to the Center.
  2. The Advising Associate checks it for accuracy.
  3. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Field Supervisor.
  4. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Faculty Sponsor.
  5. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Master Advisor.
  6. The student then returns it to the Advising Associate who issues a CRN number and sends it via email to the student.
  7. The student uses the CRN number to register for the internship

ucdavis-logoThe student has to track down multiple people and collect signatures/approvals – a time consuming and wasteful process. When any person is traveling, the approval gets delayed. The completed internship applications are paper documents stored in filing cabinets that are hard to locate and report on.

With frevvo, the Department now has all internship applications online. Check out this Case Study. The routing happens electronically freeing busy students from having to physically track down approvers. Field supervisors, faculty sponsors and advisors can instantly approve and sign online whether they are in Davis or anywhere in the world even using their mobile device. Documents are stored online as PDFs – they’re secure, easy to find and and report on.

It’s just one of many, many approval workflows that customers are automating with frevvo. Interested in learning more? Contact frevvo today.

K-12 School District automates 8 approval workflows in just 3 months

If you’re a parent with one or more children in school, you’ve probably received a packet of paper forms from your school to fill out. At frevvo, we’re already working with K-12 school districts to turn these into electronic versions (more on this later). But, that’s not all K-12 schools are doing with frevvo right now.

Check out this new CaCalifornia K-12 Case Studyse Study. Unfortunately, we can’t use the school district’s name yet (soon I hope) but it’s a large K-12 school district in California with close to 20,000 students. They’ve automated eight (8) approval workflows in just 3 months – bread & butter things like Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement & Conference Attendance.

For the Absence Record, it was a paper form that must be filled out monthly by every single employee even those who didn’t have any absences that month. As you can imagine, it’s a tedious process. Someone has to drive to each school and pick up the absence records, which are then validated by someone, approved and signed by a supervisor. Then they’re processed by Payroll and, if necessary, sent to a Risk Manager depending on criteria in the form. All manual! Slow! Expensive! Error prone!

Now, it’s a fully automated frevvo workflow with solid validation, business rules, LDAP and database connectivity. There’s less to fill out, less duplication, fewer errors and nobody driving around to pick up paper forms.

Interestingly, they already own SharePoint but chose to use frevvo for these workflows because it provided an easy-to-use solution that fully met business requirements at a fraction of the cost.

Want to do the same at your school? Contact frevvo today.