Author: Ashish Deshpande

[2m Video] frevvo in K-12 schools

Many K-12 schools (public and private) use frevvo to automate routine day-to-day workflows from travel authorization to permission slips to absence records. They love capabilities like the visual, low-code designers, dynamic behavior, and built-in mobile but also love the speed and ROI of digital transformation.

Watch this short 2m explainer video to see how they’re getting rid of paper- and email-based processes, converting them to digital and freeing up teachers and staff to focus on students instead of chasing signatures.

Want to get started with digital transformation in your own school? Visit our website to learn more and sign up for a free trial and contact us today.

Want Digital Transformation? Start with your workflows.

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What is Digital Transformation?

By now, everyone’s heard of Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation is the process of using technology to radically change your business to pursue new revenue streams & business models and to avoid disruption. But, what exactly does that mean?

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Digital Transformation is not a single IT project. It’s the combination of numerous projects that infuse “digital” into everything within your organization – from evolving the underlying technology to servicing your constituents increasingly on mobile to digitizing your processes to create efficiencies to integrating with third parties to create better customer experiences.

Ultimately, though, DBT is about organizational change to improve performance through the use of digital technologies.

Start with your Workflow

templates.pngTechnology itself makes a difference and creates innovation but at the end of the day it’s the people and the business processes in an organization that can truly drive change, disruption and transformation.

Automating your day-to-day workflows is at the very foundation of digital transformation. If your organization does not already have a workflow automation platform, I strongly suggest looking into one now. Using a platform, you can digitize forms for employees and customers and automate your routine processes. Once they’re automated, you can measure the effectiveness of those processes and optimize choke points to drive genuine change. You can collect and analyze your proprietary data in myriad ways to improve business performance.

Without workflow automation you’re still dealing with manual processes. You’ll probably need to worry about being disrupted and becoming irrelevant.

5 ways Workflow Automation can change your business

1. Increased Efficiency

What might the transformed, modern business application look like? It will undoubtedly:

  • Automate forms and workflows so there’s no need to print, sign and scan.
  • Integrate with data and systems to reduce tedious manual data entry.
  • Intelligently route documents to the right person at the right time to ensure that business constraints are satisfied.
  • Automatically support all mobile devices and speed up the approval process by providing 24×7 access from anywhere.

2. World Class Customer Service

if_seo_web_3-19_1152167.pngOver-delivering on customer service is the single most important thing you can do to increase revenue. Otherwise, today’s consumers will quickly move on to the competition.

Today, customers are used to interacting with your organization online at any time. If they need some information from your company and it’s only available during business hours, they’ll be frustrated and feel inconvenienced. Automation ensures that your customers have a smooth experience by enabling them to access information when they need it.

When employees are wasting time chasing down internal approvals, they have less time to focus on customer service. Automated approvals free up their time so it can be invested into what’s important: customers, students and patients.

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3. Enable Mobility

mobile-apps-175% of U.S. information workers rely on mobile. In response, businesses are prioritizing mobility with 88% of them saying that mobile functionality is either very important or an outright requirement.

But, one-off mobile apps are hard and barriers abound. Time, budget and skills are all in short supply. In addition, mobility nowadays is about reaching users through all channels, especially mobile web browsers, as users often don’t bother to install a native app.

Workflow automation systems offer visual and low-code approaches that let you provide business functionality in web-apps and spread that development out among more people – the “citizen” developers in your organization. That in turn eases pressure on I.T. teams, freeing them up to meet business needs.

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4. Business Agility

Business Value from Cloud

Automation taking advantage of cloud (+ mobile) is a critical driver of business agility – roughly speaking, the ability of your business to react rapidly to changing business conditions. Think of two main aspects:

  • Responsiveness – Enable employees to do the right thing at the right time. That means reducing business complexity (stop wasting time on paperwork, errors, missing signatures etc.), employee efficiency (let them work anytime, anywhere and using any device) and collaboration (access to people and information from anywhere as needed).
  • New Opportunities – Faster rollout of new business initiatives as business conditions change e.g. introduce a new product offering or modify internal processes to quickly satisfy changed customer demands even something as simple as letting people buy on their mobile phone.

Both are sources of significant competitive advantage. According to Harvard Business Review’s recent survey on Business Agility in the Cloud, companies are already seeing business value and benefits from simplification, collaboration, and faster reactions to new opportunities.

This business agility appears to lead to some very tangible and measurable outcomes: 49% are more likely to have entered a new market in the past three years i.e. rolled out business initiatives quickly to take advantage of a new business opportunity. Significant majorities believe cloud (+ mobile) reduces business complexity (71%), increases employee productivity (69%) and responsiveness to customers (53%).

 

5. Astounding ROI

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It’s often hard to see how much those paper- and email-based workflows are really costing you. Let’s do a quick analysis. Consider a 3-step workflow:

  1. Performed by an Employee – a Travel Authorization or Purchase Requisition. Let’s say this employee costs $80,000/year including benefits, vacation, taxes and other costs (equivalent to a salary of about $60,000).
  2. Performed by a Manager who essentially checks the request, approves it if it is valid or sends it back for corrections. Let’s say the manager costs $100,000/year inclusive of all costs.
  3. Performed by an HR or Finance person who essentially updates an internal system and does the equivalent of filing the request. Say, this is a part-time person costing $60,000/year.

Now, assume that the time savings are 10 min, 3 min and 3 min respectively in each step. That’s pretty conservative given there’s no printing, signing, scanning etc. involved. Finally, assume that there are 400 approvals per month of all kinds (Vacation requests, Sales Orders, Timesheets, Travel Authorizations etc.)

How much do you think you will save in costs? You might be shocked:

You’ll save ~$50,000 every single year or 57% of your costs and see net positive ROI in just a bit over 2 months.

That paper/email process actually costs you close to $85K per year. And that doesn’t even take into account the time spent trying to track down emails, chasing down managers for signatures or, perhaps of greater importance, the Opportunity Cost of delayed approvals.

Looking Ahead

Analytics and Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in the future of business transformation powered by digital technologies. But deploying these technologies relies on access to your proprietary data making it your most valuable asset. Workflow automation is the foundation. Think about it!

Paper- and email-based processes deny you access to your single most valuable asset – your business data.

Eventually, AI engines powered by data analysis will end up automating the optimization of your workflows. But, your processes need to be ready.

If you want digital transformation, start with workflow.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our website to and see how customers are already using frevvo’s public and private cloud solutions to transform everyday business processes.

 

“Out with the old” is just as important as “In with the new”

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Are you being asked to “do more with less”?

Our customers often tell us that automating their processes using frevvo has freed up employees’ time. For example, at OESJ, teachers are able to spend more time on students since they aren’t chasing down signatures. At All-Island Gastroenterology, doctors spend less time waiting for patient paperwork and more time caring for patients.

When people are freed up from routine back-office tasks like getting approvals, correcting errors on forms, and looking up part numbers manually, they have more time to focus on work that matters – customers, patients and students.

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This is a crucial aspect of digitally transforming your business. Unless your hiring budgets are increasing 10-15% every year, there’s simply no way to do new things unless you stop doing old things. If you’re an organizational leader, one of the most important things you can do is create and write down a plan that clearly identifies the activities that you won’t be doing this time next year. Let employees know that you aren’t just paying lip service to digital transformation but it’s at the core of the next several years.

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Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime

digital-transformation-value.pngJust look around you. See those core business processes. One way or another, they’ll be automated. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and it’ll change your organization.

Automating these core processes is about driving 50% (or greater) cost reductions in parts of your operations. It’s about changing and enhancing what your people do and don’t do and, most critically, it’s about boosting revenue growth.

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You have to start TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.

Celebrating “10 years” of success

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It’s hard to believe but frevvo’s just turned 10. It’s been quite a journey; obviously, like every company we’ve had a few struggles but overall, it’s been a fantastic ride.

Prior to frevvo, some of us worked at a BPM company where we built the front-end forms by hand. It was incredibly boring so we threw together a prototype while working part-time, quit our jobs and decided to give it a shot.

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Branford’s beautiful Blackstone Public Library

The first few years were tricky. We worked out of Branford’s Blackstone Public Library and Willoughby’s Coffee in Branford, CT. Thanks Town of Branford. We came from a BPM background so our product didn’t have the fanciest UI – but it did real business things like conditional logic, integration, calculations etc. Still, it wasn’t easy to sell and the four of us were all Engineers.

It took us a year to get our first customer and another year to get our tenth. Since then, we’ve grown to almost 800 customers of all sizes in all industries spread out all over the planet. We’ve added several employees in Branford (and we’re looking for a few more right now). We’ve been fortunate to partner with some of the biggest companies in the world as well as great local partners right here in Connecticut: Westbrook Technologies now DocuWare in Branford and Square-9 Softworks in New Haven.

Ten years later, after many twists and turns, we’ve stayed true to our mission of caring deeply about our employees.

“We will not sacrifice our team’s happiness to chase every last $. We don’t want to be the biggest; we just want to be the best.”

That approach has paid huge dividends – employees have stepped up during tough times and customers sense their commitment and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure satisfaction – just take a look at our long list of customer testimonials.

I’m so proud of our success and grateful for the amazing team we have here at frevvo. I’m excited about the future, about meeting our new employees, about growing our business right here in Connecticut, and about building an even better product and exciting new relationships with customers and partners.

To all our customers: rest-assured that our employees will do everything in their power to ensure that you’ll still be happy frevvo customers on our 15th anniversary and beyond.

Finally, to my original co-conspirators Leandro, Nancy & Yuri, thank you for everything. It’s been a heckuva ride these last 10 crazy years.

Amazon price! Google Speed! Five things to help you compete.

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Over the last 20 years, manufacturers had to learn to compete at the “Walmart price”. Service providers were largely unaffected. After all, you couldn’t manufacture a cab ride or a hotel room in China. How things have changed. No matter what you do, technology and automation are creeping into every area of your business and there are dozens of startups with the brains and funding to compete.

Every business must now learn to compete at the “Amazon price” but also at “Google speed”. In this environment, manual processes simply don’t stand a chance. You must automate or die.

Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime

From travel bookings and maps to online banking to highway tolls, we are already using automation in our daily lives. For your business, automating routine, day-to-day operations will make a fundamental difference. We’re talking about 50% efficiency improvements and literally changing what employees do. It’s heady and scary stuff.

Five things to keep in mind

Where to start? I.T. is overloaded, mobility requirements are soaring, there’s a serious skills gap, security is a concern, and data integration and scalability are challenging. It’s enough to make ones head spin. Nevertheless, you must get started TODAY!

1. Start small but Start NOW

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction. – Bill Gates.
The best advice I can give you is to get a quick win. Don’t try to automate everything or get bogged down in I.T. committees.  Find one everyday workflow – ideally it’s repetitive, with simple routing and reasonably frequent – and gain that first success.

2. Set goals and don’t be shy.

“If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” – Alice in Wonderland
The potential ROI of automating routine workflows is astounding. Shoot for at least 25% cost savings AND similar productivity gains. Don’t be surprised if you end up seeing even more.

3. Focus on the User Experience. Especially, on Mobile.

“How come my $5 smartphone app is easier to use than your $5,000,000 system?” – Every Millennial
Usability should be your #1 concern. For many people, especially millennials, their smartphone is the hub of their lives. You cannot drop them into jarring, old-style experiences and expect adoption. Your shiny new application needs to look fantastic and work fast. Modern, workflow automation platforms make it easy.

4. Involve your people from A-Z

“We humans have a love-hate relationship with our technology. We love each new advance and we hate how fast our world is changing.” – Daniel H. Wilson
Get your people involved early. They’ll be more invested in the solution if they’ve had a chance to impact it. They might also be concerned: is this automation going to eat my job? For the vast majority, the answer is no. It’ll help them do their job better and make them more valuable. For example, should teachers be spending time recording absences, getting travel or leave approved, filing reimbursements? Or teaching?

5. Analyze everything

“Data is the new oil.” – CEOs everywhere.
Your proprietary data is your most valuable asset. If your daily workflows are manual, you don’t even have access to your most valuable asset. With automation, you can collect data, analyze and refine it into useful, actionable information so you can do things like over-deliver on customer service, and rollout new business initiatives in response to changing business conditions.

Still need convincing?

Neither AirBnB nor Uber existed 10 short years ago. The world is changing and changing unbelievably fast. Will your company’s products and services in 2020 only be marginally better than they are today running on manual processes with workarounds and redundant work? Or will they be smart, personalized, automated and offered at price points unimaginable today?

Get started now and you too can reap massive benefits from automation. Download this white paper to learn more.

A version of this article also appeared in Forbes.
Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Will my company be “Uberized”?

k-12-t.png… or Amazoned or AirBnB’d? Think about it. When was the last time you went into a travel agency to book your flight? Printed out directions for your road trip? Walked into the bank to write a check for cash? We can’t remember either.

Automation isn’t coming; it’s here!

Just look around you. See those core business processes. One way or another, they’ll be automated. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and it’ll change your organization.

Automating these core processes isn’t just about driving 5% cost reductions but 50% (or more) in parts of your operations. It’s about changing and enhancing what your people do, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.

You have to start TODAY!

Manual knowledge processes do not stand a chance. In a world of “Amazon cost” and “Google speed”, you have to automate. But how? I.T. is overloaded. Where do you start? 

Download this white paper which discusses workflow automation, how your organization can benefit, and how you can evaluate and deploy a visual, low-code platform like frevvo for your automation needs.

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Visit our website to learn more and sign up for a free trial.