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Workflow automation is the foundation of digital transformation. But, automating everyday processes isn’t always easy. Dynamic forms, complex routing, e-signatures, mobility and more … it’s a lot to handle and that’s if you can find the necessary programming talent. What if your existing people could do it all using simple visual tools? Watch this brief video to see how easy it is with frevvo’s 100% visual, low-code platform.
To learn more, visit our website, try frevvo absolutely free for 30 days or contact us for more information.
In previous articles, we’ve written about how workflow automation is the foundation of digital transformation. Ultimately, it’s not technology but the people and processes in your organization that can truly drive transformation of any kind.
Digitizing day-to-day workflows can be a lot of work
Consider what it takes to digitize your routine day-to-day workflows (Purchase Order or Travel Authorization).
- All involve forms (spreadsheets, paper, PDF …) that must be created. Business forms aren’t trivial – they usually involve dynamic behavior, lookups, and business rules. They’re typically long with many fields.
- Business workflows often have lots of conditional and dynamic routing e.g. if Amount > $5,000 you have to get additional approval or if Employee is in NY route to this manager but in CA to this other manager and so on.
- They routinely have to work with business systems like SQL databases, HR systems etc. to pull data as well as update records.
- Your users all have the latest smartphone and expect slick, responsive user interfaces. Your digitized workflow had better not look anything like the UI from just a few years back.
- You must provide 24×7 access from anywhere and using any device. Nowadays, everyone uses their mobile device and there are a zillion varieties.
- There’s more – e-signatures, security, document generation …
It’s a lot to handle. Of course, that’s if you can find the necessary programming talent, have a large enough budget and enough time. No wonder so many organizations are still using email-based and in some cases even paper-based workflows.
Visual, low-code platforms really work
Modern, low-code platforms like frevvo really do make it much easier to automate by addressing some huge challenges. Consider these advantages:
- It’s trivial to create forms – simply drag & drop fields and arrange them as desired. Anyone can do it.
- Dynamic behavior? Business rules? No problem – frevvo has 100% visual wizards for a vast array of dynamic operations such as show/hide parts of the form, perform calculations, autofill dates or personal information. Again, anyone can use these visual wizards to create dynamic behavior.
- Got routing? It’s easy with frevvo – drag & drop to create your workflow and setup routing and a host of other workflow-related properties visually. Conditional routing is also easy to setup visually. Anyone can do it.
- frevvo just works on mobile devices – you don’t have to lift a finger. The forms, workflows, task list are all responsive and automatically adjust to the screen size of your device. 24×7 access, anywhere on any device? It’s a piece of cake and anyone can do it.
- E-signatures, document (PDF) generation, SQL integration, secure authentication and authorization, encryption – all built in.
Lots of customers are already benefiting. They’re automating workflows in record time and empowering citizen developers (existing employees) rather than recruiting expensive, hard-to-find professional coders. Why not give it a whirl? Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself. It takes 30 seconds, and you can install a template and try it out instantly.
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.
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?
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
Technology 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
Over-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.
3. Enable Mobility
75% 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.
4. Business Agility
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
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.