Posted in HowTo

How To: Dynamic email addresses

A question we get asked frequently is how to send an email from a form or flow submission where the email address of the recipient is dynamically determined at runtime. For example, I have a drop down control and if the user selects HR, I want the email to go to the HR Department (hr@example.org) and if the user selects Finance, I want to send it to Finance (finance@example.org).

It’s very easy in frevvo.

1. Create a hidden Email control in your form.

AdminEmail

Drag & drop an Email control in your form. In the Properties panel, uncheck Visible so the control is hidden from the end user. Name the control Admin Email. We assume that you already have a drop down control (in the screenshot, it’s called Department and the choices are HR and Finance).

When the user selects HR from the Department drop down, we’ll set the Admin Email hidden control’s value using a business rule.

2. Set the Admin Email address using a business rule

Create a simple business rule.

if (Department.value == ‘HR’) {
AdminEmail.value = “hr@example.org”;
} else if (Department.value == ‘Finance’) {
AdminEmail.value = “finance@example.org”;
} else {
AdminEmail.value = null;
}

In frevvo’s Winter release (expected in late 2017), you’ll be able to create these type of rules visually with the Visual Rule Builder.

3. Use the Admin Email control in the To: email

AdminEmailWizard
Email Wizard that uses a control template

In any Email wizard, you can use the Admin Email hidden control for the To:, Reply to:, Cc: and other fields. In the above example, we’ve used it for the To: field.

That’s it. When the User selects HR, the rule will set the Admin Email control to hr@example.org. When the form is submitted, the Admin Email template in the To: field will be evaluated and will resolve to the value of the corresponding control (hr@example.org). The email will be sent to the dynamically resolved email address.

Posted in Mobile

Citizen developers and the I.T. skills gap

In previous articles, we’ve talked about the contributions being made by citizen developers in may organizations. They’re using low-code platforms like frevvo to create mobile web apps in record time for day-to-day business problems.

Last week, I came across this nice new infographic from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. As they say, “the skills gap is the difference between the technology available and the workforce’s ability to use it.”

Highlights of the infographic are:

Almost 40% of companies have a moderate to major skills gap. The resulting digital inefficiency can be deadly – costing you as much as 20% in lost productivity. Simple things like automating routine, everyday processes like Purchase Orders and Leave Approvals can go a long way.

digital-inefficiency
Automation can make a huge difference.

We think citizen developers can make a huge difference, especially when they’re given access to and training on low-code platforms like frevvo. We see it in our customers all the time – citizen developers at many frevvo customers have helped to create incredibly effective, high-quality apps quickly and at reasonable cost.

In fact, Central Wyoming College recently created a fully digital Purchase Order approval that looks great, works on mobile devices and meets business requirements in less than 10 days of work. It’s hard to imagine anyone coding an app that quickly.

meet-citizen-developer

Check out the infographic on UAB’s website.

Among pacesetters, who believe technology is essential to development and blaze the way forward, almost 80% use citizen developers.

You have little choice. You simply cannot afford to take months to create a web portal or mobile app. Mobile developers are extremely expensive if you can find them. There’s huge benefit and tremendous ROI to be gained from using a low-code approach for an increasing array of projects.

With every release of frevvo, there’s a little less code to write – whether through new and upgraded wizards or the Visual Rule Builder or a new connector.

Hundreds of customers are already benefiting. 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.

Posted in Mobile

70+% of U.S. workforce will be mobile

PeopleFirstI came across this article about an IDC forecast on the U.S. mobile workforce. It links to an older version of the article but a newer one is here (payment required). IDC suggests that by 2020, the number of U.S. mobile workers will grow to 105.4 million and will make up an astounding 72.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

“Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work” – Bryan Bassett, Research Analyst, Mobile Enterprise: Device Solutions at IDC

Your employees expect to work on-the-go using their mobile devices – everything from responding to customers to routine day-to-day collaboration with colleagues. Yet, it’s practically impossible to find skilled native app developers and building mobile apps is absurdly expensive.

What’s a CIO to do? Turn to a platform like frevvo. Apps built using frevvo are wow-code, citizen-developer friendly, fast, effective and incredibly affordable. And, they just work automatically on all devices: desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

At frevvo, we just digitized a completely customized Purchase Order approval workflow for a University customer in 45 man-hours.

You too can effectively support those 3 in 4 workers who are rapidly transitioning to working on their mobile devices. They can fill out forms, sign documents, approve expenses, attach receipts and everything else in their daily work routine anytime, anywhere and from any device.

Check out our website for some examples and this short (4.5m) video on creating beautiful, responsive mobile web forms with frevvo.

Posted in Confluence Workflows, HR Process Automation

[Video] Employee On-Boarding Demo

k-12-automation
Employee On-Boarding with frevvo Live Forms (3m video)

Employee On-Boarding is one of the most common day-to-day workflows. Many customers choose Live Forms for this and other HR workflows. With Live Forms, automating this workflow is easy and provides several benefits:

  • New employees only need to provide information once.
  • Errors and omissions are eliminated.
  • Required PDF documents like Federal and State W-4s are automatically generated.

Watch this short (3 min) video to quickly see how digitizing this routine workflow with frevvo can help save you time & money.

Posted in Approval Process, HowTo, Workflows

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.
Posted in Approval Process, Confluence Workflows, Financial Process Automation, Workflows

[Video] Expense Report Workflow Template

Many of our customers choose frevvo to automate their finance/accounting and human resources (HR) workflows. Getting an expense report approved and paid is a common use case.

Expense-Report-Video
7.5 min video. Create your own fully-functional expense report workflow..

We’ve created this short (7.5m) video to help you install, configure and try out this template. We know that it’s one of our most frequently downloaded workflow templates.

Click on the image to view the video and see how you can start with a pre-built template and have a fully-functional expense report workflow in less than 10 minutes. You can also view the documentation for this template.

Posted in Approval Process, Confluence Workflows, HR Process Automation, Workflows

[Video] Employee On-Boarding Workflow Template

Many of our customers choose frevvo to automate their human resources (HR) workflows. Getting a new employee on-boarded is a common use case.Employee-On-Boarding-Video

We’ve created this short (8m) video to help you install, configure and try out this template. We know that it’s one of our most frequently downloaded workflow templates.

Click on the image to view the video and see how you can start automating your own Employee On-Boarding workflow in less than 10 minutes. You can also view the documentation for this template.

Posted in Approval Process, Confluence Workflows, Financial Process Automation, Workflows

[Video] Purchase Order Workflow Template

Many of our customers choose frevvo to automate their accounting/finance workflows. Getting a PO internally approved and then signed by the Client is a common use case. PO-Video

We’ve created this short (7m) video to help you install, configure and try out this template. We know that it’s one of our most frequently downloaded workflow templates.

Click on the image to view the video and see how you can start automating your own Purchase Order workflow in less than 10 minutes. You can also view the documentation for this template.

Posted in Forms, Higher Ed

[Infographic] The 8 Wastes in Higher Education

The-8-Wastes-in-Higher-Education-Infographic-1000x2989Came across this great infographic over at eLearning Infographics and it really resonated. I’ve worked recently with a Higher Ed institution (La Cité College – see this blog article and case study) and this stuff came up all the time.

Business improvement is not restricted to huge companies like Toyota, GE and Exxon nor to any specific industry or vertical. Every industry has been using process improvement to try and transform services they offer to their customers.

For Colleges & Universities, that’s students, faculty and staff. As La Cité put it:

The future success of post-secondary institutions lies in our ability to deliver excellent services to our students.

Students, faculty and staff are incredibly busy and don’t want to waste time waiting for decisions/approvals, re-working to fix errors, manually handing off tasks so that the appropriate people have access to them.

It’s 2016! Digitize those approvals on mobile devices and instantly improve services to everyone.

View eLearning Infographic is here.

Posted in Cloud

15 Cloud Services we LOVE for our own business

cloud4At frevvo, we LOVE Cloud. Sure, we sell more and more cloud-based solutions to our customers many of whom are themselves small businesses. But so are we! And, we use many cloud services to lower costs and accelerate our own business. We love not having to worry about infrastructure, mobile access, automatic upgrades etc. Here are some cloud services we use today:

  1. frevvo Live Forms: A no-brainer for us. We absolutely eat our own dog food. Our everyday approvals are automated using our own product – everything from Expense Reports to Leave Approvals to Sales Orders to Training Registrations to you name it. We see firsthand how much more efficient we are as a result and we’re even more excited to bring that efficiency to customers.
  2. Email & Calendar: This is a no-brainer and no SMB has any business operating their own email. We use GMail and Google Calendar on our own domain. It’s easy and low cost, well supported and reliable. It’s super easy to quickly find relevant emails. We also like several of the plugins that you can add into GMail.
  3. Infrastructure: As a Cloud provider, this is obviously a key service for us. We use Amazon Web Services (AWS). EC2 for compute, S3 for storage and RDS for the database. AWS is amazing. Costs keep going down, it’s incredibly reliable and they keep adding useful new stuff.
  4. Sales CRM: We use SFDC (salesforce.com). SFDC has its problems for sure and it’s not cheap (costs can rise quickly). But, this is such a key function that it’s not where you want to compromise. We also like the App Exchange and the fact that so many other cloud services integrate with SFDC.
  5. Marketing: We use Marketo. We’re relatively new to it so not a whole lot of experience. We’ve found that it integrates really well with SFDC which was a huge plus. As we automate more things, we’re expecting it to save us time and become more efficient. Not sure about their GMail plugin yet.
  6. Billing: Freshbooks is working brilliantly for us. We don’t have to worry about credit cards and PCI compliance, it’s drop dead simple to use, works overseas (we have customers all over the world) and it’s very affordable. We’ve also integrated frevvo forms/workflows using their API so billing is automated as much as possible.
  7. Customer Support: We’re deciding between Zendesk and desk.com. Both cloud services. Again, integration with SFDC is critical for us. Of course, a nice interface that’s usable by customers is also a key consideration. We’ll see where we end up but a cloud-based service here is inevitable.
  8. Accounting: Quickbooks is a no-brainer. I think it costs us around $50 or $75 per month for a full-fledged accounting system that meets our needs. We also like the fact that it can be integrated with SFDC though we haven’t reached that point yet.
  9. Web Analytics: Google Analytics is free, extremely detailed and well supported. It’s an amazing product and impossible to beat the cost. Encrypting the search keyword sucks but that’s been discussed at length elsewhere.
  10. Online Documents: We need to share documents too and we’ve been very happy with Google Drive for that – it’s by far the cheapest choice and very convenient for sharing internal documents for quick and easy collaboration. Much nicer than emailing Excel/Word around.
  11. Office 365: It’s just a reality of the world we live in. You have to deal with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. And, in some ways, they are better than the alternatives e.g. Track Changes. Office 365 is also amazingly affordable. We can’t complain.
  12. Online Meetings / Webinars: We extensively use GoToMeeting for online meetings and GoToWebinar for webinars. Easy to use, inexpensive and [usually] quite reliable. Even though we’re small we’re distributed across multiple locations on 3 continents so sharing screens, built-in audio and video conferencing are essential. GTM works well. Of course, we also use Skype, IM (GTalk, MSN …) and the host of other chat tools out there.
  13. Email Marketing: We still use Constant Contact though, with Marketo being implemented, it may become redundant. Still, over the years, we’ve been a happy customer. It’s incredibly affordable and has been reliable for us.
  14. Phone System: Skype’s very popular, of course and they offer inexpensive Internet calling. But, it’s simply not good enough to be considered “a landline”. We currently use VOIP services from 8×8 for our phone and voicemail. It’s not dirt cheap but it’s not much money either and it’s been 100% reliable for us.
  15. Video: We’ve used Powtoon to create a few videos. It’s not clear how long we’ll continue. Yes, it’s inexpensive but it’s still a pain to create these videos and it’s very very limited in what you can do. Professionally made videos cost 10-20X as much each but may still be worth the money.

I’m guessing we might even use a few more but these 15 services have been really helpful over the years. I’m sure your business benefits from many cloud services too.

This article is an update to the original published about 2 years ago.