Get people to actually use your shiny new workflows

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Hint: It’s all about Usability!

You’ve invested in workflow automation. Looks great but sometimes getting people to actually use it can itself be a Sisyphean task. People resist change and will quickly fall back to bad habits like emailing PDFs and Excel spreadsheets around to manage key information.

So, how do you onboard your users?

1. Involve them from the beginning

This is a pretty obvious one. The earlier you get stakeholders into the process the more likely they are to adopt it. People are naturally more invested in a solution that they’ve had a chance to impact. Soliciting feedback and actually implementing suggestions are critical elements.

When we work with customers on a new project, we go to great lengths to set this up. We spend time upfront to make sure we’re building something users want and make sure there are at least a couple of UAT-Change Request Implementation cycles. That way, the people who have to actually use the new system can affect it.

2. Usability, Usability, Usability!

if_seo_web-34_1046124.pngI can’t stress this enough. It does not matter how robust and awesome your system is. If it’s hard to use, it will not be adopted. If it looks good and is easy to use, people will forgive other shortcomings.

Usability (for end users) should probably be your #1 criterion in selecting a workflow automation system. Some tips:

  • Great Looks: Employees are also consumers. They use slick apps everyday and get used to a fantastic UX. If work apps have old-fashioned, clunky UIs they’ll never catch on.
  • Sensible Terminology: Make sure your buttons, labels, messages are familiar and helpful. For example, if the workflow will route to the CFO for secondary approval the button should say “Route to CFO” rather than the generic “Continue”.
  • Help Text: Some fields require further explanation. The Label is not always enough. Take the time to add help and it can make a huge difference. Tooltips and placeholders are other options.
  • Mobile friendly: It has to work naturally on all devices. Buttons might need to be slightly larger on mobile so they’re easier to click using your finger. Forms may need to be broken up into multiple pages to avoid overwhelming smaller screens.
  • Speed: Don’t underestimate the value of performance. People love systems where they don’t have to wait around.
  • Consistency: A big part of great UX is consistency. Buttons should be in the same place, labels should follow consistent conventions, the look & feel should not vary dramatically from one process to the next.

3. Training / Feedback

1492276951_seo_web_3-01.pngEnd user training should be part of every rollout. But, it’s just the first step. Once people have used the new system for a period of time, they’ll have feedback for you. It’s worth going back and actually talking to stakeholders – is this helping you? Are you doing less manual work? Do you genuinely have more time for things that matter? What can we improve?

4. Iterative improvement

Once people tell you what you can improve, it’s important to go back and actually address issues as quickly as possible. Nothing’s more frustrating than getting it 90% right only to see users abandon your system because you overlooked a couple of things.

5. Communicate success

Share meaningful success stories with everyone involved in the system. Recognizing people’s efforts (company meeting, spot awards) in bringing change to the organization will always be appreciated as long as you don’t overdo it and the recognition is for real measurable gains.

Ultimately, though, we’d advise you to focus hardest on Usability. If they find it hard to use the new workflows, the rest doesn’t matter.

 

Workflow Automation Any_____

I spend a lot of time with our customers. Most of them easily grasp the benefits of process automation. But many of them still have questions that generally fall into the “Will it work with my _____”?

Automating manual processes helps reduce paperwork and increase efficiency for a 50 or 5000-person company, for those who prefer Cloud or On-Premise, independent of where the organization operates, and the systems you have. Let’s look at how:

Workflow AnyTime

time-sheet.pngYour customers, partners and users want to interact with your organization on their own timelines. Often, they’re distributed all over the world.

If you can only process Sales Orders, Purchase Requisitions and routine approvals during business hours in your timezone, you’re probably losing business and wasting people’s time.

Automated workflows with frevvo are instantly available 24×7 – there’s no need to wait till you’re in the office at your desk, approvals can be processed from any time zone worldwide and your business can flow faster.

Workflow AnyWhere

travel-auth.pngToday’s organizations are distributed worldwide. Your workflows need to be the same. Imagine a student trying to get approval from his/her Faculty Advisor for a time-critical paper or conference travel request. The Professor might be attending a conference, or giving a lecture at the Shanghai campus.

With frevvo the Professor can simply approve the request and sign it wherever in the world he/she is. The student doesn’t have to waste time chasing down the signature.

And, you won’t even have to worry about absent-minded Professors – frevvo’s software can automatically remind them if they don’t get around to signing in a timely manner

Workflow on Any Device

mobile-workflow-128.pngMobile is everywhere. I’m sure there’s no need to expand upon that. Students, workers, patients, customers all work with your organization on a bewildering array of mobile devices.

Your forms and workflows simply must work on mobile. They must be responsive, they must look and feel natural and they must be fast enough for slower mobile networks. It’s not trivial to do and the shortage of mobile developers exacerbates the problem.

Luckily, there’s frevvo. Simply design your forms and workflows once using your desktop browser and let frevvo worry about the details. They’ll just work automatically on all devices from tiny smartphone screens to large, hi-res tablets. Of course, you can customize as desired and it isn’t even that hard to do.

Workflow on Any Platform

cloud-128.pngDoes your business like the Cloud or do you prefer On-Premise systems where you can control security, access to data etc.?

Do you prefer Linux, Windows or some other flavor of server? Authenticate using Active Directory, Google, or some other LDAP server? Do users prefer Chrome or Firefox or Internet Explorer? What about customers?

With frevvo you don’t have to sweat these details. If you prefer Cloud, we have you covered. frevvo Cloud runs on AWS with all the latest security patches and updates and backups and policies. It’s reliable and trustworthy and works for many customers.

Not for you? We also offer the same software On-Premise. Install it behind your firewall on the server platform of your choice. Authenticate and authorize using your preferred system. Use your preferred browser. You simply don’t need to think about these issues anymore.

Workflow for Any One

customer-focus-128.pngWho needs to use your forms and workflows? Employees? Clients? Partners? Patients? Students? The answer is everyone.

Of course, the way they use the systems, the items they have access to, the responsibilities they each have are all different and your process automation system needs to support these different modes.

Again, frevvo’s got you covered. You can route your forms and workflows to specific users, groups of users (roles) or anonymously outside your organization. These can all be determined dynamically at runtime (a common business requirement). You can control who can edit forms and flows, who can view or edit submissions, who can administer flows and a host of other items within frevvo. It’s really workflow for everyone.

Workflow with Any Data

servers-128.pngWhich systems store your business data? If you’re like most of our customers it’s often easier to ask “What don’t we have?” Data is stored in a massive variety of systems: multiple SQL databases, HR systems, Accounting systems, online Google spreadsheets, SharePoint, Google Drive, box.com, any number of document management systems and on and on and on.

Your forms and workflows are simply going to be more useful if they can interact with your data wherever it is. They’ll need to read data from these systems and probably create/update data and documents in those systems as well.

Guess what? frevvo’s pretty good at that too. Our connectors provide seamless access to business systems, databases, applications, and cloud services you use every day. In many cases, it’s through point and click wizards that are easy to use and eliminate mistakes. It’s easy to connect your workflows to the world and make life even easier for your users.

Workflow in Any Language

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What language do your users speak? Today, even small organizations are distributed all over the world. Certainly, your constituents (customers for a business, the local community for a K-12 school, parents & students worldwide for the typical University) increasingly come from diverse backgrounds and speak multiple languages.

For example, everyone’s probably familiar with school permission forms. In many U.S. communities, these forms need to be available in English and Spanish. In larger ones, there could be many more languages in the mix. For example, Los Angeles provides its material in 8 languages.

Luckily, frevvo takes care of that for you. Our forms and workflows can be easily configured for any language worldwide. Even Right-to-Left languages like Hebrew or Arabic. Those pesky Permission or Emergency Contact forms: parents can fill them out in any language and frevvo can still generate a PDF for you or save the data for you in English (or the language of your choice).

So, you see, it doesn’t matter if you’re just a few dozen people or 10,000. It doesn’t matter where you work, when you work, what language you speak or systems you use. You too can automate your workflows and reap the benefits. It’s truly workflow any_____.

frevvo is point-and-click workflow software that connects your people, data and systems. We have already helped over 750 customers transform inefficient processes into fully automated workflows. Check out our complete platform or contact us for more information.

 

 

 

Announcing frevvo 7.2

form-workflowToday we’re happy to announce the general release of frevvo 7.2. Cloud customers were automatically upgraded on April 29. On-Premise availability is coming up shortly – subscribe to Release Announcements for the precise date. This release also includes upgrades to the Database Connector.

We know that frevvo is powerful software but there’s also a learning curve. frevvo 7.2 is the first in a series of updates this year focused on making it easier to use.

Visual Rule Builder

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One of the main areas customers tell us about is Rules. They’re really really powerful and many customers love the flexibility of being able to write JavaScript code and create very complex, dynamic behavior. But, they can be hard to use. Enter the Visual Rule Builder. Using it, you can create many rules visually rather than writing JavaScript. Read more in this blog article and find detailed documentation here. We’re excited about this new capability and expect improvements over multiple releases to make it easier and increasingly capable of replacing JavaScript-based rules.

This release also includes some security enhancements – e.g. user ids no longer appear in URLs and are replaced by opaque UUIDs – and other under-the-hood improvements needed for future ease-of-use improvements.

Database Connector

The DB Connector is one of the most widely used connectors – customers have created all kinds of integrations with their SQL databases. Most of the improvements made in this release are fairly technical and we won’t go into details here. See the Release Notes for reasons to upgrade. We’ve also made several under-the-hood improvements so we can make this oft-used connector easier to use and as point-and-click as possible. We’ll detail those in future blog posts.

We’re excited about this release and several upcoming ones. The focus is squarely on updating and making so many of the good things we do easier to use.

 

[Infographic] The path to successful mobile apps

path-to-mobile-appsIn today’s business world, mobility has become synonymous with productivity in the workplace. The use of mobile technology has become a core aspect of everyday life, both at home and in the workplace.

70+% of the U.S. workforce will soon consist of mobile workers and mobile access has redefined how your employees work. They expect instant access to connected applications and information and this access has redefined how your employees work. They expect on-the-go access to their day-to-day business applications. The apps must fully work on all mobile devices and they also need to look good and be user-friendly. Otherwise, 60% of your employees will abandon your mobile app and revert to e-mailing PDFs around.

How will you deliver? Mobile apps that work on multiple platforms take forever, are absurdly expensive and require skills that are extremely difficult to find. If you don’t get it right, employees won’t use them.

That’s where a low-code platform like frevvo comes in. Check out this new infographic on how a platform like frevvo can help you overcome the barriers and get on a path to successful mobile apps.

Right now, our customers are creating customized apps for routine day-to-day approvals in days and weeks using existing [citizen] developers.

They don’t need HTML5 or CSS3 or Android app development skills and it doesn’t take 6 months and $100K to roll out a first beta version of the mobile app only to find out that employees hate the user experience and won’t even use it.

With frevvo, you too can easily start with a pre-built template and modify it to meet your business requirements. It’s easy and hundreds of customers are already doing it. We can help.

Learn more by visiting our website where you’ll find several customer success stories. Explore some of the examples and contact us for more information.

Automate your PO. Save $50,000 !!

roiWe’ve seen that many customers use frevvo to automate Purchase Orders. It’s the most frequent one. One of our partners asked me if I could quantify what’s it really worth. So, I tried to measure it for a 3-step approval workflow and the result was surprising at least to me. Here are the assumptions:

  1. An Employee costing $80,000/year (including benefits/taxes/vacation etc.) saves 10 min using an e-form.
  2. A Manager costing $100,000/year saves 3 min for each approval.
  3. An Accounting Manager costing $60,000/year saves 3 min for each invoice.
  4. There are 400 approvals/month (for all kinds of workflows PO, Leave Approval, Travel Authorization, Time Sheet etc.).

You’ll save ~$50K every single year or 57% of your costs. It’s amazing how much the paper/email process actually costs you – close to $85K per year. You’ll see positive ROI in just a bit over 2 months. 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.

Try this ROI Calculator for your own organization. It’s often hard to see how much those paper/email workflows are really costing you. Visit our website to view customer success stories and signup for a free trial.

Aero Communications replaces paper, Excel and InfoPath with automated workflows integrated with SQL

Aero Communications inc. provides customer-focused technology solutions to broadband and wireless providers, businesses, public venues, government facilities, and residential subscribers.aero-communications

The company was using a number of paper, Excel & InfoPath forms for everyday business processes such as Vehicle Inspections, Facilities Maintenance, Financial Forms and Warehouse Orders. Many of them require approvals forcing employees to email them around and print/sign/scan for approval. In addition, the existing forms could not pull data from SQL databases resulting in excessive and duplicate data entry, errors, corrections and inefficiencies.

“We were looking for a single, affordable solution that could address all our requirements.

frevvo’s modern, online system is easy-to-use, and meets our needs at a reasonable cost. Live Forms is the best web-based forms & workflow solution on the market today for our needs.”

–Adam Wiener, Applications Specialist

Aero Communications considered a dozen+ solutions before selecting frevvo Live Forms because it provided an easy-to-use solution that works with their database, and integrates with Active Directory at an affordable cost.

They have already replaced multiple forms and workflows with fully automated online versions. Read the Case Study and learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.

[eBook & Video] frevvo +SQL: dynamic forms & workflows

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Dynamic database forms and workflows with frevvo + SQL (3m video)

Day-to-day business activities are simply more useful if they can access information from SQL databases on-demand. If Customer Service has visibility into order history from the database, they can better help the customer. HR applications can access employee data and so on.

Download frevvo + SQL eBook or Watch 3m video

frevvo provides a Database Connector that allows you to perform sophisticated integration with your database. From dynamic dependent pick lists to master-detail views to creating and updating records in SQL and running stored procedures, you do it all with frevvo.

Learn more by downloading our new eBook or by watching the video at the links above and visit our website to view customer success stories and signup for a free trial.