How Process Automation could save you $50,000 every year

roi.pngAre you wondering if you should automate your routine day-to-day approvals? You’d be amazed at the Return on Investment. Let’s do a quick analysis. Approval workflows are usually at least 3 steps long and, often quite a bit longer. For now, let’s consider a 3-step workflow:

  1. Performed by an Employee, for example, asking for a Travel Authorization or Purchase Requisition. Maybe a Salesperson is trying to get a PO from a Client and needs Manager approval for special pricing. Let’s say this employee costs $80,000/year including benefits, vacation, taxes and other costs. Typically this would translate 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 away (email folder, network drive, paper filing cabinet, document management system). Let’s assume this person costs $60,000/year inclusive of all costs. Maybe they work part-time.

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, Time Sheets, 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.

It’s amazing how much the 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.

Try it yourself by clicking the button below.

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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.

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.

 

 

 

The benefits of automation

In March 2017 APQC surveyed organizations with high transactional volumes to understand the impact of automating the sales order entry process on performance and practices. The resulting infographic (below) shows how organizations that have adopted sales order automation have improved customer satisfaction, data capture for analytics purposes, and operational efficiency.

We’ve seen this ourselves at frevvo as we’ve automated our own internal approvals. It’s far easier and more efficient than managing them through email.

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[Video] PO Automation – featuring John Wood, CIO, Central Wyoming College

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Central Wyoming College saw significant value in streamlining their PO process which involves calculations, lookups and dynamic routing fixing a particularly error-prone procedure as a result. Instead of a paper-based process that required manual follow-up, delays and hours of wasted time, they now have a digital process that works on all devices, is easy-to-use and saves hours of staff time allowing them to focus on students rather than paperwork.

 

Watch this video recording and hear from their CIO John Wood as he demos their solution and how the college is benefiting from an automated workflow. A recording of the full webinar including Q&A is also available.

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.

Central Wyoming College automates Purchase Order in less than 10 days of work

Central Wyoming College serves Fremont, Hot Springs and Teton Counties. CWC is committed to supporting students through their educational journey and helping them achieve success.

CWC-Campus

CWC wants to reduce their reliance on paper and sneaker-net processes. They saw significant value in streamlining their PO process which involves calculations, lookups and dynamic routing fixing a particularly error-procedure as a result.

“Our PO workflow was automated in record time. The forms look good and are
easy-to-use. frevvo’s system just works and meets our needs at reasonable cost.”

John Wood,
Chief Information Officer

CWC selected frevvo to automate their PO process because of its modern look & feel, speed of implementation, ease of use and dynamic routing.

As a result of the streamlined PO process, hours of staff time have been reduced and CWC staff can get back to focusing on students rather than administrative tasks.

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.

[Video] Install and Modify a PO Template

purchase-order-videoPurchase Order Approval is a very routine day-to-day workflows. Many customers choose Live Forms to digitize this workflows.

Starting with one of our pre-built templates, you can easily customize it to create your own fully electronic, mobile-capable and business-ready PO in very little time. You won’t need expensive and hard-to-find skills like iOS/Android app development or HTML5/CSS3 expertise to create a beautiful, electronic app that just works on all devices.

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

Watch this short (7 min) video to quickly see how. We’ll show how to:

  • Install a pre-built PO workflow template with a single click.
  • Modify it to meet business requirements (we’ll add a Finance step).
  • Run it in frevvo’s Cloud.

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.