Category: Workflows

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.

[White Paper] Easy, Visual Forms and Workflow

PeopleFirst

Every business has its own set of approval processes. The general concept is straightforward: deliver information from Point A to Point B with all the required checks, authorizations and reviews. At the same time, the world is now online, mobile and 24×7. Paper- and email-based processes are ill-adapted to function in this environment. Workflow Automation helps you transition these key processes online so they work on mobile, are available 24×7 and operate efficiently.

The problem is that there are dozens of processes from Finance to HR to Sales & Marketing to Operations, and I.T. organizations simply cannot cope. Using traditional approaches to software development, automating these workflows would take years and cost an astronomical sum of money. These methods cannot keep up with the speed and agility demands of the modern enterprise.

That’s where a platform like frevvo can make a huge difference. The 100% visual, low-code solution delivers extraordinary capabilities:

  • Visual form & workflow design
  • Point-and-click integration using wizards
  • Visual business rules
  • Built-in Mobility
  • A fast, beautiful user experience
  • Top-notch customer support, security
  • and more …

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.

Download-White-Paper

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

[Case Study] Automated workflows have let Bushcare Services change the way they run their business

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Bushcare Services provides design and field program solutions for forested areas in South East Queensland, Australia. They work with local stakeholders to develop healthy and sustainable natural areas by managing projects including native tree planting, bushland regeneration, erosion control, fire management and manages parks infra-structure.

Bushcare work projects are a collaboration of many remote supervisors, production
managers and office staff. It’s easy to see how it quickly became very difficult to manage all the moving parts of the daily work order using the existing paper forms.

“One of the great things about frevvo is that very often we will have an idea for a change in the workflow and after discussing it with their Client Services team, we are able to quickly implement it. Thanks to frevvo, we have changed the way we are running our business.”
– Phil Hoskings, Director

They now uses a frevvo paperless portal which includes a 3 step workflow – Maintenance Daily Record – developed over multiple sessions with frevvo’s Customer Success team. The frevvo workflow integrates with Google Sheets, dynamically pulls down client and other information and speeds up the process dramatically. As a result, staff have more time to spend on what’s important – developing sustainable and healthy natural areas.

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Read the Case Study and learn more by visiting our website.

8 reasons to avoid email for managing your business process

emails.pngOctober 24, 2017 @ 1533 UTC. At this instant in time, my inbox has 9401 emails. I’ve tried everything to efficiently find and manage emails in my inbox – Starring emails, labeling them as TODOS, leaving important emails unread, tried Boomerang to make emails come back to the top at a later time, the works!! Here’s the reality:

Email is simply not an efficient workflow tool or document management system or really any sort of systematic task management system.

And yet, so many everyday processes are still managed by email. Customers routinely appreciate the advantages of managing their day-to-day activities like Purchase Orders, Employee On-Boarding and Travel Authorization with a workflow management system like frevvo instead of email. Some of the things we hear:

1. Improved Visibility

Probably the most common issue. I need my authorization; where is it currently stuck? Did my manager approve it? Is it now waiting for the VP or the CFO? Time spent chasing down signatures is 100% wasted. It’s incredibly inefficient and frustrating. What’s worse, your business is slowed down because an employee cannot purchase the much-needed item since it’s pending approval.

2. Pre-fill data to avoid repetitive work

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The second most common thing we hear. Many times e.g. Employee On-Boarding the process involves multiple forms. But, there’s common data across these forms. It’s incredibly tedious to fill the same thing in over and over. Electronic forms remove this unnecessary work – common fields will be copied automatically. In addition, integration with SQL databases and other back end business systems implies that forms and workflows can be pre-populated with business data so users don’t have to type it in.

3. Who’s next? Accurate Routing

Business processes within organizations are complicated. I can’t tell you how many Excel spreadsheets I’ve seen with lengthy instructions on how to route for approval. If the Department is Sales and the Amount is over $5,000, you must get approval from your

Manager and VP unless it’s coming from Canada in which case you need to also get Regulatory approval and on and on … This stuff doesn’t belong in a spreadsheet; with an automated workflow, you can properly encode it and use business rules to ensure that the approval is automatically routed to the right person at the right time.

4. Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device

I need my Travel authorized but my manager is traveling on business. We’ve experienced this ourselves when a customer decides to go ahead and buy a frevvo license but has to wait 2 weeks until their manager returns from a trip. In today’s world, it’s inexcusable. Electronic notifications can be delivered instantly and managers should be able to pull up an approval, review it and sign using their smartphone at anytime from anywhere in the world. There’s no reason to slow your business down.

5. Timely Reminders

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Sometimes, people simply don’t take action in a timely manner. They’re busy or distracted with other priorities or simply forget. Employees must then send a follow-up email as a reminder and chase down the signature. An electronic workflow can be configured to automatically send reminder notifications as required without wasted manual work.

6. Handle Vacations & Escalations

Of course, we don’t expect people to be at their smartphone 24×7, especially when they’re on vacation. That’s what escalations are for. If the manager doesn’t approve within 48hours due to vacation, maybe the VP can step in. But, employees don’t know that and don’t necessarily take the right action. They might decide to just wait for their manager to return. Electronic workflows can delegate to others for vacation or escalate automatically to a peer or supervisor when a time limit expires.

7. Eliminate Errors

Customers frequently talk about how people do the wrong thing and fail to follow the desired process. The routing might be wrong, there’s missing data, there could be calculation errors or the email gets put into the wrong folder. With electronic forms and workflows, that’s a thing of the past. The routing is automatic, data validation and completeness can be enforced and there’s no question of losing emails since you can find pending items on your built-in task list.

8. Go Green: don’t Print, Sign & Scan

go-greenEmail-based processes typically mean a PDF or Excel sent around. In most cases, an actual signature is required so customers find themselves printing the document(s), signing them by hand and scanning the signed document so that they can attach it to an email. It’s tedious and antiquated. After all, we don’t print boarding passes or driving directions anymore. With electronic signatures, a manager can simply bring up documents on their computer or mobile device and sign using the mouse or a touchscreen device. It’s fast, instantaneous and there’s nothing to print.

frevvo provides point-and-click software to easily design any form and automate any workflow in a matter of days & weeks. It includes an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop form designer, connectors, workflows, visual business rules, built-in mobile, PDF generation, electronic signatures and a host of capabilities for real-world business problems.

And now, better get back to my inbox – it’s already up to 9427 emails.

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.