Posted in Workflows

Introducing V8.0: Part 3. Simplified Anonymous Steps

In Part 2 of this series, we described the redesigned Flow Step Properties panel which makes it much easier easier to configure individual flow steps. Another oft-requested improvement is to anonymous steps.

What are Anonymous Steps?

Anonymous steps in a workflow are routed to an email address and do not require the recipient to authenticate before performing the step. They’re super common – for example, a purchase order may be started internally by a sales person, get approved by his/her manager and then get routed to the customer for signature. You probably want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to sign the PO and not require an account, remember passwords etc.

Prior to V8, you had to drag in a separate Email (Anonymous) Step and configure it separately in your workflow. It would send an email and advance the workflow to the following step which was the actual form that the recipient would see. Customers found it confusing and we ran into many situations where workflows were incorrectly designed as a result.

More Intuitive Anonymous Steps

V8 simplifies this significantly by simply removing the additional step in the flow. Now, you simply drop in the form you want the recipient to see or link to an existing one and configure its properties. Click on the cog icon to bring up the Flow Step Properties dialog and navigate to the Assignment tab.

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On this tab, you can now assign the task to a user, role or email address in one place. At runtime, assignment is made in that priority order. If you want to route to an email address, simply type it in and leave the other two fields blank – the step will be routed via email and can be performed anonymously. There’s also no longer a requirement to make the entire workflow public.

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You can also use control templates in the email field so that it’s dynamic. Start typing and a pick list will appear with matching controls. At runtime, the value of the control is evaluated and if it’s a valid email address, the step will be routed via email and can be performed anonymously.

We’re looking forward to this release and hope you’ll like all the improvements. Stay tuned for future articles and upcoming webinars on V8.0 – it will be released to frevvo Cloud this Fall.

Posted in Workflows

Introducing v8.0: Part 2. Redesigned Flow Step Properties

In Part 1, we described improvements to the Flow Designer to make it easier to understand routing for a workflow.

Flow Steps have lots of settings

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V7 properties (partial)

Another area that we’ve improved significantly in V8 based on customer feedback is the property settings for a flow step. The V7 and earlier properties panel (figure at left) had simply become too large and complex as we’ve added more and more features to frevvo workflows and customers were finding it a bit confusing and hard to use.

We’ve reorganized the properties and moved them into a new modal dialog accessed by clicking the desired flow step and then clicking the properties edit icon (the cog icon). Properties have been reorganized and the names changed to be more intuitive in some cases, but the requirements are generally unchanged for all properties.

Flow Step Properties Wizard

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The properties are organized on tabs (screenshot above) and nothing is saved to the editing flow instance until the dialog is submitted. Many properties also have explanatory text so it’s easier to understand what each property means.

If you Submit your changes with any invalid property setting, the dialog will not close and an error message will display. The wizard will automatically take you to the first Tab with an error. Tabs with errors and invalid properties will also display in red so there’s an immediate visual indication.

The wizard also guides the designer to prevent errors. A great example is Step Assignment (screenshot below). It was always possible to assign steps to a user, a role or an email address (no login required). If it’s assigned to a specific user, it does not make sense to also enter a role since it will always go that user. The wizard will grey out the irrelevant fields to prevent errors. The user and role fields also auto-complete with a list of valid users and roles.

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The Flow Step Properties Wizard has many more features and we’ll describe some of them in detail in subsequent articles. Suffice it to say that frevvo designers will find it much much easier to configure steps in their workflows using V8 compared to prior versions.

We’re excited about this release and think you’ll like the changes. Stay tuned for future articles and upcoming webinars on V8.0 – it will be released to frevvo Cloud this Fall. Exact date TBD and we’ll announce it here when firmed up.

 

Posted in Workflows

Introducing V8.0: Part 1. Flow Design Canvas

We’ve been hard at work on some big updates to the workflow designer and we’re excited to share some of what’s coming soon. The main goal of v8.0 is Phase 1 of simplifying flow design and improvements are based on extensive feedback from customers and our own Client Services team. We’ve also added a few oft-requested features that we’ll describe below and in future articles.

The improvements fall into multiple areas:

  • A redesigned Flow Design Canvas that makes the flow routing clearer.
  • Much easier configuration of flow step properties via a new Flow Step Properties Wizard.
  • At-a-glance view of properties for any flow step via a new Flow Step Navigator.
  • Vastly simplified routing – you can route to users, roles or an email address in a single unified Assignments UI that checks for and prevents errors.
  • Get a read-only view of any task that you completed while the workflow is waiting for downstream approval.
  • On-demand refresh of searchable fields for a particular form or workflow without requiring admin privileges.

We’ll preview these changes in this and future articles.

Flow Designer Canvas

flow-designer.pngThe canvas is redesigned to be more intuitive and familiar and to display the flow routing more clearly.

It now represents the flow in a flow chart like format with process flow clearly marked with arrows. The arrows are drawn automatically as the step is dropped on the canvas as shown in the figure.

As a designer adds a precondition to a step, the system automatically draws a precondition as a decision box (yellow diamond). The precondition is part of the step that immediately follows it. For example, it is not separately selectable. The designer can specify a user-friendly description of the precondition which is displayed in the decision box.

As before, when a step is selected, the relevant action icons become visible e.g. create a linked step, edit the form associated with a form step etc.

Linked steps display a double box indicating clearly that the step is a copy of a prior step in the flow.

When dragging and dropping either new steps from the palette or existing canvas steps as part of a move operation, the UI will provide clear feedback regarding the drop target. When hovering over a step, the cursor will be modified as usual with the up or down green arrow indicating if the drop will be either above or below. In addition to this, the step that is the drop target will show a flashing green “bulls eye” to indicate the exact place where the step is to be placed. This is intended to head off any confusion about exactly where the designer is dropping and to make it clear that they cannot drop between a step and its precondition diamond.

Stay tuned for future articles and upcoming webinars on V8.0 – it will be released to frevvo Cloud this Fall. Exact date TBD and we’ll announce it here when firmed up.

 

Posted in Digital Transformation, Workflows

How to automate processes to achieve Digital Transformation

 

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Digital transformation is a huge opportunity – perhaps the greatest of the next three years. Automating your day-to-day business processes should be the first step in your journey. If you haven’t yet invested in a workflow automation platform, consider making it a top priority.

Check out the full article by our CEO with 5 tips on how you can achieve digital transformation over at business.com.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Posted in Workflows

How Dynamic Forms Streamline your Workflow Process

Paper-based processes throttle the growth of an organization. There are simply too many bottlenecks in designing, filling, and storing paper forms. On top of that, when you consider the costs of correcting errors and dealing with misfiled, damaged or lost forms, it’s easy to see how paper-based processes are expensive and inefficient.

frevvo’s cloud-based software offers fully automated dynamic forms and workflows designed to enhance productivity and drive down process costs. Now, it’s easy to get secure access to your documents and data from your mobile phones, and to share, save and process forms and approvals in a timely manner. frevvo unifies access control, user rights, and administrative settings through all devices ensuring complete security.

Automate your workflow with Dynamic Forms 

frevvo offers an incredibly easy user interface to create dynamic forms. There’s nothing to install and you don’t need to know how to write code. Simply drag and drop to create forms on the go. It’s easy to route your forms electronically to the right people at the right time and speed up the approval process. Using our Visual Rule Builder, you can easily perform calculations, pre-populate sections, show/hide parts of the form depending on data entered in it and route workflows conditionally. Additionally, cloud-based dynamic forms easily connect with your legacy systems as well as with many other third-party platforms without compromising security and scalability.

1. Automatic Calculations

Using the Visual Rule Builder, you can easily automate various calculations without any coding. Whether it is expense report, purchase order, tax or salary calculation; you can automate a plethora of calculations in frevvo forms. Not only does this remove the need for end users to perform tedious calculations, but it also eliminates errors due to mistakes.

Anyone can use the Visual Rule Builder to perform calculations – it uses familiar expressions and functions that should be familiar to users who have used a spreadsheet. View a detailed article here.

Example: Hellmann Worldwide Logistics

Although Hellmann’s primary objective behind using frevvo dynamic forms was to automate their workflow process, the complex calculations in contract amendments, credit amendment request, new customer credit approvals and cost allocation forms were done either manually or through Excel sheets that used to consume a lot of employees working time.

By using frevvo dynamic forms, not only did Hellmann automate their approval process, but their Credit Authorization, Cost Allocation, and Credit Approval forms are more user-friendly thanks to automated calculations.

The easy-to-use and affordable frevvo solution working in the cloud met Hellman’s real-world business requirements and helped them visualize and track misallocated costs, streamline the approval process, save employee time and reduce process costs.

“We’ve used Live Forms in the Cloud to automate several workflows in a matter of months and we were able to do it ourselves without expensive consulting resources.”

– James Darlaston, UK Business & IS Solutions Manager.

2. Pre-populated Sections

Business processes often have multiple forms where users must input the same information repetitively. A common example is Employee Onboarding where the user’s first name, last name, social security number and other information is required in multiple places. Sometimes it’s one form but it’s very long e.g. a Credit Application and it’s easier for the user if the form is split into multiple pages.

With frevvo, repeated fields are automatically copied from one form to another in the workflow. For example, if you have a First Name and Last Name field on multiple forms (pages), the user only needs to fill it for the first time. On second and subsequent pages, it’ll automatically be carried over.

If the user is authenticated, the system can also automatically populate several fields (e.g. Name, Email etc.) based on the logged-in user. With connections to Active Directory and other LDAP systems, you can retrieve any attribute for the user and pre-populate large sections of the form. For example, a Purchase Order must be routed to the employee’s specific manager. That information may be available in Active Directory and is automatically filled into the form. It’s less work for the user and also eliminates errors and typos.

Example: OSRAM Sylvania

After consolidating their HR processing in a single service center in Mexico, OSRAM was looking to streamline and replace their paper-based processes which were reducing their supervisors’ productivity as they needed to fill repetitive information again and again. Using frevvo, they replaced paper forms with electronic forms that can be submitted, signed and routed for approval and then submitted to the Service Center for further processing.

OSRAM integrated frevvo with PeopleSoft and their HR Portal. As a result, the form automatically initializes data, pre-populates sections, populates pick lists and reduces redundancy. Additionally, the built-in validations and business rules help OSRAM save valuable time that would otherwise be wasted in filling forms.

We needed an affordable solution that worked with our existing PeopleSoft, our HR Portal using single sign-on and other infrastructure and that was easy to use and met our business needs. Live Forms has the best combination of usability, price, support and business capabilities on the market today.”

– Roger Rudenstein, ERP Manager

3. Show/hide sections on demand

Paper/PDF forms often have sections that should only be filled out under certain conditions. For example, IRS forms require you to answer additional questions depending on your tax filing status. A Patient Intake form may require you to provide details if you answer Yes to certain medical conditions. This is a common source of errors and omissions.

With online, dynamic forms you can ensure that relevant sections are only visible when necessary. Another common example is a travel authorization form that might require multiple approvals. There’s no reason to display the approval sections until the workflow is in the approval step. Forms with the flexibility to show/hide sections on demand are easier to handle and more user-friendly.

Using the Visual Rule Builder, this kind of conditional logic is trivial to implement. Simply point and click in visual wizards to set the condition (it can be as complex as you want) and set the appropriate controls to visible or hidden as required. It’s so easy that anyone can do it.

Example: Tailored Brands

Using frevvo and a team of just 2 people, Tailored Brands has now deployed 104 forms and workflows for a wide variety of use cases such as Inventory Request, Store Appearance Check, Theft/Robbery/Damage forms and others. The forms are extremely dynamic – many of them show/hide sections on demand, perform calculations etc. As a result of the dynamic behavior and built-in mobile support, employees and managers find the forms easier to complete with fewer errors and missing information.

“Our forms are highly dynamic and can have complex business requirements. Using frevvo’s visual designers, we’ve now implemented 100+ forms & workflows.”

– Jim Rinke, Manager, Intranet & Documentation

4. Conditional/Dynamic routing in a workflow

Real, business workflows often feature conditional routing. A common example is a Purchase Order workflow where you must always get approval from your manager but if the amount is greater than $10,000 you require additional approval from the VP and if greater than $25,000 from the CFO etc. Another common scenario is conditionally routing to different people or roles depending on data in the form e.g. if Department is Sales or Marketing it routes to one person for approval but if Department is Engineering or Customer Support it routes elsewhere.

Both scenarios are easily addressed in frevvo workflows. For conditional steps, you simply create a Precondition using the Visual Rule Builder. If the condition evaluates to false, the step will be skipped. It’s as easy as that.

For dynamic routing scenarios, you can assign users and roles using templates. For example, if you have a control in the form called MyManager and you assign a template {MyManager} to the User property of a workflow step, the system will dynamically determine the user to route to depending on the value set in the form. In many cases (see Pre-populated sections above), the control is filled in automatically.

Conditional/dynamic routing is a very powerful feature of frevvo workflows that allow you to fulfill complex business requirements that are very commonly found in real-world processes. The best part is, like everything else in frevvo, it’s very easy to implement.

Example: Central Wyoming College

Central Wyoming College’s Purchase Order workflow was automated in record time: less than 10 days of work. They selected frevvo for the look & feel of the forms, the speed of implementation and, crucially, for its dynamic routing capabilities. The dynamic workflow routing relies on cost center codes to determine the appropriate approvers. The dynamic routing is also integrated with Google Apps making it easy for the customer to maintain. POs over a specific amount automatically route to the VP – matching CWC’s purchasing policies.

“frevvo’s system just works and meets our needs at reasonable cost.”

– John Wood, CIO

5. Seamless Integration with Business Systems

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

frevvo includes smart connectors as an option to connect forms and workflows with your existing back-end system or other legacy systems. With frevvo’s connectors, you can merge external and internal data, combine data from multiple origins and repositories, and create a uniform view for users.

With frevvo it’s easy to integrate with your SQL database, Google Apps, Confluence, Microsoft SharePoint, box, a variety of document management systems and, via third party software, with systems like Salesforce, QuickBooks Online and a host of cloud-based systems.

Example: Aero Communications Inc.

Aero was using a number of paper, Excel, as well as InfoPath forms for various day-to-day processes and approvals. The existing forms could not pull data from SQL databases resulting in excessive and duplicate data entry, errors, corrections and inefficiencies.

Using Live Forms, Aero has replaced multiple forms and workflows with fully automated online versions. Using Live Forms’ built-in Database Connector many of these forms and workflows are integrated with SQL and can dynamically update with real-time information from the database such as Customer or Product data. Automation speeds up approvals and improves efficiency.

We were looking for a single, affordable solution that could address all our requirements. Live Forms is the best web-based forms & workflow solution on the market today for our needs.”

– Adam Wiener, Applications Specialist

Digitize your forms completely to harness the power of workflow automation.

We are happy to discuss needs of your organization and offer the most suitable solution, REACH US 

 

Posted in Customers, Forms, Workflows

At Tailored Brands, a team of just 2 people has successfully implemented 100+ forms in their 1400+ locations.

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With leading menswear retailers such as Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, Tailored Brands provides a one-of-a-kind shopping experience with compelling products and world-class service via their 1400+ locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Read-Case-Study

They were using a different product which generated very large files, required local emails, was hard to use for dynamic forms and was expensive to maintain. Their Manager of Intranet, Jim Rinke, decided to investigate alternative products for their digital transformation journey.

After a lengthy search, Tailored Brands selected frevvo in 2011 for its drag-and-drop design, robust dynamic forms, 100% browser-based interface and the ability to route the form to different recipients based on user data.

“We were looking to replace the product we were using with a system that would work in our 1400+ stores.

Our forms are highly dynamic and can have complex business requirements. Using frevvo’s visual designers, we’ve now implemented 100+ forms & workflows. frevvo Cloud just works and meets our needs at reasonable cost.”
– Jim Rinke, Manager, Intranet & Documentation

Using frevvo’s low-code, visual solution, Tailored Brands’ team of just 2 people has now implemented 104 forms and workflows for a wide variety of use cases such as Inventory Request, Store Appearance Checks by multi-unit managers, Theft/Robbery/Damage forms, Employee or Customer Injuries and others.

The benefits are enormous:

  • Previous forms were seamlessly replaced with online versions.
  • Small file sizes mean they work fast and efficiently in the store locations.
  • Dynamic behavior is easy and the forms automatically show/hide sections based on user data, perform calculations etc.
  • Built-in mobile allows employees to use an iPad to complete forms.

Tailored Brands intends to continue rolling out additional forms and workflows, especially workflows that can route directly to an email address (anonymous user).

Read-Case-Study

Learn more by visiting our website.

Posted in Digital Transformation, Workflows

“Out with the old” is just as important as “In with the new”

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Are you being asked to “do more with less”?

Our customers often tell us that automating their processes using frevvo has freed up employees’ time. For example, at OESJ, teachers are able to spend more time on students since they aren’t chasing down signatures. At All-Island Gastroenterology, doctors spend less time waiting for patient paperwork and more time caring for patients.

When people are freed up from routine back-office tasks like getting approvals, correcting errors on forms, and looking up part numbers manually, they have more time to focus on work that matters – customers, patients and students.

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This is a crucial aspect of digitally transforming your business. Unless your hiring budgets are increasing 10-15% every year, there’s simply no way to do new things unless you stop doing old things. If you’re an organizational leader, one of the most important things you can do is create and write down a plan that clearly identifies the activities that you won’t be doing this time next year. Let employees know that you aren’t just paying lip service to digital transformation but it’s at the core of the next several years.

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Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime

digital-transformation-value.pngJust 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 is about driving 50% (or greater) cost reductions in parts of your operations. It’s about changing and enhancing what your people do and don’t do and, most critically, it’s about boosting revenue growth.

ContactFrevvo

You have to start TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.

Posted in Customers, k-12, Paperless Schools, Workflows

OESJ (K-12 district) digitized routine workflows. Teachers can now spend more time on students

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Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville (OESJ) Central School District is a a small, rural K-12 district in upstate NY. Everything was done using paper and sneakers. Their Director of Technology, Bill Cooper, decided to tackle the problem of reducing paper use.

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After investigating a few solutions, OESJ selected frevvo Cloud for its drag-and-drop design, robust dynamic forms, integration with Google Apps and other systems and the ability to route the form to different recipients based on user data.

Fantastic, everything we needed in one platform.
“We are a small K-12 public school of fewer than 800 students and we are treated like a Fortune 500 company. If you’re serious about eliminating your paper documents, no matter the size of your company or organization, then frevvo is the answer.”

William Cooper
Director of Technology

OESJ started with their Purchase Request workflow and digitized it to eliminate the paperwork, back-and-forth for chasing down signatures and corrections and error-handling. They’ve now automated Vacation Request and HR On-boarding workflows as well. The On-boarding workflow dramatically reduced duplicate data entry and automatically generates Government PDF forms like W-4 and I-9.

The benefits are enormous:

  • Inefficient paper forms with duplicate data entry have been eliminated and seamlessly replaced with online ones.
  • Integration with Google makes it easy to sign in; documents are also automatically uploaded to Google Drive.
  • Teachers spend less time chasing signatures and have more time to spend on students.

OESJ intends to continue digitizing additional forms & workflows such as Parent Permission forms and to integrate them with their School Information and Accounting systems.

Read-Case-Study

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

Posted in Financial Process Automation, HR Process Automation, Workflows

These 5 Global Trends Will Influence Business Automation in 2018+

Global trends for business automation

Today, business takes place online and on mobile all around the globe, 24/7. Automating everyday business processes and workflows has become hugely important in 2018 as many companies realize that manual processes may not cut it in a world where they must act with unprecedented speed to meet customer needs, improve and innovate continuously to compete and analyze critical information.

Continue reading “These 5 Global Trends Will Influence Business Automation in 2018+”