May 25, 2018: The Birth of GDPR

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Flooded with emails from companies describing how they’ve updated their Privacy Policy? You’re not alone. The GDPR goes into effect today and if a business isn’t compliant, then hefty fines and penalties await.

After about 4 years of contentious debate, on 8 April 2016, the EU data protection framework was finally adopted. As of today, it’s the law, – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s a law that’s sure to significantly overhaul Europe’s cornerstone data protection legislation at a time when technology-led information systems and digital businesses are creeping into every aspect of human life. The new EU GDPR replaces the existing Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC as of 25 May, 2018. The European Union aims to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe to empower its citizens and protect their data privacy. In addition to that, it also wants all organizations dealing with the personal data of EU citizens to change their perspective and approach towards data privacy.

Adopting the GDPR marks a major milestone in EU’s data protection laws.

Why the GDPR?

keys.pngThe rising concern of people and Governments regarding data privacy motivated the existence of GDPR. Europe, in general, has always been an aggressive protector of its citizens data. The Data Protection Directive that went into effect in 1995 controlled the way companies were using personal data of their users. Over the last two decades, Internet adoption has increased dramatically transforming the World Wide Web into a major business hub. It quickly became clear that the old directive was not enough to address the many challenges existing in the way businesses collect, store, and transfer data today.

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Source: RSA Data Privacy and Security Report

The reality is that public concern over data privacy has grown significantly. As per the RSA Data Privacy and Security Report, 80% of consumers felt that lost banking and financial data was their top concern. However, loss of security and identity information like passwords or passports was a close second and was an area of concern for 76% of surveyed participants.

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Source: RSA Data Privacy and Security Report

62% of all respondents said that they would blame the company and not the hacker if their personal data was breached – an alarming update for companies dealing with consumer data. The report concludes:

As modern consumers are better informed they expect more transparency and responsiveness from the stewards of their data.

One point in RSA’s report that directly relates to the existence of GDPR is particularly interesting. It demonstrates how consumers figured out their own countermeasures to deal with a company handling user data inappropriately. According to the report, about 41% of people intentionally falsify information while signing up for an online service. Lack of trust, security threats, a desire to avoid unwanted marketing emails and avoiding the possibility of having their data resold are the major concerns behind these countermeasures.

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Source: RSA Data Privacy and Security Report

Modern consumer mentality has evolved to where at they’ are in no mood to forgive a company for failing to prevent a data breach that exposes their personal data. In the U.S., about 72% respondents firmly stated that they will no longer visit or deal with a company that fails to protect their data. Conversely, about 50% of respondents say they are more likely to shop at a company that is serious about how it protects user privacy and safeguards their data.

With increased digital transformation, businesses make increasing use of digital assets, services, and big data. Additionally, consumers are sharing their personal information with a multitude of online platforms using different touch points. Therefore, it has become a key business imperative for a company to stay accountable, responsible, and transparent when it comes to protecting consumer data on a daily basis.

Who is Affected?

The GDPR is in effect from today (May 25, 2018)gdpr.png. The sweeping new set of changes will affect every company from technology to advertising and from medicine to banking. The biggest impact will be on companies holding and processing large amounts of consumer data: technology firms, marketers and the data brokers connecting with them. Additionally, companies whose business models are based on acquiring and exploiting consumer data at large scale are also expected to bear the largest burden.

If your company stores or processes information on EU citizens, then you are required to comply with the new GDPR, even if you do not have any business presence in EU.

The GDPR is applicable to your business or company if your business has

  • A presence in an EU country,
  • No presence in the EU but your business possesses data of EU citizens,
  • More than 250 employees,
  • Fewer than 250 employees but your data processing impacts the rights and freedom of data subjects, not occasional, or includes a certain type of sensitive personal data.

According to a PwC survey, over 90% of U.S. companies with more than 500 employees have taken GDPR compliance seriously.

Recently Propeller Insights conducted a survey sponsored by Netsparker to find out the companies that are expected to be most affected by the GDPR. 53% feel that the technology sector will be severely affected. Online retailers clocked in at 45%, software companies at 44%, SaaS software companies at 37% and companies dealing in retail/consumer packaged goods came in at 33%. The bottom line is: the EU is big and most companies deal with EU citizens either as employees, customers or partners and will be affected by the GDPR.

Effect of GDPR on Third-Party and Customer Contracts

In the new GDPR guidelines, equal liability is placed on data controllers and data processors. If you do business with a third party data processor, which is not in compliance with the GDPR, it means that your business has failed to comply with the GDPR. Besides, the new regulation has mandated strict rules for reporting data breaches that everyone in the data processing chain must abide by.

As a result of the GDPR, the contracts your business has with third parties like Cloud (IaaS) providers, SaaS vendors, or other support service providers and customers; must spell out the shared data protection responsibilities. Moreover, these revised contracts will have to define logical processes that will be used to manage and protect data along with the mechanisms that will be used to report data breaches.

Client contracts also need revision to, ensure these contracts adhere to the new GDPR changes. Business managers, I.T., and security team must understand and agree upon a compliant reporting process.

Ten Steps to Take TODAY

  • Top Management needs to trigger a sense of urgency: The top management in the company responsible for risk management must prioritize compliance with global data hygiene standards and infuse the entire organization with a sense of urgency.
  • Motivate Stakeholders to get involved: Your I.T. department alone is not responsible for preparing the entire organization to be GDPR compliant. Involve marketing, finance, sales, operations and other departments that collect, analyze or use consumer data. Their inputs and suggestions to handle and protect data will help the technical team to implement procedural changes effectively and speedily.
  • Hire a Data Processing Officer: Under new GDPR, it is not clear whether a DPO is a discrete position or not. You can either appoint someone within the company who has worked in a similar kind of role, who could ensure data protection with no conflict of interest or hire a new individual. You also have the option to work with a virtual DPO who could work as a consultant for your company.
  • Perform Risk Assessment: Assessing risks involved in collecting, processing and or managing EU citizen’s’ data is a major step towards GDPR compliance. Once a risk assessment has been performed, your business will understand the options available for mitigating these risks.
  • Mobile Security is a Must: In the modern I.T. environment, more than 68% employees access employee, customer, and partner data on mobile devices, which is a major threat to data protection leading to non-compliance with the GDPR. Employees download third-party applications on their work devices jeopardizing the security of consumer data. Implementing a mobile security framework to protect against unauthorized access to data on the mobile device is a critical component of GDPR compliance.
  • Create a concrete Data Protection Plan: In a perfect world, you already have a solid data protection plan in place. If not, you need to create one right away. If you already have a plan, kudos to you but you should review and update the plan for GDPR compliance.
  • Bring Together a System to Report Progress in GDPR Compliance: Article 30 of the GDPR regulation mandates companies to maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility. To ensure your company is keeping accurate records you need to establish a team that can monitor places where personal data is being processed, who is processing it, and how it is being processed.
  • Implement Systems to Alleviate Risks: After identifying risks, you need to determine measures that will mitigate them, even if it means revising existing risk mitigating systems. Spotting and investigating the risks associated with data processing and regulating the needed level of security required to protect data becomes easier for the GDPR once you have taken an inventory of risky applications and understood how data is being processed in your organization (Step 7 above).
  • Setup and Test an Incident Response Plan: Under the GDPR, companies need to provide a detailed report regarding any breach of personal data to their local data authority ‘without undue delay’ (within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach). Don’t wait for an actual data breach to occur – setup a response team and perform drills to make sure it works as planned.
  • Comply with GDPR by eyeing Business Benefit: Undoubtedly, complying with the GDPR will provide a competitive edge to your business. Compliance will not only enhance ROI but will also help in boosting consumer confidence. Moreover, the technical and process changes you will bring about to comply with the GDPR will enhance your organizations’ efficiency to manage and secure data.

Conclusion

The GDPR is here. Compliance is a daunting task; it’s difficult to understand where to start; especially when every facet of the business from staff training to data security audits are involved. This blog will definitely help you to understand GDPR better and implement measures that will make your organization GDPR compliant.

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After hours of brainstorming sessions, poring over documents, legal reviews and many gallons of coffee, we are proud to announce that, effective May 25, 2018, frevvo complies with the GDPR.

You can learn more and obtain a Data Protection Addendum (DPA) by visiting our GDPR site.

[Webinar] Generate custom PDFs from your automated workflows

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It’s a common requirement among our customers – they love the advantages of online workflows such as dynamic behavior and built-in mobile but need to generate their own PDF document. For example, a Federal W-4 or I-9 during Employee On-Boarding. With frevvo, you don’t have to choose.

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Join us on this webinar on June 7 at 1.00 PM EDT. In just 45 minutes (including Q&A), we will:

  • show you examples that customers are using today, and
  • demonstrate how you can drag & drop to easily create your own custom PDFs.

You can generate multiple PDFs, conditionally generate some PDFs and not others (e.g. a state W-4 depending on which state the employee resides in), save these PDFs in back end systems, send them by email etc.

Learn more: Try an example and read detailed documentation on our website.

[HowTo] Create a Salesforce Lead from frevvo

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In the last post, we described how to integrate a frevvo form/workflow with Quickbooks to create a new customer. Another common integration we see is with Salesforce. Similar to the Quickbooks integration, you can use the combination of Google Sheets + Zapier to make things happen in Salesforce when a frevvo form/workflow is submitted.

For example, let’s say you want to create a new Lead in Salesforce. The process is very simple and similar to the Quickbooks example.

1. Create your Google Sheet

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Our example has several fields as shown above and test data in the first row. Make sure yours has a header row and at least one row of sample data. The columns in your sheet will depend on your Salesforce Lead fields. You must have a column for each required Lead field.

2. Create a Zap (in Zapier) and setup Google Sheets

Select Google Sheets as the trigger app, choose “New Spreadsheet Row” as the trigger, connect your Google Account, choose the Spreadsheet and Worksheet and pull in the sample row you created earlier.

 

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3. Connect the Action of the Zap to Salesforce

Choose Salesforce as the Action App, select the Create Lead action, connect your Salesforce account, map fields to setup the Salesforce Lead template, and run a Test. Assuming the test is successful, give your zap a name and activate it.

 

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4. Create your frevvo form or workflow and connect it to Google Sheets

Create the frevvo form with the appropriate fields and connect it to Google Sheets using the Save to Google Sheets wizard. When the form is submitted, a row is created in your Google Sheet. After a few minutes, the Zap will pick up the new row from the sheet and create your new Salesforce lead.

That’s all there is to it. With frevvo + Google Sheets + Zapier, you can easily and affordably integrate with 1000s of applications that Zapier supports without writing a single line of code.

Give it a whirl – sign up for a free trial today.

[HowTo] Create a Quickbooks customer from frevvo

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As many of you know, it’s trivial to integrate frevvo forms and workflows with Google Sheets. There are many things you can do with this integration but the simplest and most common is to create a new row in the Google Sheet when a form is submitted. By combining this with Zapier’s integration platform, you can accomplish a vast array of integrations.

You can integrate with 100s of systems in this manner e.g. create a new Customer in Quickbooks. Here are the steps (this post has a lot of screenshots):

1. Create your Google Sheet

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Our example has several fields as shown above and test data in the first row. Make sure yours has a header row and at least one row of sample data.

2. Create a Zap (in Zapier) and setup Google Sheets

Select Google Sheets as the trigger app, choose “New Spreadsheet Row” as the trigger, connect your Google Account, choose the Spreadsheet and Worksheet and pull in the sample row you created earlier.

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3. Connect the Action of the Zap to Quickbooks Online

Choose Quickbooks Online as the Action App, select the Create Customer action, connect your Quickbooks Online account, map fields to setup the Customer template, and run a Test. Assuming the test is successful, give your zap a name and activate it.

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4. Create your frevvo form or workflow and connect it to Google Sheets

Create the frevvo form with the appropriate fields and connect it to Google Sheets using the Save to Google Sheets wizard. When the form is submitted, a row is created in your Google Sheet. After a few minutes, the Zap will pick up the new row from the sheet and create your new Quickbooks customer.

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It’s as easy as that. With frevvo + Google Sheets + Zapier, you can easily and affordably integrate with 1000s of applications that Zapier supports without writing a single line of code.

Give it a whirl – sign up for a free trial today.

A Modern Framework for delivering Digital Transformation

ben-kolde-430909-unsplash (1).jpgIt’s 2018. By now, your organization surely realizes that digital transformation is no joke and an absolute must for business innovation. The momentum is too great and companies unwilling to embrace it will find themselves at extreme risk of digital disruption and will quickly fall to irrelevance. Those that fully embrace digital transformation will find that it gives them a massive edge over their competitors regardless of industry.

Download-White-Paper

So, what should you as a business leader consider as your organization races towards its digital future?

1. Every company is a software company

Whether you’re in insurance, healthcare, education or any other industry, you have to think of yourself as a tech company. American and United obviously have massive physical operations in order to get their planes from Boston to San Francisco but the vast majority of the customer experience, flight operations, booking services etc. are completely digitized. From efficient websites and mobile apps to the insides of these organizations, software plays a huge part.

2. The user experience is paramount

edho-pratama-149011-unsplash (1)This one’s just plain common sense. For example, consumers have repeatedly demonstrated that they will forgo any notion of privacy for an amazing user experience. Digital and mobile are now so deeply embedded in customers’ lives that they will actively gravitate towards competitors if you fail to provide visually pleasing digital experiences that are lightning-fast, available 24×7, and work seamlessly on mobile.

3. Delivering a top-notch user experience requires a modern I.T. framework.

PeopleFirstRequired ≠ Easy. There are many barriers to actually delivering a seamless mobile experience. Like most organizations, I.T. is probably underwater and simply cannot keep up with the speed and agility demands of the modern enterprise. It’s not unusual for a mobile app to take 1+ year and $1M+ to develop. In spite of this, 60% of corporate apps end up abandoned anyway. And, that’s if you can find people with the requisite skills.

A modern I.T. framework built around a low-code, visual platform like frevvo can make a dramatic difference. It doesn’t required the same skill set as native app development. As a result, citizen developers (not professional coders-by-trade) can drag & drop and use wizards to deliver real results. That frees up I.T. to meet other business needs.

Best of all, the resulting app delivers a fantastic user experience, works automatically on all mobile devices, is fast & responsive and runs in frevvo’s Cloud with its 24×7 availability, security and fast performance.

Download-White-Paper

Learn more by visiting our website and sign up for a free trial.

Photos by Ben Kolde & Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Your 2020 Innovation Strategy? Three ways to embrace Digital Transformation.

alex-holyoake-334209-unsplash (1).jpgDigital Transformation is the greatest opportunity of the next 3 years. But, to win, you need to understand the urgency, take action and seize the opportunity.

We are clearly in the midst of a [second] wave of technological advances that are markedly different from the 1990s Internet-fueled wave. The stuff of sci-fi movies is here. Computers are winning at Jeopardy, diagnosing diseases and driving cars. Billions of smartphones are in the hands of people worldwide – connected, immensely powerful computers with the capabilities of countless sci-fi films. The majority of people are connected to each other and to the collective knowledge of the world and they’re engaging with you in this digital world in new and interesting ways.

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You have to be ready. This digital disruption is both a huge challenge and an enormous opportunity. Disruption is hardly new – it’s been happening for all of human history. The difference now is the speed. What used to take decades now takes years and even months.

What is Digital Transformation?

This Digital Transformation isn’t any one thing to address a specific problem but a combination of mindset, projects and initiatives designed to infuse “digital” into your entire business. It’s organizational change for the purpose of using technology to improve your business performance.

What should you do? Think about the following three things:

1. Out with the Old [so you can invest in the new]

At some point you simply cannot do more with less. You have to focus on work that matters. 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. Cut out chores that are not essential to your business, digitize them and outsource if necessary. Reinvest the cost savings into new digital initiatives.

2. Start by automating your process workflow

templatesTechnology can only do so much. Ultimately, it’s the people and business processes of an organization that truly drive change. Workflow automation is at the very foundation of digital transformation. With automation, you’ll reap incredible benefits. Our customers are seeing 50+% efficiency improvements. Their employees are happier since they can focus on work that matters – students, patients, customers.

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Remember those billions of people connected to each other and to you? Automation makes it far easier for them to work with you. With automated processes, you’re agile enough to react to their needs and take advantage of business opportunities whether that’s demand-based pricing changes, customized offerings or instant world-class customer service.

If you haven’t yet invested in software for workflow automation, I suggest you do so now.

3. Data is the new Oil

Your proprietary data is your most valuable asset. If your daily workflows are manual, you don’t even have access to your most valuable asset. With automation, you can collect data, analyze and refine it into useful, actionable information so you can do things like over-deliver on customer service, and rollout new business initiatives in response to changing business conditions. It’s one of the most crucial advantages in today’s business environment.

Looking to 2020 – prepare for the voyage

marc-wieland-52628-unsplash (1).jpgThe next few years will be the ride of a lifetime. Your success depends on whether your organization adopts and embraces the opportunity of digital transformation. Deploying technologies like business analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) relies on access to your proprietary data which itself depends on process automation. Your processes need to be ready.

If you want digital transformation, start with workflow.

ContactFrevvo

Embrace the opportunity and get started TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.

Photos by Alex Holyoake and Marc Wieland on Unsplash

Want Digital Transformation? Start with your workflows.

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What is Digital Transformation?

By now, everyone’s heard of Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation is the process of using technology to radically change your business to pursue new revenue streams & business models and to avoid disruption. But, what exactly does that mean?

Download-White-Paper

Digital Transformation is not a single IT project. It’s the combination of numerous projects that infuse “digital” into everything within your organization – from evolving the underlying technology to servicing your constituents increasingly on mobile to digitizing your processes to create efficiencies to integrating with third parties to create better customer experiences.

Ultimately, though, DBT is about organizational change to improve performance through the use of digital technologies.

Start with your Workflow

templates.pngTechnology itself makes a difference and creates innovation but at the end of the day it’s the people and the business processes in an organization that can truly drive change, disruption and transformation.

Automating your day-to-day workflows is at the very foundation of digital transformation. If your organization does not already have a workflow automation platform, I strongly suggest looking into one now. Using a platform, you can digitize forms for employees and customers and automate your routine processes. Once they’re automated, you can measure the effectiveness of those processes and optimize choke points to drive genuine change. You can collect and analyze your proprietary data in myriad ways to improve business performance.

Without workflow automation you’re still dealing with manual processes. You’ll probably need to worry about being disrupted and becoming irrelevant.

5 ways Workflow Automation can change your business

1. Increased Efficiency

What might the transformed, modern business application look like? It will undoubtedly:

  • Automate forms and workflows so there’s no need to print, sign and scan.
  • Integrate with data and systems to reduce tedious manual data entry.
  • Intelligently route documents to the right person at the right time to ensure that business constraints are satisfied.
  • Automatically support all mobile devices and speed up the approval process by providing 24×7 access from anywhere.

2. World Class Customer Service

if_seo_web_3-19_1152167.pngOver-delivering on customer service is the single most important thing you can do to increase revenue. Otherwise, today’s consumers will quickly move on to the competition.

Today, customers are used to interacting with your organization online at any time. If they need some information from your company and it’s only available during business hours, they’ll be frustrated and feel inconvenienced. Automation ensures that your customers have a smooth experience by enabling them to access information when they need it.

When employees are wasting time chasing down internal approvals, they have less time to focus on customer service. Automated approvals free up their time so it can be invested into what’s important: customers, students and patients.

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3. Enable Mobility

mobile-apps-175% of U.S. information workers rely on mobile. In response, businesses are prioritizing mobility with 88% of them saying that mobile functionality is either very important or an outright requirement.

But, one-off mobile apps are hard and barriers abound. Time, budget and skills are all in short supply. In addition, mobility nowadays is about reaching users through all channels, especially mobile web browsers, as users often don’t bother to install a native app.

Workflow automation systems offer visual and low-code approaches that let you provide business functionality in web-apps and spread that development out among more people – the “citizen” developers in your organization. That in turn eases pressure on I.T. teams, freeing them up to meet business needs.

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4. Business Agility

Business Value from Cloud

Automation taking advantage of cloud (+ mobile) is a critical driver of business agility – roughly speaking, the ability of your business to react rapidly to changing business conditions. Think of two main aspects:

  • Responsiveness – Enable employees to do the right thing at the right time. That means reducing business complexity (stop wasting time on paperwork, errors, missing signatures etc.), employee efficiency (let them work anytime, anywhere and using any device) and collaboration (access to people and information from anywhere as needed).
  • New Opportunities – Faster rollout of new business initiatives as business conditions change e.g. introduce a new product offering or modify internal processes to quickly satisfy changed customer demands even something as simple as letting people buy on their mobile phone.

Both are sources of significant competitive advantage. According to Harvard Business Review’s recent survey on Business Agility in the Cloud, companies are already seeing business value and benefits from simplification, collaboration, and faster reactions to new opportunities.

This business agility appears to lead to some very tangible and measurable outcomes: 49% are more likely to have entered a new market in the past three years i.e. rolled out business initiatives quickly to take advantage of a new business opportunity. Significant majorities believe cloud (+ mobile) reduces business complexity (71%), increases employee productivity (69%) and responsiveness to customers (53%).

 

5. Astounding ROI

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It’s often hard to see how much those paper- and email-based workflows are really costing you. Let’s do a quick analysis. Consider a 3-step workflow:

  1. Performed by an Employee – a Travel Authorization or Purchase Requisition. Let’s say this employee costs $80,000/year including benefits, vacation, taxes and other costs (equivalent 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. Say, this is a part-time person costing $60,000/year.

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, Timesheets, 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.

That 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.

Looking Ahead

Analytics and Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in the future of business transformation powered by digital technologies. But deploying these technologies relies on access to your proprietary data making it your most valuable asset. Workflow automation is the foundation. Think about it!

Paper- and email-based processes deny you access to your single most valuable asset – your business data.

Eventually, AI engines powered by data analysis will end up automating the optimization of your workflows. But, your processes need to be ready.

If you want digital transformation, start with workflow.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our website to and see how customers are already using frevvo’s public and private cloud solutions to transform everyday business processes.