Tag: business forms

Automated approval workflow saves precious time for UC Davis students & faculty

Departments at the University of California, Davis offer several internships to students. At the Department of Animal Sciences, applying for one was a tedious and manual process:

  1. The Student gets a form from the Advising Center, fills it out and submits it to the Center.
  2. The Advising Associate checks it for accuracy.
  3. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Field Supervisor.
  4. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Faculty Sponsor.
  5. The student then gets it approved/signed by the Master Advisor.
  6. The student then returns it to the Advising Associate who issues a CRN number and sends it via email to the student.
  7. The student uses the CRN number to register for the internship

ucdavis-logoThe student has to track down multiple people and collect signatures/approvals – a time consuming and wasteful process. When any person is traveling, the approval gets delayed. The completed internship applications are paper documents stored in filing cabinets that are hard to locate and report on.

With frevvo, the Department now has all internship applications online. Check out this Case Study. The routing happens electronically freeing busy students from having to physically track down approvers. Field supervisors, faculty sponsors and advisors can instantly approve and sign online whether they are in Davis or anywhere in the world even using their mobile device. Documents are stored online as PDFs – they’re secure, easy to find and and report on.

It’s just one of many, many approval workflows that customers are automating with frevvo. Interested in learning more? Contact frevvo today.

The surprising cost of Excel approval workflows …

… or The Amazing ROI of frevvo approval workflows

Many businesses still use Excel/Word/PDF for approval workflows. For example, to get the requisite approvals for an expense report, a purchase requisition, project plan or some other important document, it’s very common for the original requester to pull up an Excel spreadsheet and fill it out. This ad-hoc approach is fraught with problems:

  • How do you ensure that you have the latest version? Shared folder? Intranet?
  • How do you get the approvals? Via e-mail? Schedule a meeting? What happens if someone is on vacation or fails to respond in a timely manner? What if there’s an error? More e-mail?
  • What if a signature is required? Attachments? Does this mean printing, signing and scanning?
  • How do you keep track of and formally record who has approved the document? Save multiple e-mails? Meeting notes?
  • What will happen months from now when you need to find the signed and approved document?

ROI: Excel vs frevvo approval workflowsExcel-based approval workflows are surprisingly expensive and an automated approval workflow from frevvo can save you tons of money. It’s fast and easy to implement and you’ll start seeing positive ROI in 2-3 months (even faster at higher volumes). Check out this ROI calculator or click on the image to see how frevvo can save you $$$. As a bonus, you’ll have happier employees.

So, enough already with e-mailing Excel spreadsheets around. Interested? Contact us now. It’s amazingly easy and affordable with frevvo.

Nearly 60% of employees abandon corporate mobile apps due to a bad user experience

A recent study by Mobiquity finds that nearly 60% of employees are not satisfied with the quality of apps they should be using for their work-related tasks and abandon them. The study highlights a key challenge facing Business-To-Employee (B2E) apps – companies (especially mid-size ones) simply don’t have enough internal developers with the skills needed to build well-designed apps with a rich, intuitive user experience. With the BYOD trend only set to go, what’s IT to do?

For internal business processes like leave approvals, expense reports, employee on-boarding, patient referral, student admissions and so on, there are clear alternatives to internal development. You can choose specialized applications for many of these like Concur for expense reports and there are plenty of cloud-based HR providers.

But, for many companies, this isn’t a viable solution because (a) you have to deal with multiple vendors and (b) you have unique business needs. That’s where a mobile form builder like frevvo can help. You can easily design online forms and workflows so that they fit your business, integrate with back end systems and  yet work on all devices from smart phones to desktop computers to provide an appealing user experience for your employees. When employees can take pictures of receipts, sign using their finger on a touch screen, see tasks in one place and get work done quickly and easily anytime anywhere, they’ll use your apps and you’ll be well on your way to overcoming the B2E challenge. Infographic by Mobiquity.

abandonment-in-the-workplace-infographic

Why we do this

Building web forms really, really sucks!

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Years ago, my friend Yuri and I were working on a project for a large P&C insurance carrier. We had automated some business processes and were working on the online forms that people would use. The whole experience simply sucked. We’d worked for months, been through umpteen conference calls and no one was happy. Setting aside issues like the business users didn’t know what they wanted (true), the biggest problem was that we were mind-numbingly BORED. For developers used to a complex enterprise product, building electronic forms was beyond tedious. How many times can you tweak the border or the color or move a field a few pixels? Ugh!

We had to free other developers from this incredible waste of brainpower. As a developer, wouldn’t you be doing pretty much anything else than debugging CSS in Internet Explorer? Validating a Date in JavaScript? Tweaking XSLT so you can generate XML when a schema changes? It’s fun for a while but …

Real business forms & workflows are hard.

In the aforementioned project, the forms were huge, complicated ACORD forms
with supplemental data. They needed to conform to the ACORD XML schema. One of the
single most painful schemas in existence. A developer has to worry about:

  • Complex Validation (may be based on an XML schema or database)
  • Business Rules (calculations, skip logic etc.)
  • Electronic Signatures
  • PDF Generation (gotta print the form exactly according to regulatory requirements – yeah, this is true even in 2014)
  • Integration (databases, business systems, BPM etc.)
  • Mobile (becoming more of a must-have every day)
  • XML/XSD (many business systems and applications are XML-based)
  • Sophisticated layouts
  • IE8 to iOS 7 and everything in between
  • the list goes on and on and on …

We looked for existing solutions but nothing came even close. If you want a contact form or a wedding invitation or a survey, there are a dozen great products but try to actually meet real business requirements like the above and forget it. Maybe if you want to shell out $100K for InfoPath or Adobe.

So, we engineered frevvo for all this stuff. It really does all the above and more. We’ve had a lot of fun doing it and it’s very satisfying when we see fellow-developers at our customers being spared from enduring the mental torture of hand-building
business web forms.

Save The Trees while you’re at it.

We don’t like waste. We especially hate wasted paper. And we love our trees. So, we figured we’d do our part. With over 350 customers all over the world printing fewer documents thanks to frevvo, we’re saving paper and trees every single day. Plus, going
green == more green for the bottom line:

  • Fewer $, €, ¥, ₹, ₩, B$ spent on supplies (we get i18n)
  • Increased productivity (I know I type 5 times as fast as I can write) and fewer errors
  • Speed (get your vacation approved instantly).

At the end of the day though, for us, it’s about developers so let me reiterate. If you make developers build complex business forms by hand, you’re inflicting untold pain and suffering on them. Trust me – you’ll save money and end up with happier, more productive programmers using frevvo or even a competing product. Though, of course, we think they’ll be happiest with frevvo!