There’s no doubt that the modern workplace increasingly relies on digital technology. Amazingly, paper-based forms and processes are still commonplace across organizations of all sizes. Examples abound from patient information forms that repeatedly request the same data to extremely paper-intensive processes like on-boarding a new hire with dozens of forms and signatures.Continue reading “A five-phase roadmap for digital transformation”
The speed of technology evolution has forced enterprises to reimagine and redesign their business processes. The digital revolution has now moved well past convenient apps that let you order food and hail cabs to a collection of smart technologies that will impact every facet of every single business. This digital transformation isn’t coming — it’s already here. Your task over the next three years is to apply these smart technologies to fundamentally remake your business operations.
In previous articles, we’ve written about how workflow automation is the foundation of digital transformation. Ultimately, it’s not technology but the people and processes in your organization that can truly drive transformation of any kind.
Digitizing day-to-day workflows can be a lot of work
Consider what it takes to digitize your routine day-to-day workflows (Purchase Order or Travel Authorization).
- All involve forms (spreadsheets, paper, PDF …) that must be created. Business forms aren’t trivial – they usually involve dynamic behavior, lookups, and business rules. They’re typically long with many fields.
- Business workflows often have lots of conditional and dynamic routing e.g. if Amount > $5,000 you have to get additional approval or if Employee is in NY route to this manager but in CA to this other manager and so on.
- They routinely have to work with business systems like SQL databases, HR systems etc. to pull data as well as update records.
- Your users all have the latest smartphone and expect slick, responsive user interfaces. Your digitized workflow had better not look anything like the UI from just a few years back.
- You must provide 24×7 access from anywhere and using any device. Nowadays, everyone uses their mobile device and there are a zillion varieties.
- There’s more – e-signatures, security, document generation …
It’s a lot to handle. Of course, that’s if you can find the necessary programming talent, have a large enough budget and enough time. No wonder so many organizations are still using email-based and in some cases even paper-based workflows.
Visual, low-code platforms really work
Modern, low-code platforms like frevvo really do make it much easier to automate by addressing some huge challenges. Consider these advantages:
- It’s trivial to create forms – simply drag & drop fields and arrange them as desired. Anyone can do it.
- Dynamic behavior? Business rules? No problem – frevvo has 100% visual wizards for a vast array of dynamic operations such as show/hide parts of the form, perform calculations, autofill dates or personal information. Again, anyone can use these visual wizards to create dynamic behavior.
- Got routing? It’s easy with frevvo – drag & drop to create your workflow and setup routing and a host of other workflow-related properties visually. Conditional routing is also easy to setup visually. Anyone can do it.
- frevvo just works on mobile devices – you don’t have to lift a finger. The forms, workflows, task list are all responsive and automatically adjust to the screen size of your device. 24×7 access, anywhere on any device? It’s a piece of cake and anyone can do it.
- E-signatures, document (PDF) generation, SQL integration, secure authentication and authorization, encryption – all built in.
Lots of customers are already benefiting. They’re automating workflows in record time and empowering citizen developers (existing employees) rather than recruiting expensive, hard-to-find professional coders. 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.
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.
It’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.
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
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.
Required ≠ 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.
Learn more by visiting our website and sign up for a free trial.
Digital 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.
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
Technology 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.
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
The 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.
Embrace the opportunity and get started TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.
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?
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
Technology 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
Over-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.
3. Enable Mobility
75% 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.
4. Business Agility
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
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
Learn more by visiting our website.
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.
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.
Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime
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 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.
You have to start TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.