Posted in Approval Process, Green Schools, k-12, Paperless Schools, Workflows

[eBook] 4 ways you can use frevvo in your school TODAY

4 ways to use frevvo in schools eBookIt’s 2015 !!

Are you still printing, scanning and e-mailing paper for approvals and signatures? Looking to Go Green in 2015 but not sure where to start

frevvo can help your school implement common-sense paperless solutions so teachers, parents & staff can focus on students rather than paperwork. Download this new guide about 4 ways you can use frevvo in your school today.

Get started implementing simple, game-changing solutions today. Contact us to learn more or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Posted in Green Schools, k-12, Paperless Schools

Why school technology projects fail

Cloud computing in schoolsLook around you – it sure seems that everything technology in school districts is a big, expensive & lengthy project. The rest of the world has pretty much moved in the opposite direction. Try a cloud-based, inexpensive pay-as-you-go service for maybe 50 bucks (heck, almost every one has a free trial anyway). Put something in production quickly and see what works.

Except in our schools. They’re stuck in the world of annual/multi-year contracts, lengthy bureaucratic purchasing procedures, technology ROI assessment etc. There’s no way to just try something out and see if it works even for $50. Yes, school districts have annual budgets and they’re getting tighter all the time. All the more reason for pay-as-you-go.

Large Technology projects mostly fail
Depending on who you ask, more than half of all large tech projects fail with the LAUSD iPad project serving [probably unfairly] as the current poster child. But, truly assessing the ROI of technology in advance is pretty much “fiction” and not just in schools. There are too many variables from training to process re-engineering to adoption. In practice, it turns into a vendor finding an internal champion who will “market” the vendor’s ROI to executives. And, in many large companies executives sign off on multi-year projects knowing they’ll be gone before the project is ever deployed. Companies, however, have wised up to the benefits of trial and error.

Trial and Error (or Think BIG but start small) works
Einstein may have been the master of thought experiments. But, for most of us, we try stuff out. From medical research to car repairs to diets, it’s part of our life. We adopt what works and discard what doesn’t. Software’s the same. Instead of the above-mentioned lengthy studies, just sign up online and try it out. Get a few people to use it – teachers, staff, or parents. Cloud-based software + monthly contracts make it easy.

Cloud and PAYG have huge benefits
The benefits are obvious and extensively detailed elsewhere from no upfront fees or lengthy contracts to zero installation to on-demand scaling to quick trial-and-error. The rest of the world is signing on at an unprecedented pace. Except schools – it’s 1:1 digital learning programs and flipped classrooms (translation: buy 10,000 iPads and change the way 1000s of teachers work). What about small-scale, quick and easy solutions?

We see this all the time – our customers in industry love cloud software, pay-as-you-go and pay only for what you use. Now, if only we could get our schools to do the same.

Posted in Approval Process, Customers, Forms, Higher Ed, Workflows

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.

Posted in Approval Process, Customers, Forms, Green Schools, k-12, Paperless Schools, Workflows

K-12 School District automates 8 approval workflows in just 3 months

If you’re a parent with one or more children in school, you’ve probably received a packet of paper forms from your school to fill out. At frevvo, we’re already working with K-12 school districts to turn these into electronic versions (more on this later). But, that’s not all K-12 schools are doing with frevvo right now.

Check out this new CaCalifornia K-12 Case Studyse Study. Unfortunately, we can’t use the school district’s name yet (soon I hope) but it’s a large K-12 school district in California with close to 20,000 students. They’ve automated eight (8) approval workflows in just 3 months – bread & butter things like Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement & Conference Attendance.

For the Absence Record, it was a paper form that must be filled out monthly by every single employee even those who didn’t have any absences that month. As you can imagine, it’s a tedious process. Someone has to drive to each school and pick up the absence records, which are then validated by someone, approved and signed by a supervisor. Then they’re processed by Payroll and, if necessary, sent to a Risk Manager depending on criteria in the form. All manual! Slow! Expensive! Error prone!

Now, it’s a fully automated frevvo workflow with solid validation, business rules, LDAP and database connectivity. There’s less to fill out, less duplication, fewer errors and nobody driving around to pick up paper forms.

Interestingly, they already own SharePoint but chose to use frevvo for these workflows because it provided an easy-to-use solution that fully met business requirements at a fraction of the cost.

Want to do the same at your school? Contact frevvo today.

Posted in Forms, Google Apps for Education, Google for Work, k-12, Usability

Google Apps for Education Permission form. It’s crazy that the school sent us a piece of paper to sign.

It’s that time of year yet again. We got the usual packet of paper forms from Guilford Public Schools with a bunch of stuff to fill out. Emergency Contact, Permission forms etc. etc. I have to write my kid’s name, parent name, date, signature again and again. The Emergency Contact form even has a box that says “check if there are changes” but even if there aren’t any, you have to write it all out again. One of our friends has 4 kids in the school system. It’s silly and aggravating and a waste of time.

Google Apps Permission formOne of the most incongruous is the Permission form for Google Apps for Education. Here we are promoting these cool, digital apps for our kids to use yet we have to resort to paper for the permission signature, trust that the kids will hand them in, and store them somewhere. So, I decided to see how quickly I could make the whole thing electronic.

Here’s the form itself or click the image. It took about 30 min to create – mostly in copying/pasting and formatting the text. (I used a different one from the web rather than our Guilford schools form since ours is physical paper and I couldn’t even copy/paste.)

  • You can open it on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • There are links to the appropriate Federal laws in case you want to read more.
  • Sign electronically and Submit.
  • As a parent, it’s nice to get a copy by email for my records.
  • Why file paper? After all you’re using Google Apps. When you submit, the PDF will be uploaded to Google Drive, where it’s safely stored, backed up, and accessible anytime.

It was trivial to do with frevvo and the whole thing is incredibly affordable – definitely costs far less than the price of paper, ink, filing and mailing. You don’t have to worry about kids not bringing the forms in or storing it somewhere. With frevvo, you can also combine multiple permission forms into a sequence so duplicate information (student name, parent name etc.) only has to be filled in once. More on that another time.

Interested? Learn more by visiting our web site and contact us today.

Posted in Forms, Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Education, Google for Work, Google Spreadsheets, Mobile, Usability, Workflows

10 reasons to choose frevvo over Google Forms

Google Forms is a great free option for the simplest forms. But, business forms very quickly go beyond the basics and frevvo is a powerful and affordable option. So, why should you pay for forms? Here are a few real-world reasons. frevvo + Google Apps Click this link if you prefer to watch a 5m video.

  1. Confirmation email: You’ve put up an event registration form and you’re collecting responses in a Google Spreadsheet. Obviously, you want to send a confirmation email. With Google forms, get ready to write code. With frevvo, it’s a few clicks in a wizard.
  2. Signatures: It’s one of the most common things you might do. From Emergency Contact forms for students to Purchase Requisitions to Employee On-boarding to Patient Information, everyone needs to collect a signature. With frevvo, sign using your finger on a touchscreen device or a mouse on the desktop. No need for wasteful printing and scanning. Try an example now.
  3. PDF Generation: Sometimes you just have to generate a specific PDF. Maybe a Government W-4 or I-9 for HR or a Permission form that needs to be filed away. Another thing that frevvo just does without a fuss. Try an example now.
  4. Workflow: Forms rarely live by themselves. Most business forms have an associated workflow where person 1 fills out the forms and others comment, review, and sign them. frevvo comes with built-in routing, notifications, task lists, audit trails and more. Watch this 3m video to learn more.
  5. Responsive, mobile forms: Need to support smart phones and tablets? Of course, you do. With frevvo, there’s nothing to do. Our forms and workflows just work automatically and naturally on all devices. Watch this 4 min video, check out these blog articles or try any of the examples in this article.
  6. Attachments: Expense reports, purchase orders, student applications you name it – users need to attach supporting documents all the time. Just drag in an Upload control and it just works with frevvo. On a mobile device, users can just take a photo with the camera and attach it. Another thing you simply can’t do with Google Forms. Try an example now.
  7. Save documents to Google Drive: Ok, your form or workflow is now generating some documents – a PDF or two, some attachments. What to do with them? Email, print and file them away? frevvo integrates with Google Drive so you can simply save your documents online so they’re easy to find, backed up and secure. Try an example here.
  8. Dynamic pick lists from a Google Spreadsheet: Do you have dynamic forms? For example, the user picks a value from a pick list and the form needs to do something – maybe populate a few other fields from some back end. With frevvo, you can pull this dynamic information from a Google Spreadsheet no less. Try an example here. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. frevvo forms are incredibly dynamic and sophisticated – database, REST services, XML/XSD it’s all built-in.
  9. Multiple languages: Unprecedented demographic shifts in the U.S. are creating a communications gap between organizations and their customers. frevvo can help you combat these language barriers. Provide access in multiple languages (frevvo works in all languages worldwide) so they can provide important information easily and accurately. When complete, the system can generate PDF confirmations in multiple languages. Try an example here: Spanish version and English version.
  10. Calculations: frevvo forms can perform sophisticated calculations including using cloud services. Try this example that does automatic mileage calculations using the Google Distance Matrix API. Subtotals and totals, tax calculations etc. – it’s a normal requirement for business forms and trivial to do with frevvo.
  11. Bonus Reason – LOOKS: Let’s face it. Good looks matter. The nicer your forms look and the better the user experience, the more likely it is that users will complete your forms and do so accurately. frevvo looks fantastic everywhere, strives for a people-first user experience, is easy to brand and customize and provides a world-class user experience.

There’s a lot more like an intuitive drag & drop Form Builder, Conditional Sections, Spaces (built-in portals), Geo-Location, sophisticated XML/XSD-based integration, powerful API for embedding, Database connectivity, LDAP support and on and on and on …

Want to learn more? Learn more by visiting our web site and contact us today. STILL want to try Google Forms?

Posted in Forms, k-12, Mobile, Usability

Make life easier for parents

General Permission (English)
General Permission form with signature (English)

Like everyone else parents are busy people with too many things to think about. Filling out student forms by hand and signing them is just another thing to worry about.

Often a school will have a PDF form on its website – see the General Permission forms on this school’s website – that can be filled out online (fillable PDF). But, notice that the signature typically can’t be completed online and the PDF has to be printed, signed and sent back with the student or scanned and e-mailed to the school. Tedious, frustrating and wasteful.

General Permission (Spanish)
General Permission form with signature (Spanish)

Make life easier for these busy parents with frevvo. Try the General Permission form by clicking the images or here for the English version or here for the Spanish version. It can be integrated with your back end system or with Google Apps for Education to automatically pre-populate student information (less work for the parent, fewer mistakes). Sign electronically. The form automatically works on smart phones and tablets. It cannot be submitted with invalid or incomplete content.

After signing, click the View PDF links (English and Spanish) to see the exact original PDF generated from the form. See that the form can be filled in Spanish and still generate an English PDF and vice versa.

Enter your email address (we won’t store it or use it for any other purpose) and check your email. Does your organization use Google Apps? The documents can be automatically uploaded to a folder in Google Apps.

Simplify routine form filling for parents, save time and money for your school and get rid of one more annoying little detail. What’s not to like? Contact frevvo to learn more.

Posted in Approval Process, Google Apps for Education, Google for Work, Google Spreadsheets, k-12, Workflows

Field trips should be about learning not permission forms

The world is your classroom – learning can and should happen outside the school. Field trips have been instrumental in education for hundreds of years. But a valuable learning experience takes significant planning and execution.

One of the most tedious aspects of a field trip is getting the requisite parental permissions. It means handing out paper forms to students, hoping that students bring them to their parents, collect the signature and return the forms to the teacher. It means following up with students and parents who forgot or lost the form. Wouldn’t you rather focus on the concepts and learning outcomes of the trip?

With frevvo, automating parental permissions is easyField Trip Permission Example. Click a button to initiate the process. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, the list of students, parent emails and other relevant information can be automatically retrieved from a Google Spreadsheet. Fill in some field trip information and click to initiate the authorization workflows. That’s it.

frevvo will send an email to each parent with a link that they can click on. Student and field trip information is pre-filled. All parents need to do is fill in a couple of Emergency Contact fields, sign electronically (smart phone, tablet or desktop) and Finish.

A PDF will be generated and e-mailed to the teacher with a copy to the parent. It contains all required data including the parent signature. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, the PDF can also be stored in Google Drive in the appropriate location or to your document management system. No need to file away paper slips. Of course, if necessary, you can always print the PDF.

Click the image or this link to try it for yourself. Contact us to learn more about frevvo’s solutions for education.

Posted in Approval Process, k-12, Workflows

Automatic mileage calculation using the Google Distance API

A workflow for mileage reimbursement is a routine business approval workflow used in many organizations. Unfortunately, it’s usually a PDF form (for example, see here and here). The person filling it out must calculate the miles by doing things like subtracting odometer readings, adding them up for the total mileage and figuring out the reimbursement amount.

What a complete wasteMileage Reimbursement form of time!! With frevvo, everything is automated. Enter your origin and destination and the workflow will use the cloud-based Google Distance Matrix API to calculate the travel distance and enter it into the form. Of course, it’ll automatically do all the totaling, and use the latest mileage reimbursement rate to calculate the reimbursement amount.

Try it yourself by clicking the image or this link.

Why make your employees waste valuable time on unproductive things? Automating your approval workflows with frevvo will make your employees happier and simultaneously save you a surprising amount of time and money. Doesn’t get any better than that. Interested? Contact frevvo today.

Posted in Approval Process, Forms, k-12, Workflows

What’s the ROI of using frevvo to replace PDF-based approval workflows in your school?

Are your teachers and staff burdened with unnecessary paperwork for even the most routine approvals like taking a day off or purchasing supplies? E-mailing PDF documents around for approvals is surprisingly time-consuming and, ultimately, expensive.

ROI Calculator

Click the image to try out this ROI Calculator to see how much just one of these paper-based approvals is costing you and how quickly you can start saving money each and every month.

Interested? Contact frevvo today.