[Infographic] Cloud + Mobile Approvals drive Business Agility

Cloud & Mobile = Business AgilityCompanies moving aggressively to adopt cloud computing are winning competitive advantage by reducing complexity and increasing business agility, according to a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

What is Business Agility?

It’s hard to define. Wikipedia’s article acknowledges that it has multiple issues. We’ll define it as the ability to react in a timely manner to changing business conditions. That could mean any number of things such as responding to customer complaints on social media or quickly creating new offerings to take advantage of the latest hot trend.

In many cases, this means giving your employees the ability to take the right action at the right time. Whether they’re at work in the office or on the road traveling to a meeting. At their desk or on the train.

That means automating and mobile-enabling everyday processes like purchase approvals, sales orders, trouble tickets and so on. These are routine day-to-day activities that employees spend a significant portion of their day on. They’re unique to your organization and it’s difficult to find pre-packaged applications that meet your exact needs. It’s no surprise that process automation (forms, routing) is the #1 app enterprises plan to build in 2015.

Cloud computing is an essential enabler. AWS and its kin allow any business to support millions of users. Incredibly cheap storage solutions from Dropbox, Microsoft and others let you access your data from anywhere on any device.

And that’s exactly where frevvo comes in. With the drag & drop designer, easily create your own custom forms and automated approval workflows. They’ll just work automatically on any device from smart phones to tablets to desktop computers. Public, private or hybrid cloud options make fast, flexible and affordable deployment possible.

Business agility made easy. Check out this new infographic on how frevvo’s cloud & mobile solutions can help you and sign up now for a free 30-day trial.

Mobile web is the architecture of choice for Enterprise Mobility

Key Business FunctionalityEnterprises continue to build custom apps in 2015 to meet their business needs. Without question, one of those needs is enterprise mobility. 43% of respondents cited mobility (mobile web or apps) as a top business functionality or process critical for apps in 2015 (source: Outsystems/Techvalidate State of Application Development Survey) nearly triple the next highest item.

Customers, partners and employees want to interact with organizations anytime, anywhere and from any device for things like placing orders, approving purchases etc. But the number of devices, platforms and languages has exploded to the point where it’s impossible for even a large enterprise IT organization to keep up. What to do?

When building mobile apps, enterprises can choose between hybrid, mobile web and native architectures. Native has advantagesMobile Architectures like the best overall user experience and the ability to fully leverage device functionality. The problem is the explosion in platforms, screen sizes, devices and the sheer cost of building and supporting custom native apps for so many of them. It’s no wonder that 60+% of IT departments are turning to mobile web or hybrid technology for their business needs. Just 26% of enterprises intend to build native apps.

Makes sense to us. It’s exactly what we’re seeing as our customers automate their everyday approval processes like purchase requisitions, sales orders and expense reports. They’re nearly always custom and nearly always work better if they have access to critical data sitting in existing legacy systems. They always need to work on mobile devices so approvals can happen anytime and anywhere.

And yes! They’re definitely using mobile web-based apps to deploy these automated processes.

Cloud + Mobile = Inevitable !!

Mobile devices sold per secondAccording to Gartner, 1.2 billion smart phones and 216 million tablets were sold worldwide in 2014. That’s an astonishing 46 every second. At the same time, according to a recent Silicon Angle report, 82% of companies saved money by moving to the cloud and public cloud workloads are expected to grow by 44%. We live in a Mobile + Cloud world.

This inevitable nexus of forces is forcing companies to change how they do business. Customers expect to make purchases on their smart phones and get notifications instantly. Employees expect to perform day-to-day tasks like signing off on POs or vacation requests on their smart phones. Our devices can monitor our health, tell us when friends are nearby and guide us to our destinations.

Maribel Lopez wrote a great article at Forbes on What Mobile Cloud means for your Business. Truly mobile-enabling your company doesn’t just mean buying devices or instituting a BYOD policy. It means that your applications, workflows and services must be:
Cloud has 1 Exabyte of data

  • Device aware: Does the device support touch, gesture, voice navigation, camera? What is the available screen size?
  • Network aware: Can the application use location services? Will it work with erratic or slow connectivity?
  • Sensor aware: What type of data is available on the device?
  • Identity aware: How can you secure access not just to devices but to these mobile services?

Cloud computing is an essential enabler. Without AWS and its kin, how could small businesses support millions of users? Without incredibly cheap storage solutions from Dropbox, Microsoft and others, how would you access your data from anywhere on any device? Cloud-based meeting software like Go To Meeting allows small companies like ours to have a global presence and customer base. And, of course, without affordable workflows from frevvo and others, how could small businesses automate their workflows and increase the speed with which they do business?

It’s only going to get easier and more interesting as service providers increasingly publish Cloud APIs and Internet of Things (IoT) devices proliferate.

The combination of Mobile & Cloud fundamentally changes the equation for businesses. You don’t want to think of a Mobile Strategy and a Cloud Strategy but a combined strategy for both.

Leave Approval Workflows with Google Spreadsheets

Does your organization use Google Apps? If so, you can combine frevvo + Google Apps to create some really cool and useful solutions. For example, consider Leave Approvals. Everyone does it usually on a paper or Excel form sent by email. Wouldn’t it be nice if the form knew how many days of each type (Sick, Annual, Personal etc.) you had left? Usually, that means integrate with some HR system or buy an expensive solution.

frevvo + Google AppsNot so with frevvo + a Google Spreadsheet. Here’s a spreadsheet that contains employee information. Much simpler and easier to maintain for most people than a complicated HR system. And here’s a frevvo workflow that uses that spreadsheet. Try it out – pick an employee from the pick list at the top and frevvo gets the # of available days of each type from the spreadsheet, shows them in the Table and enables only rows where you have available days. The employee can sign electronically and the workflow is automatically routed to the supervisor.

When the leave is approved, frevvo will automatically update the Google Spreadsheet so it’s always kept in sync. Nothing manual to do.

Fast, easy and it’ll save your employees time. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

Run YOUR business from your phone

Salesforce.com’s CEO claims that he runs his entire business from his phone. We all have smart phones and use cloud services extensively yet how many of us can run even part of our business from a phone?

The problem is that every organization still has those pesky enterprise workflows. The things we must do day in and day out – sign sales orders, approve purchase requisitions, refer patients, on-board employee and so on. Usually, this means printing, signing and scanning – a long, long way from running your business on your phone.

With frevvo, you can take a big step in this direction easily. Everything just works automatically on mobile. Check out the short video below.

Of course, your organization is unique so we’ve made it super easy to customize the forms and workflows to suit your needs. It’s all in the cloud and frevvo is affordable, pay-as-you-go with no long-term commitments.

Give it a shot to see how easy it is. You really could be running YOUR business on your smart phone sooner than you think.

People First Design

Nowadays, most business software will sport the any device tag meaning you can use it on your phone, tablet or desktop. But all too often, this means adding some media queries to the existing desktop web application and throwing it on a mobile device. Usually, the result is a terrible user experience (UX).

Similarly, for web designers, mobile first has become the ‘buzzword du jour’. Mobile first prioritizes mobile devices over PCs and other devices. Might make sense for games, social networks etc. but blindly following this paradigm for enterprise apps also leads to a terrible user experience – see Windows 8 on the desktop.

At frevvo, we think People First

There’s no point in prioritizing the quirks of individual devices. Instead, we prioritize how people use apps on different devices and try to provide a natural user experience everywhere. It’s practically impossible for enterprise developers to do – they’ll almost always prioritize data integration and offline use over sexy screens and fast UX. Customers use frevvo to create enterprise apps like Employee On-Boarding. The designer is often not a professional developer but a business engineer. For our product, people first then translates into:

Let the business engineers design forms and flows to meet business requirements. We’ll take care of providing the natural user experience everywhere.

We’ve invested tons of effort in this area. I’ll highlight a few items below. All this works without the form/flow designer having to do anything.

  • Bigger everything: controls, buttons and icons are automatically a little bit bigger on mobile devices so they’re much easier to select or click with your finger.
  • Responsive: frevvo forms will automatically adjust to different screen sizes and orientations. Where it’s not possible to adjust the layout such as a Table, frevvo will add a scrollbar. It’s not easy – even Amazon and GMail can’t get it right.
  • Navigation: Break up a long form into multiple pages using a PageBreak control. frevvo will automatically add Back and Next buttons and enable/disable as necessary.
  • Look & Feel: Decorators & Styles provide that extra quality that makes for a beautiful and enjoyable UX. And, you can customize the appearance to suit your tastes without compromising the people first approach.

Portrait Landscape Desktop

  • Mobile aware controls: On mobile, date controls use the native picker as do drop down controls. Users can sign with their finger on the touch screen. Upload controls can use the camera to attach photos. Geo location uses the device’s built-in GPS.

Date Picker

  • Spaces: these handy mini-portals that come with frevvo look totally different depending on your device. On a mobile device, the user experience is natural – touch large icons with your finger vs navigating a drop down menu.
  • Task List: it looks and works differently depending on your device. As before, the priority is people first natural usability everywhere.

iPad Space

We’ll continue to invest more and more so customers don’t have to worry about CSS3 and HTML5 and can simply focus on their business requirements and be sure of a great enterprise UX.

If you got all the way here, thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Watch one or more short videos to quickly learn more or contact us for more information.