Forms are a part of life but they don’t have to be tedious and ugly. Clean, well-designed online forms help customers provide needed information quickly and painlessly. What if your existing employees could do it all using simple visual tools without coding?
Workflow automation is the foundation of digital transformation. But, automating everyday processes isn’t always easy. Dynamic forms, complex routing, e-signatures, mobility and more … it’s a lot to handle and that’s if you can find the necessary programming talent. What if your existing people could do it all using simple visual tools? Watch this brief video to see how easy it is with frevvo’s 100% visual, low-code platform.
To learn more, visit our website, try frevvo absolutely free for 30 days or contact us for more information.
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).
“As technology continues to go through metamorphoses and our understanding of users’ needs becomes more refined, good mobile form design is constantly evolving.”
– Quoted from above article
Getting your forms to be genuinely usable on mobile devices is hard but can have big benefits. Fortunately, with frevvo, you don’t have to worry too much about this. Let’s take a look at a few things mentioned in the above excellent article:
Last week, I came across this nice new infographic from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. As they say, “the skills gap is the difference between the technology available and the workforce’s ability to use it.”
Highlights of the infographic are:
Almost 40% of companies have a moderate to major skills gap. The resulting digital inefficiency can be deadly – costing you as much as 20% in lost productivity. Simple things like automating routine, everyday processes like Purchase Orders and Leave Approvals can go a long way.
We think citizen developers can make a huge difference, especially when they’re given access to and training on low-code platforms like frevvo. We see it in our customers all the time – citizen developers at many frevvo customers have helped to create incredibly effective, high-quality apps quickly and at reasonable cost.
Among pacesetters, who believe technology is essential to development and blaze the way forward, almost 80% use citizen developers.
You have little choice. You simply cannot afford to take months to create a web portal or mobile app. Mobile developers are extremely expensive if you can find them. There’s huge benefit and tremendous ROI to be gained from using a low-code approach for an increasing array of projects.
With every release of frevvo, there’s a little less code to write – whether through new and upgraded wizards or the Visual Rule Builder or a new connector.
frevvo’s forms and workflows already work well on mobile devices. They’ll automatically resize to fit your phone or tablet, the icons and controls will be slightly larger, long forms can be broken up into multiple pages etc. They just work without much tinkering if any.
But, customers want to embed them in their mobile web pages. Since the web page and form are usually served up from different hosts, we have to use an iframe. And iframes are notoriously difficult on mobile devices. It’s doubly tricky for us since the size of the form can change e.g. when the user selects a different Tab or expands/collapses a Section or clicks + to add a repeating item.
Fortunately, mobile browsers & devices have now evolved to where we can provide this to customers. As you can see from the slideshow above, frevvo’s own Contact form is embedded in our website and renders perfectly in an iframe on tablets and phones. The forms will resize automatically to the device width, they height will automatically increase if the form height changes (switch Tab, expand Section etc.) and device rotation will also work automatically. We’ll be rolling this out in the next few weeks and customers won’t have to do anything.
We’re also working on rolling out truly responsive forms on desktop browsers since we finally have no customers still using [the much-hated] IE8 and almost no one using IE9 either. But, that’s for another article.
In today’s business world, mobility has become synonymous with productivity in the workplace. The use of mobile technology has become a core aspect of everyday life, both at home and in the workplace.
70+% of the U.S. workforce will soon consist of mobile workers and mobile access has redefined how your employees work. They expect instant access to connected applications and information and this access has redefined how your employees work. They expect on-the-go access to their day-to-day business applications. The apps must fully work on all mobile devices and they also need to look good and be user-friendly. Otherwise, 60% of your employees will abandon your mobile app and revert to e-mailing PDFs around.
How will you deliver? Mobile apps that work on multiple platforms take forever, are absurdly expensive and require skills that are extremely difficult to find. If you don’t get it right, employees won’t use them.
Right now, our customers are creating customized apps for routine day-to-day approvals in days and weeks using existing [citizen] developers.
They don’t need HTML5 or CSS3 or Android app development skills and it doesn’t take 6 months and $100K to roll out a first beta version of the mobile app only to find out that employees hate the user experience and won’t even use it.
With frevvo, you too can easily start with a pre-built template and modify it to meet your business requirements. It’s easy and hundreds of customers are already doing it. We can help.
I came across this article about an IDC forecast on the U.S. mobile workforce. It links to an older version of the article but a newer one is here (payment required). IDC suggests that by 2020, the number of U.S. mobile workers will grow to 105.4 million and will make up an astounding 72.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
“Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work” – Bryan Bassett, Research Analyst, Mobile Enterprise: Device Solutions at IDC
Your employees expect to work on-the-go using their mobile devices – everything from responding to customers to routine day-to-day collaboration with colleagues. Yet, it’s practically impossible to find skilled native app developers and building mobile apps is absurdly expensive.
What’s a CIO to do? Turn to a platform like frevvo. Apps built using frevvo are wow-code, citizen-developer friendly, fast, effective and incredibly affordable. And, they just work automatically on all devices: desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
At frevvo, we just digitized a completely customized Purchase Order approval workflow for a University customer in 45 man-hours.
You too can effectively support those 3 in 4 workers who are rapidly transitioning to working on their mobile devices. They can fill out forms, sign documents, approve expenses, attach receipts and everything else in their daily work routine anytime, anywhere and from any device.
Low-code platforms dramatically increase productivity since they enable citizen developers not just coders-by-trade to develop applications. Citizen developers at many frevvo customers have helped to create incredibly effective, high-quality apps quickly and at reasonable cost.
At frevvo, we recently created a fully digital Purchase Order approval for a University customer that looks great, works on mobile devices and meets business requirements in just 45 hours. It’s hard to imagine anyone coding an app that quickly.
Companies have little choice. In today’s business world, they must respond quickly to a rapid changing environment. Taking months to create a web portal or mobile app is simply not an option for most. Mobile developers are extremely expensive if you can find them.
As the various underlying technologies mature and platforms like frevvo get better and better at taking advantage of these advances, there’s huge benefit and tremendous ROI to be gained from using a low-code approach for an increasing array of projects.
With every release of frevvo, there’s a little less code to write – whether through new and upgraded wizards or the Visual Rule Builder or a new connector (SharePoint is coming soon, major upgrades to the Database Connector are in the works) or an ever-increasing variety of pre-built templates. I’m sure other platforms like OutSystems are no different.
In Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about how demand for mobile apps is exploding but there are many barriers to overcome. Companies are looking for new ways to tackle the mobility challenge by choosing the right technology to fit the problem and spreading development among more people.
Alternatives to Native App Development
Everything needs to work on mobile. But it doesn’t have to be a native app. As technology has matured, companies have discovered that they no longer need to take a native-only approach to app development. Progressive web and responsive web have rapidly become mainstream as companies realize that these apps meet their business needs but they’re also much faster and cheaper to build. They also don’t require the same skill set that native app development does addressing one of the most important barriers to mobility.
Nowadays, mobility is about reaching users through all channels, especially mobile web browsers, as users often don’t bother to install an app.
As a result, I.T. professionals preference for native app development has steadily declined to where just 17% prefer it in 2017 down from almost 30% 2 years ago.
User expectations are exceedingly high and they want apps that not only deliver function, but that also look and feel amazing and alternative approaches are increasingly able to deliver.
Citizen Developers offer a viable alternative
Two-fifths (43%) are already supporting or planning to support citizen developers and it’s a trend that’s on the rise. Gartner predicts that 70% of large enterprises will empower citizen developers in the next 3 years.
These citizen developers can genuinely help companies get things done without the need to hire people with hard-to-find and expensive skill sets.
In companies that support citizen developers, over 50% are already prototyping and building departmental applications and almost a third (30%) are building employee-facing applications. Customer-facing and enterprise applications remain the province of professional coders by and large but citizen developers are making strides there as well.
Low-Code, Great UX and Citizen Developers
At frevvo, we see these trends converging in our customers. They’re often using frevvo for employee-facing applications like Purchase Approvals or Travel Authorizations.They definitely want to digitize these on mobile devices and they need to look great otherwise employees won’t use them. But, of course, spending $500K on a native mobile app each time is a non-starter.
Technologies like frevvo allow app development to be spread out among more people. That in turn eases pressure on IT teams, freeing them up to meet business needs.