Today, business takes place online and on mobile all around the globe, 24/7. Automating everyday business processes and workflows has become hugely important in 2018 as many companies realize that … Continue reading These 5 Global Trends Will Influence Business Automation in 2018+
Over the last 20 years, manufacturers had to learn to compete at the “Walmart price”. Service providers were largely unaffected. After all, you couldn’t manufacture a cab ride or a hotel room in China. How things have changed. No matter what you do, technology and automation are creeping into every area of your business and there are dozens of startups with the brains and funding to compete.
Every business must now learn to compete at the “Amazon price” but also at “Google speed”. In this environment, manual processes simply don’t stand a chance. You must automate or die.
Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime
From travel bookings and maps to online banking to highway tolls, we are already using automation in our daily lives. For your business, automating routine, day-to-day operations will make a fundamental difference. We’re talking about 50% efficiency improvements and literally changing what employees do. It’s heady and scary stuff.
Five things to keep in mind
Where to start? I.T. is overloaded, mobility requirements are soaring, there’s a serious skills gap, security is a concern, and data integration and scalability are challenging. It’s enough to make ones head spin. Nevertheless, you must get started TODAY!
1. Start small but Start NOW
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates.
The best advice I can give you is to get a quick win. Don’t try to automate everything or get bogged down in I.T. committees. Find one everyday workflow – ideally it’s repetitive, with simple routing and reasonably frequent – and gain that first success.
2. Set goals and don’t be shy.
“If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” – Alice in Wonderland
The potential ROI of automating routine workflows is astounding. Shoot for at least 25% cost savings AND similar productivity gains. Don’t be surprised if you end up seeing even more.
3. Focus on the User Experience. Especially, on Mobile.
“How come my $5 smartphone app is easier to use than your $5,000,000 system?” – Every Millennial
Usability should be your #1 concern. For many people, especially millennials, their smartphone is the hub of their lives. You cannot drop them into jarring, old-style experiences and expect adoption. Your shiny new application needs to look fantastic and work fast. Modern, workflow automation platforms make it easy.
4. Involve your people from A-Z
“We humans have a love-hate relationship with our technology. We love each new advance and we hate how fast our world is changing.” – Daniel H. Wilson
Get your people involved early. They’ll be more invested in the solution if they’ve had a chance to impact it. They might also be concerned: is this automation going to eat my job? For the vast majority, the answer is no. It’ll help them do their job better and make them more valuable. For example, should teachers be spending time recording absences, getting travel or leave approved, filing reimbursements? Or teaching?
5. Analyze everything
“Data is the new oil.” – CEOs everywhere.
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.
Still need convincing?
Neither AirBnB nor Uber existed 10 short years ago. The world is changing and changing unbelievably fast. Will your company’s products and services in 2020 only be marginally better than they are today running on manual processes with workarounds and redundant work? Or will they be smart, personalized, automated and offered at price points unimaginable today?
Get started now and you too can reap massive benefits from automation. Download this white paper to learn more.
… or Amazoned or AirBnB’d? Think about it. When was the last time you went into a travel agency to book your flight? Printed out directions for your road trip? Walked into the bank to write a check for cash? We can’t remember either.
Automation isn’t coming; it’s here!
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 isn’t just about driving 5% cost reductions but 50% (or more) in parts of your operations. It’s about changing and enhancing what your people do, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
You have to start TODAY!
Manual knowledge processes do not stand a chance. In a world of “Amazon cost” and “Google speed”, you have to automate. But how? I.T. is overloaded. Where do you start?
Download this white paper which discusses workflow automation, how your organization can benefit, and how you can evaluate and deploy a visual, low-code platform like frevvo for your automation needs.
Visit our website to learn more and sign up for a free trial.
October 24, 2017 @ 1533 UTC. At this instant in time, my inbox has 9401 emails. I’ve tried everything to efficiently find and manage emails in my inbox – Starring emails, labeling them as TODOS, leaving important emails unread, tried Boomerang to make emails come back to the top at a later time, the works!! Here’s the reality:
Email is simply not an efficient workflow tool or document management system or really any sort of systematic task management system.
And yet, so many everyday processes are still managed by email. Customers routinely appreciate the advantages of managing their day-to-day activities like Purchase Orders, Employee On-Boarding and Travel Authorization with a workflow management system like frevvo instead of email. Some of the things we hear:
1. Improved Visibility
Probably the most common issue. I need my authorization; where is it currently stuck? Did my manager approve it? Is it now waiting for the VP or the CFO? Time spent chasing down signatures is 100% wasted. It’s incredibly inefficient and frustrating. What’s worse, your business is slowed down because an employee cannot purchase the much-needed item since it’s pending approval.
2. Pre-fill data to avoid repetitive work
The second most common thing we hear. Many times e.g. Employee On-Boarding the process involves multiple forms. But, there’s common data across these forms. It’s incredibly tedious to fill the same thing in over and over. Electronic forms remove this unnecessary work – common fields will be copied automatically. In addition, integration with SQL databases and other back end business systems implies that forms and workflows can be pre-populated with business data so users don’t have to type it in.
3. Who’s next? Accurate Routing
Business processes within organizations are complicated. I can’t tell you how many Excel spreadsheets I’ve seen with lengthy instructions on how to route for approval. If the Department is Sales and the Amount is over $5,000, you must get approval from your
Manager and VP unless it’s coming from Canada in which case you need to also get Regulatory approval and on and on … This stuff doesn’t belong in a spreadsheet; with an automated workflow, you can properly encode it and use business rules to ensure that the approval is automatically routed to the right person at the right time.
4. Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device
I need my Travel authorized but my manager is traveling on business. We’ve experienced this ourselves when a customer decides to go ahead and buy a frevvo license but has to wait 2 weeks until their manager returns from a trip. In today’s world, it’s inexcusable. Electronic notifications can be delivered instantly and managers should be able to pull up an approval, review it and sign using their smartphone at anytime from anywhere in the world. There’s no reason to slow your business down.
5. Timely Reminders
Sometimes, people simply don’t take action in a timely manner. They’re busy or distracted with other priorities or simply forget. Employees must then send a follow-up email as a reminder and chase down the signature. An electronic workflow can be configured to automatically send reminder notifications as required without wasted manual work.
6. Handle Vacations & Escalations
Of course, we don’t expect people to be at their smartphone 24×7, especially when they’re on vacation. That’s what escalations are for. If the manager doesn’t approve within 48hours due to vacation, maybe the VP can step in. But, employees don’t know that and don’t necessarily take the right action. They might decide to just wait for their manager to return. Electronic workflows can delegate to others for vacation or escalate automatically to a peer or supervisor when a time limit expires.
7. Eliminate Errors
Customers frequently talk about how people do the wrong thing and fail to follow the desired process. The routing might be wrong, there’s missing data, there could be calculation errors or the email gets put into the wrong folder. With electronic forms and workflows, that’s a thing of the past. The routing is automatic, data validation and completeness can be enforced and there’s no question of losing emails since you can find pending items on your built-in task list.
8. Go Green: don’t Print, Sign & Scan
Email-based processes typically mean a PDF or Excel sent around. In most cases, an actual signature is required so customers find themselves printing the document(s), signing them by hand and scanning the signed document so that they can attach it to an email. It’s tedious and antiquated. After all, we don’t print boarding passes or driving directions anymore. With electronic signatures, a manager can simply bring up documents on their computer or mobile device and sign using the mouse or a touchscreen device. It’s fast, instantaneous and there’s nothing to print.
frevvo provides point-and-click software to easily design any form and automate any workflow in a matter of days & weeks. It includes an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop form designer, connectors, workflows, visual business rules, built-in mobile, PDF generation, electronic signatures and a host of capabilities for real-world business problems.
And now, better get back to my inbox – it’s already up to 9427 emails.
Are you wondering if you should automate your routine day-to-day approvals? You’d be amazed at the Return on Investment. Let’s do a quick analysis. Approval workflows are usually at least 3 steps long and, often quite a bit longer. For now, let’s consider a 3-step workflow:
- Performed by an Employee, for example, asking for a Travel Authorization or Purchase Requisition. Maybe a Salesperson is trying to get a PO from a Client and needs Manager approval for special pricing. Let’s say this employee costs $80,000/year including benefits, vacation, taxes and other costs. Typically this would translate 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 away (email folder, network drive, paper filing cabinet, document management system). Let’s assume this person costs $60,000/year inclusive of all costs. Maybe they work part-time.
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, Time Sheets, 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.
It’s amazing how much the 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.
Try it yourself by clicking the button below.
It’s often hard to see how much those paper/email workflows are really costing you. Visit our website to view customer success stories and signup for a free trial.
I spend a lot of time with our customers. Most of them easily grasp the benefits of process automation. But many of them still have questions that generally fall into the “Will it work with my _____”?
Automating manual processes helps reduce paperwork and increase efficiency for a 50 or 5000-person company, for those who prefer Cloud or On-Premise, independent of where the organization operates, and the systems you have. Let’s look at how:
Your customers, partners and users want to interact with your organization on their own timelines. Often, they’re distributed all over the world.
If you can only process Sales Orders, Purchase Requisitions and routine approvals during business hours in your timezone, you’re probably losing business and wasting people’s time.
Automated workflows with frevvo are instantly available 24×7 – there’s no need to wait till you’re in the office at your desk, approvals can be processed from any time zone worldwide and your business can flow faster.
Today’s organizations are distributed worldwide. Your workflows need to be the same. Imagine a student trying to get approval from his/her Faculty Advisor for a time-critical paper or conference travel request. The Professor might be attending a conference, or giving a lecture at the Shanghai campus.
With frevvo the Professor can simply approve the request and sign it wherever in the world he/she is. The student doesn’t have to waste time chasing down the signature.
And, you won’t even have to worry about absent-minded Professors – frevvo’s software can automatically remind them if they don’t get around to signing in a timely manner
Workflow on Any Device
Mobile is everywhere. I’m sure there’s no need to expand upon that. Students, workers, patients, customers all work with your organization on a bewildering array of mobile devices.
Your forms and workflows simply must work on mobile. They must be responsive, they must look and feel natural and they must be fast enough for slower mobile networks. It’s not trivial to do and the shortage of mobile developers exacerbates the problem.
Luckily, there’s frevvo. Simply design your forms and workflows once using your desktop browser and let frevvo worry about the details. They’ll just work automatically on all devices from tiny smartphone screens to large, hi-res tablets. Of course, you can customize as desired and it isn’t even that hard to do.
Workflow on Any Platform
Does your business like the Cloud or do you prefer On-Premise systems where you can control security, access to data etc.?
Do you prefer Linux, Windows or some other flavor of server? Authenticate using Active Directory, Google, or some other LDAP server? Do users prefer Chrome or Firefox or Internet Explorer? What about customers?
With frevvo you don’t have to sweat these details. If you prefer Cloud, we have you covered. frevvo Cloud runs on AWS with all the latest security patches and updates and backups and policies. It’s reliable and trustworthy and works for many customers.
Not for you? We also offer the same software On-Premise. Install it behind your firewall on the server platform of your choice. Authenticate and authorize using your preferred system. Use your preferred browser. You simply don’t need to think about these issues anymore.
Workflow for Any One
Who needs to use your forms and workflows? Employees? Clients? Partners? Patients? Students? The answer is everyone.
Of course, the way they use the systems, the items they have access to, the responsibilities they each have are all different and your process automation system needs to support these different modes.
Again, frevvo’s got you covered. You can route your forms and workflows to specific users, groups of users (roles) or anonymously outside your organization. These can all be determined dynamically at runtime (a common business requirement). You can control who can edit forms and flows, who can view or edit submissions, who can administer flows and a host of other items within frevvo. It’s really workflow for everyone.
Workflow with Any Data
Which systems store your business data? If you’re like most of our customers it’s often easier to ask “What don’t we have?” Data is stored in a massive variety of systems: multiple SQL databases, HR systems, Accounting systems, online Google spreadsheets, SharePoint, Google Drive, box.com, any number of document management systems and on and on and on.
Your forms and workflows are simply going to be more useful if they can interact with your data wherever it is. They’ll need to read data from these systems and probably create/update data and documents in those systems as well.
Guess what? frevvo’s pretty good at that too. Our connectors provide seamless access to business systems, databases, applications, and cloud services you use every day. In many cases, it’s through point and click wizards that are easy to use and eliminate mistakes. It’s easy to connect your workflows to the world and make life even easier for your users.
Workflow in Any Language
What language do your users speak? Today, even small organizations are distributed all over the world. Certainly, your constituents (customers for a business, the local community for a K-12 school, parents & students worldwide for the typical University) increasingly come from diverse backgrounds and speak multiple languages.
For example, everyone’s probably familiar with school permission forms. In many U.S. communities, these forms need to be available in English and Spanish. In larger ones, there could be many more languages in the mix. For example, Los Angeles provides its material in 8 languages.
Luckily, frevvo takes care of that for you. Our forms and workflows can be easily configured for any language worldwide. Even Right-to-Left languages like Hebrew or Arabic. Those pesky Permission or Emergency Contact forms: parents can fill them out in any language and frevvo can still generate a PDF for you or save the data for you in English (or the language of your choice).
So, you see, it doesn’t matter if you’re just a few dozen people or 10,000. It doesn’t matter where you work, when you work, what language you speak or systems you use. You too can automate your workflows and reap the benefits. It’s truly workflow any_____.
frevvo is point-and-click workflow software that connects your people, data and systems. We have already helped over 750 customers transform inefficient processes into fully automated workflows. Check out our complete platform or contact us for more information.
In March 2017 APQC surveyed organizations with high transactional volumes to understand the impact of automating the sales order entry process on performance and practices. The resulting infographic (below) shows how organizations that have adopted sales order automation have improved customer satisfaction, data capture for analytics purposes, and operational efficiency.
We’ve seen this ourselves at frevvo as we’ve automated our own internal approvals. It’s far easier and more efficient than managing them through email.