Tag: process automation

How to automate processes to achieve Digital Transformation

 

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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.

Check out the full article by our CEO with 5 tips on how you can achieve digital transformation over at business.com.

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Your 2020 Innovation Strategy? Three ways to embrace Digital Transformation.

alex-holyoake-334209-unsplash (1).jpgDigital 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.

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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

templatesTechnology 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.

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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

marc-wieland-52628-unsplash (1).jpgThe 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.

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Embrace the opportunity and get started TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.

Photos by Alex Holyoake and Marc Wieland on Unsplash

Want Digital Transformation? Start with your workflows.

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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?

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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

templates.pngTechnology 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

if_seo_web_3-19_1152167.pngOver-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.

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3. Enable Mobility

mobile-apps-175% 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.

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4. Business Agility

Business Value from Cloud

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

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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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Looking Ahead

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.

 

Stop Taxing your own future

Digital technology is convenient and fun. Apps that let us hail a cab, sensors in your shoes and shiny websites are all fun and remind us that “Software is indeed eating the world”.

In today’s business world, digital has moved from toys of convenience to core business processes that are at the heart of every organization. In most cases, these processes hide in their own disjointed silos along with their data. But, as digital accelerates business speed, automating these processes, linking them and surfacing their data to customer-facing operations is the first crucial step towards digitally transforming your business.

A Digital Operating Model

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The same people who’re used to shiny digital apps are also your customers, patients, students and employees. They want to interact with you online, 24×7, on their mobile phones using a variety of channels. To be truly successful, you have to invest in observing your customers, students & patients and in really understanding how they interact with your services, and what frustrates or inspires them. This access to critical data allows employees to be responsive to their constituents. Business analytics help make sense of that data so the organization can react quickly and make informed business decisions.

Process Automation is the Foundation

La-Cite.pngOrganizations that insist on “business-as-usual” with siloed processes and data lingering in the analog (paper) world risk being relegated to irrelevance. Automated processes allow you to jettison outdated business practices, free up employees to focus on work that’s actually important and unlock your most valuable asset (proprietary data).

To make a real difference, you owe it to yourself to go through your processes one by one, automate and connect them across the disparate systems and silos in your organization so you can create amazing new digital experiences for your constituents.

There’s “Hidden Treasure” in Process Automation

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The best part is there are huge cost-reduction benefits to automating your day-to-day workflows. We’re talking about driving 50% or greater cost reductions in parts of your back office operations. Smart organizations will invest those savings right back into digital innovation. Failure to do so is like imposing a tax on your own future. If you don’t take advantage of process automation to lower costs, how will you invest in the myriad technologies and innovations needed to win in a fully digital world? Software should be eating your back office too.

A Roadmap for Digital Transformation

Convinced that you need to dive into process automation? 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!

The good news is that it’s getting easier. New visual, low-code, drag-and-drop software platforms like frevvo are making it easier to automate routine processes and infuse “digital” into operations. A platform like frevvo dramatically increases productivity since it enables citizen developers not just coders-by-trade to automate processes. Included responsive design tools mean that the resulting web applications automatically work on all devices and are easy to update.

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frevvo’s platform also doesn’t require the same skill set as native app development does thereby addressing one of the most important barriers to mobility.

Point-and-click wizards enable processes to use data in a variety of systems from Cloud-based systems like Salesforce and box.com to Microsoft SharePoint and internal SQL databases. When automated workflows can connect to systems and use data, they’re simply far more useful.

Finally, frevvo is available in the Cloud enabling customers to add-on and remove capacity as needed. Cloud providers have years of experience scaling their systems and keeping them secure. In fact, the vast majority of Cloud systems are far more secure than their data- center counterparts.

A modern workflow automation platform like frevvo provides transformative benefits:

  • Streamlined, efficient workflows that allow employees to focus on customers.
  • Built-in mobility.
  • Business agility to react quickly to changing market conditions.
  • Dashboards that provide insights into your business and facilitate optimization of processes.
  • Data-driven decision making.

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.

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Visit our website to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

“Out with the old” is just as important as “In with the new”

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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.

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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.

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Automation isn’t coming; it’s here and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime

digital-transformation-value.pngJust 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.

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You have to start TODAY! Visit our website and contact us to learn more.

Amazon price! Google Speed! Five things to help you compete.

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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.

A version of this article also appeared in Forbes.
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