Top I.T. Teams embrace digital and tech trends

Salesforce Research’s 2016 State of I.T. report is filled with interesting observations. More key findings:

High performers are 4.2X more likely to implement digital transformation across their company.

digital-transformation

Source: Salesforce Research 2016 State of I.T. Report

I.T.’s role has clearly evolved dramatically from just “keeping the lights on” to acting as innovation leaders and digital experts. The most innovative and successful I.T. organizations are expected to deliver cutting-edge customer-driven applications.

Yet, they still need to deliver on typical internal needs. Key needs such as improving worker efficiency, data visibility and automating routine, everyday business processes still top the charts when it comes the top outcomes I.T. teams strive to achieve.

core-it-focus

Source: Salesforce Research 2016 State of I.T. Report

Whether it’s internal productivity applications or external customer-facing applications, the facts are that everyone expects modern and mobile technology with a beautiful user experience.

As a result, top teams are not afraid to take risks. In fact:

High performers are 3.7X more likely to excel at staying ahead of technology trends.

Learn how you too can get started implementing game-changing solutions for your organization. Check out these Purchase Order (~7m) and Employee On-Boarding (~8m) videos. See how you can start with a pre-built frevvo template and, in a matter of minutes, have a fully automated workflow that works on all devices, provides a great user experience, and can instantly help improve employee efficiency.

4 of the top 7 I.T. challenges are skills-related

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Source: Salesforce 2016 State of I.T. report

This is another key insight from Salesforce’s 2016 State of I.T. report.

Four of the top seven pain points that I.T. leaders face are related to the skills gap. One-third of I.T. teams struggle to keep skills current.

We’re not surprised – it’s a common theme that keeps coming up. It is probably the single most important reason customers buy our product. They just don’t have enough skilled I.T. resources and the ones they have are too busy fighting fires like dealing with legacy systems or problems with the database. Who’s got the time to make life easier for employees by automating the routine day-to-day stuff? After all, it’s working. Kind of. Inefficiently. But it’s not an immediate fire.

That’s why frustrated business people turn to frevvo – we obsess about the user interface and make it easier and easier to meet key business requirements like electronic signatures and PDF generation (Government W-4) using fewer scarce resources.

72% of I.T. leaders say that addressing the talent shortage will be absolutely critical over the next 5-8 years and most of them think it’s an immediate top priority.

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Source: Salesforce Research 2016 State of I.T. report

frevvo can help – automate your routine, day-to-day workflows in our secure cloud. You can do it in days and weeks rather than months and years. frevvo is so easy to use that you don’t need to use your scarce programmers & coders to automate workflows. And, automating the routine stuff saves everyone time and makes your business more efficient – a virtuous feedback loop since your talented employees can focus on more important things than chasing down signatures.

Learn more by visiting our website where you can read Customer Success Stories, view some examples and sign up for a free 30-day trial.

 

Hybrid Cloud Adoption has hit its stride

Rightscale just released their brand new 2016 State of the Cloud Survey with some interesting insights. It affirms what many other reports have concluded: Cloud Adoption is growing and

Hybrid Cloud is the preferred strategy in enterprises.

hybrid-201671% of companies are using hybrid cloud environments. It makes sense: for Cloud Apps to be truly useful, they need access to internal systems. That’s just common sense. We see our customers choosing hybrid cloud for many reasons but the most important one is:

Business processes running in the cloud are far more effective if they’re integrated with important data in business systems such as HR systems, databases and authentication systems.

These systems won’t go to the Cloud overnight for sure and maybe not for years. Hybrid Cloud is then obvious. If you’re a CIO, you can take an incremental approach and start seeing benefits quickly without having to move internal business systems and data wholesale to the cloud.

Our customers are increasingly taking advantage of this approach. We provide a Database Connector, secure Active Directory/LDAP support, Microsoft Azure AD, SAML for single sign on, a File Connector so you can save files to a network drive, and a Google Apps Connector so you can update a Google Sheet and/or upload files to Google Drive.

 

Visit our website to learn more and sign up for a free 30-day trial.

15 Cloud Services we LOVE for our own business

cloud4At frevvo, we LOVE Cloud. Sure, we sell more and more cloud-based solutions to our customers many of whom are themselves small businesses. But so are we! And, we use many cloud services to lower costs and accelerate our own business. We love not having to worry about infrastructure, mobile access, automatic upgrades etc. Here are some cloud services we use today:

  1. frevvo Live Forms: A no-brainer for us. We absolutely eat our own dog food. Our everyday approvals are automated using our own product – everything from Expense Reports to Leave Approvals to Sales Orders to Training Registrations to you name it. We see firsthand how much more efficient we are as a result and we’re even more excited to bring that efficiency to customers.
  2. Email & Calendar: This is a no-brainer and no SMB has any business operating their own email. We use GMail and Google Calendar on our own domain. It’s easy and low cost, well supported and reliable. It’s super easy to quickly find relevant emails. We also like several of the plugins that you can add into GMail.
  3. Infrastructure: As a Cloud provider, this is obviously a key service for us. We use Amazon Web Services (AWS). EC2 for compute, S3 for storage and RDS for the database. AWS is amazing. Costs keep going down, it’s incredibly reliable and they keep adding useful new stuff.
  4. Sales CRM: We use SFDC (salesforce.com). SFDC has its problems for sure and it’s not cheap (costs can rise quickly). But, this is such a key function that it’s not where you want to compromise. We also like the App Exchange and the fact that so many other cloud services integrate with SFDC.
  5. Marketing: We use Marketo. We’re relatively new to it so not a whole lot of experience. We’ve found that it integrates really well with SFDC which was a huge plus. As we automate more things, we’re expecting it to save us time and become more efficient. Not sure about their GMail plugin yet.
  6. Billing: Freshbooks is working brilliantly for us. We don’t have to worry about credit cards and PCI compliance, it’s drop dead simple to use, works overseas (we have customers all over the world) and it’s very affordable. We’ve also integrated frevvo forms/workflows using their API so billing is automated as much as possible.
  7. Customer Support: We’re deciding between Zendesk and desk.com. Both cloud services. Again, integration with SFDC is critical for us. Of course, a nice interface that’s usable by customers is also a key consideration. We’ll see where we end up but a cloud-based service here is inevitable.
  8. Accounting: Quickbooks is a no-brainer. I think it costs us around $50 or $75 per month for a full-fledged accounting system that meets our needs. We also like the fact that it can be integrated with SFDC though we haven’t reached that point yet.
  9. Web Analytics: Google Analytics is free, extremely detailed and well supported. It’s an amazing product and impossible to beat the cost. Encrypting the search keyword sucks but that’s been discussed at length elsewhere.
  10. Online Documents: We need to share documents too and we’ve been very happy with Google Drive for that – it’s by far the cheapest choice and very convenient for sharing internal documents for quick and easy collaboration. Much nicer than emailing Excel/Word around.
  11. Office 365: It’s just a reality of the world we live in. You have to deal with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. And, in some ways, they are better than the alternatives e.g. Track Changes. Office 365 is also amazingly affordable. We can’t complain.
  12. Online Meetings / Webinars: We extensively use GoToMeeting for online meetings and GoToWebinar for webinars. Easy to use, inexpensive and [usually] quite reliable. Even though we’re small we’re distributed across multiple locations on 3 continents so sharing screens, built-in audio and video conferencing are essential. GTM works well. Of course, we also use Skype, IM (GTalk, MSN …) and the host of other chat tools out there.
  13. Email Marketing: We still use Constant Contact though, with Marketo being implemented, it may become redundant. Still, over the years, we’ve been a happy customer. It’s incredibly affordable and has been reliable for us.
  14. Phone System: Skype’s very popular, of course and they offer inexpensive Internet calling. But, it’s simply not good enough to be considered “a landline”. We currently use VOIP services from 8×8 for our phone and voicemail. It’s not dirt cheap but it’s not much money either and it’s been 100% reliable for us.
  15. Video: We’ve used Powtoon to create a few videos. It’s not clear how long we’ll continue. Yes, it’s inexpensive but it’s still a pain to create these videos and it’s very very limited in what you can do. Professionally made videos cost 10-20X as much each but may still be worth the money.

I’m guessing we might even use a few more but these 15 services have been really helpful over the years. I’m sure your business benefits from many cloud services too.

This article is an update to the original published about 2 years ago.

Cloud Security on your mind?

ds-explosionConcerned about Cloud Security? You’re not alone. A single breach can have a huge negative impact on your business. Even the Rebels destroyed the Death Star by exploiting a single security flaw.

cs-infoA staggering 90% of companies are very or moderately concerned about cloud security with the biggest worries being unauthorized access and malicious insiders.

Make frevvo your ally and you can rapidly take advantage of powerful, impactful cloud solutions today while minimizing security risks and decreasing your compliance costs. We know that data security is critical for your business. Check out this new infographic and see how our multi-layered approach can help you secure your information as we continuously monitor and improve your systems, processes and services.

Interested in learning more? Contact frevvo today to get a comprehensive overview of how you too can securely deploy everyday workflows on mobile devices using frevvo’s Cloud.

Verizon: Using the cloud is now just “table stakes”

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Everyone’s doing it

This, according to Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016 report (no signup required). 84% of Verizon’s enterprise-level cloud customers said their use of the cloud increased in the past year. Almost 100% of companies are using cloud in some formScreen Shot 2015-11-20 at 2.42.13 PM.

As a result, simply using the cloud isn’t that big a deal. Only 16% said that simply being in the cloud gives their company a significant advantage over competitors, down from 30% a year ago. Put another way: It’s not just the technology, it’s what you do with it.

The Pragmatists are the true believers

As the report says, the majority of companies are pragmatists. They’re moving things to the cloud incrementally – slowly knitting together enterprise-class infrastructure using standard cloud components tied together in a variety of ways. These companies are the true believers. They have existing applications but they’re so sure of the benefits of cloud that they’re rewriting the rulebook.

Hybrid cloud is now the preferred, mainstream solution

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 2.42.43 PMCompanies, especially large ones, just have legacy infrastructure. Asking them to move it all to the cloud is a non-starter. Combining public cloud, private cloud and existing on-premise systems (i.e. Hybrid Cloud) is the only pragmatic solution. While it’s complex, the technology is solid and the allure of transformative changes like new customer experiences, and business-agility benefits is impossible to resist. Many companies are turning to Managed Service Providers [such as Verizon Enterprise ;-)] to help build and manage their own customized environment.

 

Re-engineering business processes [on-demand]Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 2.45.05 PM

So, if everyone’s doing it, how can you gain significant advantage from the cloud? Again, it’s what you do with it. It’s when you use cloud-based solutions integrated with existing infrastructure to deliver new customer experiences (e.g. new ways to interact with customers on mobile devices), faster responses (employees can act anytime, anywhere and from any device) and business agility (roll out new initiatives in response to changing market conditions).

Put another way: use cloud to make sure your employees are doing the right thing at the right time instead of wasting time correcting errors, chasing down approvals from managers etc. Let them focus on customers rather than getting bogged down in internal I.T.

Security

Finally, there’s always the elephant in the room. How secure is all this Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 2.56.26 PMstuff? The evidence is that
Cloud is now seen as being at least as reliable and secure as traditional delivery models. So, while it’s important to keep an eye on security, the chances are your data is perfectly safe [and probably safer] in the cloud.

Interesting 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.

Computing is going in one direction – towards the Cloud

arstechnicacloudsCame across this article in Ars Technica UK (Warning: it’s a bit of an Infomercial with content sponsored by HP Enterprise), the basic premise is valid. We see similar trends in our customers.

Every CIO is interested in the cloud. It simply makes sense. You cannot compete with the cost structure of the large Cloud providers when it comes to basic infrastructure (servers, network etc.). When it comes to software, employees are also consumers and are accustomed to awesome user experiences on their mobile devices and apps that are regularly refreshed. Corporate I.T. departments simply cannot keep up. So whether it’s SaaS applications like GMail and Salesforce (who are finally rolling out a refreshed UI) or a product like ours which you can use to create your own customized SaaS-like application, corporate I.T. cannot expend the time, money and effort to refresh UIs, support the vast array of mobile devices, ensure 24×7 uptime and so on.

The Achilles heel is, of course, security. It’s hard to entrust some data to Cloud providers and all the high-profile hacks don’t help (even though, in reality, almost none of them affect cloud-based systems). And legacy business systems aren’t going anywhere [certainly not to the cloud] for many many years. So, there’s plenty of interest in private and hybrid cloud setups and we think it’s likely to continue for years.

That’s why, much as we prefer our customers to choose public cloud, we continue to offer both and will do so for the foreseeable future. Luckily for us, it’s the exact same software and we’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to offer too many variants (i.e. optional add-on features). The resulting increase in complexity isn’t worth it.

Read the original article here. Warning: you’ll have to wade through the infomercial fluff to get to the gist. Or, it’s summarized above for you 🙂