Posted in HR Process Automation

Employee Onboarding in the Digital Workplace

Companies face fierce competition when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. 

The average millennial stays at a job for 6-12 months, 10-20 times shorter than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did. Considering that millennials make up some 75% of the workforce, it’s important to understand what millennials want from work and what they expect from their employers. Some 55% of millennials don’t feel fully engaged at work, and perhaps as a result, around 60% say they’re open to a better job opportunity, should one present itself.

While many businesses invest in modern office spaces and offer attractive perks like in-house baristas, free-beer Fridays and unlimited paid time off, they often neglect the internal processes that really shape company culture and impact employee turnover. Onboarding is one of these processes.

For most people, starting a new job is an exciting time. In the course of their research and the interview process, they’ve been won over by the company’s messaging and purpose, and most new hires start out eager to find their feet and prove their worth and integrate into the team as quickly as possible. Instead, they often spend their first days at a new job isolated and mired in paperwork. 

In this digital age, onboarding should be about more than getting a bunch of forms filled out. When done strategically, onboarding can be a valuable tool to instill loyalty in new employees by making them feel valued and engaged from the word go. By digitizing as much of the traditional employee onboarding process as possible and embracing onboarding prior to their start date, you create the opportunity to focus on human engagement during your new hire’s first days instead.

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Posted in HowTo, Workflows

Creating a Digital Signature Workflow

Are you still printing documents only to sign them and scan them again?

A growing number of businesses are moving away from paper-based forms and contracts and embracing electronic forms and digital signatures. These recent advances facilitate workflow automation, which increases efficiency, reduces errors, promotes transparency and slashes business costs. 

In the past, forms that require multiple signatures either involved someone physically carrying or messengering or mailing the document to the next party to sign, or each person printing, signing, scanning and emailing the form to the next party. Getting a document that needed multiple signatures signed could take days or weeks, particularly if the signatories were in different locations. 

Enter live forms with digital signatures and automated approval routing, and that painstaking process can be boiled down to mere minutes. 

Let’s take a closer look.

What Are Digital Signatures?

Digital signatures represent an individual’s verified digital identity, enabling them to digitally sign documents in a way that is valid and binding. Digital signatures use advanced encryption not only to authenticate the signatory’s identity but also to secure the data being authorized by the signature to prevent tampering after the document (or section of the document) has been signed.

It’s a common misconception that digital signatures are not as legally binding as paper-based signatures.

Thanks to the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act), digital signatures are just as binding as their paper counterparts as long as you abide by the framework established by these acts. frevvo’s forms complies with all the framework’s recommendations, making any signatures collected using them fully legally binding. 

There are two kinds of digital signature, namely a verified digital signature, and a wet signature. 

What Are Digital Signatures?

Verified Identity Digital Signature

In the case of a verified digital signature, the user’s identity has been verified and associated with an encrypted signature on file, so they can sign simply by clicking a button. Typically, this will generate a signature – often just the signatory’s full name and date, although it may be combined with a wet signature image on file. 

Wet Signature

With a wet signature, the user signs their actual signature using a trackpad or touchscreen, and the signatory’s identity is not necessarily verified – although verified users can also choose to use a wet signature. Wet signatures are useful when you want to enable someone to quickly sign without having to create an account or login to verify their identity.

Digital signatures can be easily enabled by adding an electronic signature field to a web form. Once the signature is captured, the image of the signing party’s wet signature is saved alongside the submission data and can be mapped to print-ready PDFs generated from the form. Saved signature images can also easily be added to custom PDFs like government W-4 forms. 

Both types of electronic signatures allow for responsive forms that can be accessed and signed on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, allowing for on-the-go approvals.

Electronic Signature Use Cases for Businesses

Electronic signatures can be used to streamline a wide variety of business processes.

These include:

  • Employee contracts
  • Sales contracts
  • Service level agreements
  • Purchase orders
  • Change requests
  • Travel requests
  • PTO approvals
  • Onboarding forms
  • Parental consent forms
  • Curriculum approvals
  • Grant applications
  • IP licensing agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Lease agreements

Of course, these are only a few examples of the endless number of documents that need to be signed on a daily basis. The good news is that just about any type of form that requires a signature can be integrated into a digital signature workflow.

Best Practices for Building YOUR e-Signature Workflow

In order for your digital signatures to be legally binding, you need to ensure that your signature workflow complies with the framework established by the UETA and ESIGN acts.

Let’s take a closer look at what that entails.

Reliable Identity Verification

It’s vital that the signing party’s identity can be positively confirmed and securely stored or accessed via an integration with a trusted digital identity authority. 

Informed Consent

Signing parties must be advised of the intended use of their legally binding digital signature. The form design should also grant them the option to sign or opt out. 

Form builders that include customizable prompts and allow users to include documentation addenda make it easy to ensure that signing parties have access to full disclosure. 

Electronic Signature Capture

A digital signature solution must provide a means of capturing the signing party’s authorization using a symbol, sound or process that represents the signing party’s consent. A wet signature, whether captured once and stored for future use as directed by the signatory, or entered manually each time, fulfills this requirement.

Tamper-proof Electronic Documents

The idea that digital forms might be altered after the fact to change the terms of a contract or otherwise abuse the signatory’s signature is one of the primary causes for resistance to digital signature adoption. 

Upon signing, the data contained in the agreement or transaction must be secured against future alteration or tampering. Attempts at tampering must also be immediately detectable. frevvo forms use advanced public-private key encryption to ensure that all signed data is securely locked.

Document Backup

Electronically signed agreements must be securely stored for future access to ensure legal and regulatory compliance, facilitate future enforcement, etc. 

Document Access

The signed document recording the transaction must be made available to all parties. This can be done by ensuring that the workflow automatically sends a PDF of the document to all parties or uploads it to a centrally accessible location.

Transaction Audit Trail

The actions involved in the agreement or transaction must be recorded, along with information about the dates at which each step occurred and the order in which they occurred. Workflows with built-in audit records makes this much simpler.

Creating a Digital Signature Workflow with frevvo

With frevvo, creating a digital signature workflow is really straightforward. You simply create a form as usual, drag-and-drop a signature field into the form and configure it according to your needs. 

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of digital signature that can be added to frevvo forms. 

The first is a wet signature capture. This type of signature is highly flexible, but it’s less secure, as the signatory’s identity is not verified and the reliability of the data in the form is not guaranteed. 

This kind of electronic signature is useful for applications where security is not an issue, and for capturing the signatures of external users at the time of form completion, for instance with parent permission forms. This method uses a touchscreen, trackpad or stylus to capture the signatory’s handwritten signature digitally. 

The second electronic signature type is a digital signature that has been verified against the user’s identity. Users can authenticate and set up their digital signature once. Subsequently, the form will automatically apply their digital signature (or pre-uploaded signature image) to any PDFs generated. 

When used, the form pulls the authenticated user’s information into the form and locks the section it has been added to, preventing further changes or tampering. This makes it useful for applications such as contracts and supplier agreements where you want to ensure that the terms of the agreement are not altered after the agreement has been signed. 

How to Create a Wet Signature Workflow with frevvo

Step 1: Create Your Form

Start by using our zero-code software to create the form for which you want to enable electronic signatures. You can start from scratch or use one of frevvo’s many pre-built templates. Easily customize the form to your needs using the drag-and-drop form builder. 

Create Your Form

Step 2: Add A Signature Control

Drag and drop a Signature Control into your form or flow. The signature control can be positioned anywhere in your form.

Add A Signature Control

Step 3: Configure Signature Control Settings

Each Signature Control field can be made Required or Optional. If you’ve set the signature Control to Required, the form cannot be submitted unless the signature has been added.

Step 4: Define Workflow Rules

Design your workflow using frevvo’s no-code visual workflow builder. Establish where this form needs to go when the signing party hits the Submit button, and configure any other rules in accordance with your business needs.

Define Workflow Rules

Step 5: The Form is Signed

When the form is used on a touchscreen device like a smartphone or a tablet, the user simply touches the Signature Control to sign the form using their finger or a stylus. On a desktop or laptop, they can simply use the mouse or trackpad. The signature is captured and displayed on the form in the signature control.

The Form is Signed

6. The Signature Image Is Mapped

The Signature Image Is Mapped

The captured image is saved along with the form submission data and is copied to the automatically generated print PDF of the form. 

It can also be mapped and transferred to a custom PDF like a government W-4 form.

PDF like a government W-4 form.

How to Create a Secure Digital Signature Workflow with frevvo

Step 1: Create Your Form

The first step is the same as in the wet signature workflow.

Create Your Form

Step 2: Add a Digital Signature to a Section of Your Form 

Digital signatures can be attached to any section of the form. Simply navigate to the Security Settings tab for the section you wish to secure and select Text/Signature Image. A Sign This Section button will appear at the bottom of the section in question. 

Add a Digital Signature to a Section of Your Form

Step 3: Configure Settings

Ensure that Lock Signed is checked to ensure that the section cannot be changed once it has been signed. If you’ve checked Must Sign, this section MUST be signed in order for the form to be submitted.

Configure Settings

Step 4: The Form is Signed

To sign, the signatory simply fills out the required fields and clicks the Sign This Section button. frevvo then displays the user’s name and the date against a green background and makes the section Read Only. 

The Form is Signed

If you wish to change the data, you must click Edit Section, make your changes, and re-sign it.

The Form is Submitted

When the form is submitted, a digital signature is generated based on the data in the section. If it’s part of a workflow, the data cannot be edited in subsequent steps. When a section has been digitally signed, frevvo will verify that the data has not been altered and display an error if there’s a mismatch.

When a section has been digitally signed, frevvo will verify that the data has not been altered and display an error if there’s a mismatch.

Once again, the digital signature itself is saved with the submission data. It can be posted to your back-end REST service and is displayed on the automatically generated print PDFs of the form.

Combining Wet and Digital Signatures

You can also combine wet and digital signatures. To do this, select Wet Signature in the section’s Security Settings panel. 

Combining Wet and Digital Signatures

When the user clicks, a lightbox appears, and they can sign with their actual signature. The signature image is then displayed against the green background, a digital signature is generated, and the section is locked.

 The signature image is then displayed against the green background, a digital signature is generated, and the section is locked.

For more detailed technical information and instructions, see the Electronic Signatures guide in the frevvo documentation. 

Use Case: Services Order Workflow

In the case of a services order workflow, there’s a section where an internal salesperson will first input the order details. This section uses a digital signature (as opposed to a less secure wet signature), since we want the data to be locked and the signature to be verified.

Services Order Workflow

For the end customer signature, we use a regular signature control, which can be signed anonymously. 

we use a regular signature control

The salesperson fills out the order details, provides an email address for the end customer, and signs the order digitally. 

The salesperson fills out the order details, provides an email address for the end customer, and signs the order digitally.

The order is then routed to the customer for approval and signature. The customer receives an email with a link to the order. He can review the order, but cannot change it since it’s digitally signed. 

If approved, the customer can sign the order without needing to log in, using a wet signature.

If approved, the customer can sign the order without needing to log in, using a wet signature.

The workflow then routes back to internal employees or follows the action determined by the workflow in accordance with the business’s needs.
With frevvo’s electronic signatures, it’s easy to automate your workflows to collect signatures digitally, saving you time and money.

Modern, visual tools for dynamic forms and workflow.
Posted in Digital Transformation

Automation and Digital Transformation: The Key to Unlocking Business Growth

Doubtless, by now, you’ve seen and heard people frothing at the mouth in their fervor for digital transformation. If it’s not the buzzword of the decade, it’s certainly in the top ten. Automation is another contender for the top spot. But if both revolve around making business operations more efficient, what’s the difference, exactly? 

Let’s dive in.

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Posted in Higher Ed

ADA Compliance: Higher Education Forms, Regulations, and Best Practices

As a higher education institution, you’re likely committed to fostering an all-inclusive environment where every person has the ability to enjoy the student experience. 

When we think of accessibility and ADA compliance, we often think first of physical access. Most often, we focus on making sure that buildings and structures are accessible and comfortable for students of varying abilities. 

But, accessibility in the digital world is just as important – if not more so!

With this comes a responsibility to ensure that all students, regardless of ability, can enjoy the same level of access to your physical and digital properties.

Accessibility for all students is becoming increasingly important. In 2015–16, 19 percent of male students and 20 percent of female students reported having a disability.

Accessibility has also become important for the government, which sets guidelines for colleges and universities to follow to make sure a higher ed’s facilities and digital properties (website, forms, etc) are 100% accessible. 

Following these guidelines and becoming digitally compliant, however, has not been easy for educational institutions as it requires technical and legal assistance and enough funds to execute.  

Are you 100% compliant? In this article, we’ll cover the levels of compliance, what this means for your online properties, and how to make your forms fully accessible. 

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Posted in Google for Work

How to Automate Your Google Apps Workflow Approval and Docs for Increased Productivity

A decade ago, a Google search for the term “cloud” would return images of white billowy objects and weather-related terms. Today? The term “cloud” has taken on a new identity, becoming a vehicle for people and companies to store and manage data on the internet. This has fueled the growth and productivity of expanding organizations—sans a weather icon in sight. 

In fact, cloud-based communication, sharing and organization is pretty standard among modern workplaces. As of April 2019, the cloud-based G Suite (Google Suite) serves five million paid business users and millions more that use it for free. 

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Posted in business insights

The Paperless Office: 35 Years of Dreaming Digital

In 1975, a Business Week article titled “The Office of the Future” predicted the rise of the paperless office. The concept arose as a publicist’s slogan for the IBM 2260 in 1964, which proclaimed the computer terminal as the harbinger of the “office of the future.” 

Back then, paper documents were kept in filing cabinets and storage boxes, and when items were misfiled, it could take weeks to track them down. Processes involving large numbers of people like university admissions and student registration generated mountains of paperwork, all of which had to be processed by hand. 

It’s no wonder the dream of the paperless office captivated the popular imagination: the thought of being able to process – and locate – information within seconds had enormous appeal.

So what is a paperless office? Exactly what it sounds like: a work environment where paper usage is either wholly eliminated or greatly reduced by using digital formats instead.

With the rise of personal computers and office automation, the use of paper for tasks such as bookkeeping, record-keeping and sending memos would be made redundant, as everything could be stored and displayed on computers. Prolific paper users like schools and universities would use screens to teach students and even homework assignments and exams would eventually be conducted using computers.

However, while Business Week’s prediction of a personal computer on every desk came true, the paperless office has not yet become a reality. Despite advances in communication technologies such as the advent of email, paper documents continued to proliferate. 

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Posted in Forms

How to Save Data from an HTML Form to a Database

Forms serve a vital purpose in enabling businesses to quickly and efficiently gather and process information, both internally and in communication with customers. Dynamic forms take this convenience a step further by applying business logic and executing various actions depending on the content of the forms.

For your business to get the most out of dynamic forms, you’ll want to integrate it with your SQL database to enable information to be saved and updated automatically on an ongoing basis. Too many businesses are still wasting too many precious human hours updating databases manually, inputting the information captured by forms by hand. 

Madness. 

Imagine you’re onboarding a new customer and helping them to fill out their first order form. Together, you fill out all the relevant fields and hit the “submit” button. 

But what happens next? How do you get your data from the forms to the database containing all your order information?

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Posted in Financial Process Automation

How to Improve Finance Processes in Your Business to Save Time & Money

Finance and accounting professionals play a vital role in driving business growth and strategy, but most businesses underutilize this important resource because their finance teams are bogged down in inefficient finance processes. 

With all the technology solutions available today, core tasks including invoicing and expense management can be automated with relative ease, not only reducing inaccuracies and delays but freeing up your finance team to perform more useful – and interesting – work.

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Posted in Database

Populating an HTML Form from a SQL Database: Using frevvo’s Database Connector

Most of your company’s important data likely lives in a SQL database.

Practically every organization has at least one SQL database and often many of them. 

But, here’s the rub: Most of your company has no idea what SQL even means, let alone how to get the information they need out of the database. So, that means that your IT team spends an enormous amount of time either manually running queries and generating reports or building one-off applications and HTML forms for every department under the sun to get the data they need.

It’s not a good use of time.

What you need is a form builder with configurable SQL database integration that can help you stand up solutions quickly. Rather than rolling your own applications, you can use frevvo to build custom forms, configure advanced workflows, integrate data from a MySQL database, and ship a solution—in about an hour. 

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Posted in Forms, Workflows

Create Dynamic Forms: The No-Code Guide to Smarter Data Collection

Dynamic forms are the lifeblood of most automated business processes. 

From HR paperwork to automating accounting tasks, most of the common ways that our customers use frevvo to save time and money in their business rely on smart forms that are able to do more than just collect text in a box, but perform actions based on those specific inputs. 

This functionality allows businesses to create forms that perform calculations, automatically fill in  information, or customize workflows based on the user’s inputs.

While most users would likely love this functionality, few have the resources at their disposal to achieve a truly seamless experience.

Instead, most businesses capture inputs through forms where users have to type data and read instructions and then still manually process those inputs with human time and energy. Why? Because building dynamic forms can be an enormous expense and investment that many businesses can’t make. 

For most companies, rolling your own dynamic forms and creating custom workflows can drain hundreds of hours of IT time and other resources cost thousands of dollars to implement.

This is why frevvo includes a Visual Rule Builder (VRB) to allow business users to create dynamic forms without coding. Using the VRB engine, non-technical users can easily define custom rules and logic that control how a form functions while it’s being completed, once it’s been submitted, and when it’s being processed. 

All of the custom functionality that would require manual coding and huge investment to build and maintain can be created with just a few clicks.

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