Posted in Digital Transformation

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%).

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94N1ujHjVjw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

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.
 

Posted in Approval Process, HowTo, Workflows

Workflows: Approve vs Deny vs Reject

PurchaseApprovalWhile working with customers, I’ve recently noticed that a lot of approval steps in a workflow have three possible outcomes. Consider a Purchase Requisition workflow where an Employee wants to buy something and it goes to his/her Manager for approval. If approved, the next step is Purchasing.
What actions could the Manager take?

  1. He could Approve in which case the workflow moves forward to Purchasing.
  2. He could Reject back to the employee asking for more information in which case it moves backward to the Employee.
  3. Or, he could Deny the request completely (Reject to discard) in which case the workflow should move forward, skip the Purchasing step and terminate.

With frevvo, the Approve case is trivial. It’s the default behavior. Reject back to the Employee is also straightforward. It’s built-in to frevvo and can be configured for any step.
Deny (Reject to discard) is also easy but not so obvious. We’re considering adding this as a built-in feature but you can do this today by taking a few steps.
Step 1. Create an approval section with a Radio button
RequestStatus
The radio has two options: Approve or Deny. Deny is the second (last) option and the Comment property is checked. If the Manager clicks Deny, a text box will show up below the radio asking for details. Note the Name (set to RequestStatus) and Options (values are Approve and Deny) properties of the Radio control. You can also set the control to invisible and create a rule to show/hide it in the appropriate flow step (Manager in this case). For example:

if (form.load) {
var an = _data.getParameter(‘flow.activity.name’);
RequestStatus.visible = (an !== “Employee”);
RequestStatus.enabled = (an === “Manager”);
}

Step 2. Set Preconditions
PreconditionIn the Flow Designer, select the Purchasing step. Set the precondition as shown in the image to:

RequestStatus.value === “Approve”

This will evaluate to true only if the Manager selected Approve in the Radio we created earlier. If it’s false (Manager selected Deny), the Purchasing step will be skipped and the workflow will terminate.
Step 3. Setup Reject
SetupRejectIn the Flow Designer, select the Manager step and then click the Setup Approval/Rejection link in the Properties panel.
In the wizard that shows up, you can check Reject from here, Reject to here, change the label of the Reject button itself and customize the subject/body of the notification email.
Repeat this step for any other step from which you wish to Reject.
That’s it. Now, the Manager can:

  1. Select Approve in the Radio and continue the workflow. It will move to Purchasing.
  2. Select Deny in the Radio, provide a reason and continue the workflow. It will skip Purchasing and terminate.
  3. Click the Reject button and send the workflow backwards to the Employee for more information.
Posted in Approval Process, Forms, Green Schools, k-12, Paperless Schools, Workflows

[Infographic] K-12 Process Automation

infographic_wireframe_frevvo_jan2016_3In previous posts, we’ve described how some of our K-12 school customers are using frevvo to automate routine processes and improve efficiency and services to students and staff. EUSD (Escondido Union School District) has been so successful at this – they’ve automated 8 approval workflows including Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement, and Budget Transfers in the first three months – that they were even able to decommission SharePoint/InfoPath thanks to frevvo.
The fact is, schools are drowning in paper. Student work, parent & staff communications, travel reimbursements and many other processes are paper-based and require, emailing, printing and scanning.
Yet, for many schools, going paperless means 1:1 education, e-textbooks and expensive $500 gadgets for each student. It’s a fantastic goal undoubtedly but there’s also plenty of much lower-hanging fruit that’s ripe for automation and saving paper, time and money.
Check out this new infographic on the value/benefits of automating day-to-day K-12 workflows.
Every parent is familiar with consent forms for athletics, directory listing, emergency contact etc. (Miami-Dade County, Los Angeles USD). Typically, these require a parent/guardian to sign the form and they’re sent home on paper or printed out at home.
Internal approval workflows like travel reimbursement, field trip approval etc. (e.g. see New Haven USD, Cabrillo USD) are also commonplace. Typically, these are routed to a supervisor for approval i.e. to sign the form. The paper-based process is simply inefficient.
It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays, result in unhappy students and staff and wasted time and money.
frevvo already has pre-built forms and workflows that can be customized in next to no time and deployed online. They can all be signed online, routed to the proper person electronically, used on mobile devices, delivered in multiple languages, generate PDFs, work with Google Apps for Education and a whole host of advanced capabilities. With affordable, cloud-based workflow products for K-12 process automation, there’s no need to deal with printing PDFs for signatures, correcting Excel-based time sheets, or tracking down approvals in email.
Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.

Posted in Approval Process, HR Process Automation, Workflows

[Infographic] HR Process Automation

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We’ve discussed in previous posts how customers are using frevvo for HR process automation. It’s one of the most common areas for automating workflows with frevvo.
The fact is that everyday approval processes such as employee on-boarding, leave approval and time sheets take an exorbitant amount of time if done manually. Employees and managers are waiting longer than necessary and spending more time/money than necessary to tackle these routine tasks. There’s also a much higher rate of inaccuracy in the manual process.
Check out this new infographic on the value/benefits of automating your day-to-day HR workflows.
It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays, result in unhappy customers and missed business opportunities.
With affordable, cloud-based workflow products for HR process automation, there’s no need to deal with printing PDFs for signatures, correcting Excel-based time sheets, or tracking down approvals in email.
Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.

Posted in Approval Process, Financial Process Automation, Workflows

[Infographic] Accounting & Financial Process Automation

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In a previous article we talked about how senior finance executives at companies are optimistic about the U.S. economy (56%) and about their own company’s performance (69%). But, they’re concerned about inefficiencies and willing to invest in technology to improve performance.
The fact is that even routine, day-to-day processes such as vendor invoices, purchase orders, and expense reports take an exorbitant amount of time if done manually. Employees and managers are waiting longer than necessary for reimbursement claims to go through, or to order a key piece of equipment. There’s also a much higher rate of inaccuracy in the manual process.
Check out this new infographic on the value/benefits of automating your day-to-day accounting workflows.
It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays in cash-flow, infrastructure investments and responsiveness.
With affordable, cloud-based workflow products for financial process automation, there’s no need to deal with printing PDF sales orders for signatures, correcting Excel-based expense reports, or tracking down approvals in email.
Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.
 

Posted in Approval Process, Customers, Forms

Looking for an InfoPath alternative?

There won’t be a new version of InfoPath and FoSL is dead. Your business needs real forms and approval workflows and you need them today. SharePoint workflows don’t really have sophisticated forms and SharePoint costs quickly get very high. What to do?
Certainly, there are third party products (such as Nintex or K2) that you can buy that work on top of SharePoint workflows and Microsoft even recently announced that InfoPath 2013 will continue to work with SharePoint 2016. But, should you continue to invest in InfoPath when even Microsoft isn’t?
Several customers have turneEscondido Union School District Case Studyd to frevvo precisely to solve this problem. We provide everything you need to digitize your day-to-day approvals – from collecting signatures, feedback and approvals using powerful, customized forms to workflows with routing, notifications, and escalations.
Check out this recent Case Study. Escondido Union School District had a number of PDF and paper forms for absence records, mileage reimbursement etc. that were being filled, printed, and hand-delivered for approvals & signatures. They did an exhaustive evaluation of numerous web-based workflow systems before choosing frevvo.
They’ve automated 8 approval workflows including Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement, and Budget Transfers in the first three months. The District chose frevvo Live Forms over implementing these in an existing SharePoint install because it provided an easy-to-use solution that fully met business requirements at a fraction of the cost.

In fact, EUSD has decommissioned SharePoint as a result of their success with frevvo!

Read the Case Study here and Sign Up for a 30-day free trial today.