Online forms can revolutionize a wide range of work processes. Human resources forms can be made faster and more accurate, IT requests can be streamlined, and a business’s online presence can be made more productive and customer-centric.
But online forms aren’t solely about speed and convenience. They can also bring down expenses appreciably, which allows for more generous profit margins. Here is how choosing the right online forms and workflow designer reduces costs in six operational areas of the typical business.
By Reducing Demands on the Tech Team
There was a time when having online forms meant custom programming, plus all the iterative testing that goes along with it. Today you can obtain workflow designer software that doesn’t require programming, so your tech team can focus on more important issues. At the same time, the people who actually use the online forms can custom-design them, take them live, and test and modify them as necessary.
By Minimizing Development and Deployment Time
With the right workflow designer software, creating and deploying online forms doesn’t take nearly as long as it used to. HR won’t have to tap your IT team to design and implement online forms, because they can design them exactly as they want without programming. Furthermore, departments like Marketing can test variations on online forms (like landing page forms) until they reach an optimum design that engages web visitors best.
By Increasing Workflow Compliance
Many industries are bound by government or industry regulations. When your workflow designer software allows you to build in checks and balances with your online forms, you can greatly increase your confidence that all processes are regulatory-compliant. Ideally, your software should allow you to easily produce reports demonstrating workflow compliance, so that you’re covered in the event of an audit.
By Cutting Operational Costs
The cheapest paper and ink are the paper and ink that you don’t have to buy. Online forms save physical resources and the expenses that go along with them, including storage costs. A room full of filing cabinets can be transformed into extra workspace, and the money you used to spend on paper and ink can be put to better use. What’s more, transitioning from paper to online forms makes your business “greener” while saving money.
By Improving Process Efficiency
The best workflow designer software allows you to map out workflows visually so you can make them as efficient as possible. For example, mapping out workflows visually can reveal parts of processes that could be carried out at the same time (in parallel), rather than in series, making the process go faster. Of course, the change from manual, paper-based process to online electronic process is measurably more efficient due to speed and error reduction.
By Increasing Workflow Process Visibility
With antiquated manual workflows, knowing the status of a given workflow wasn’t always easy. It often meant tracking down the individuals involved in the workflow and finding out how far each of them had progressed, which cost a lot of time. With electronic workflows, however, authorized personnel can assess the status of a workflow online at any time, learning exactly which steps have been completed and which are awaiting action.
The bottom line is that there is simply no reason to stick with paper-based manual work processes when you can easily create online forms with the right workflow designer software. It won’t involve a big IT initiative, and you can roll out improvements in days or weeks, rather than months or years.
PerfectForms is workflow designer software that doesn’t require users to know how to program. Rather, it offers a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface that lets electronic forms and workflows be created by the actual people who deal with them, so they can get them exactly right. You can build alerts right into workflows, check workflows at any time to determine their status, and create outstanding reports that demonstrate regulation compliance and provide the statistics you need to get on a path of continuous improvement. To learn more, we invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo. You’ll see right away how PerfectForms can measurably reduce expenses while boosting productivity significantly.
Document control has always been a priority in successful businesses, but it hasn’t always been easy to accomplish. Document control is about ensuring that all relevant parties receive the information they need on time, with maximum accuracy.
In a law firm, document control may mean ensuring that everyone working on a particular case receives all relevant case documentation. In an engineering company, it may mean that client drawings are made available to a project team promptly. In a catering company, document control might mean ensuring the baker has the exact icing recipe for the cake the client ordered.
Document control is an indispensable part of quality control, because documents influence so many actions within a company. Therefore, controlling documents well can mean consistency and quality of services, while a haphazard approach to document control can mean chaos and unhappy clients.
How do you know what documents need to be controlled? Ask yourself: if two trained employees completed a task based on the available documentation, would they do it properly and consistently with each other? If so, it’s a document that should be controlled. If the document is a record of any activity, it should be controlled. Document control starts with high quality documents themselves that are clear, concise, and accessible.
The Inefficiency of Manual Document Control
Document control used to have to be done manually, with file folders, cover sheets, locked filing cabinets, and printers and copiers running constantly. Manual document control is certainly better than no document control, but it’s highly inefficient. If you run out of a type of form, more must be printed. If someone spills coffee on a document, another copy has to be made. If someone delivers a document to the wrong inbox, a process can screech to a halt. Not only is manual document control slow, it’s costly due to the need to pay for paper, ink, office equipment, and document storage.
The Risks Associated with Manual Document Control
But manual document control isn’t just an inefficient workflow design, there are real risks associated with it. Company-confidential documents could fall into the hands of competitors, documentation of processes that are heavily regulated may be difficult to locate in the event of an audit, and an illegible entry on a form could change the entire rest of the workflow. An increasing number of companies are turning to online forms software as their powerful, customized document control solution.
Integrate Electronic Documents into Workflow Design
Using online forms software, workflow design can take into account all authorized users of a process. It can also issue automatic alerts to parties whose input is required, and can collect information to be used in reports for internal use or to meet regulatory requirements. Using online forms software, your company can create electronic forms that automatically gather data from directory services or online forms. Such software can tie together legacy systems that never worked together before, making workflow design sleeker, less costly, and more effective.
You Don’t Have to Be an IT Wizard
Electronic document control used to require specialized software packages or custom programming, and was expensive and not always exactly appropriate to a given company’s situation. Fortunately, workflow design can now be accomplished with online forms software, without pulling tech team members off their projects, and without having to write code. Online forms software can be used to automate and streamline any work process that involves collecting and acting upon data, from new employee forms to building maintenance requests, effectively implementing document control throughout an organization.
PerfectForms is the online forms software that businesses of all sizes, across all industries, have used to create custom workflow designs and turn antiquated manual processes into sleek, accurate electronic processes. Throughout a workflow process you can collect data for later reporting, and issue automated alerts when someone’s input is required. Problems with illegible or misplaced paper forms become a thing of the past. Most companies that try PerfectForms for workflow design in one department rapidly discover how many ways it can be used throughout an organization.
With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, PerfectForms requires no programming knowledge, so the people who use forms and workflows the most can design their electronic counterparts to suit the workflow design perfectly. We invite you to try PerfectForms for free, so you can see for yourself how easy it can be to change clunky, manual document control into accurate, fast document control that costs less, is less error-prone, and that speeds up processes painlessly.
Hello PerfectForms Community,
Today I would like to share with you the benefits of a custom-built dashboard. By using ‘Reports’, PerfectForms provides the ability to build a functional and informative dashboard that will make your day much easier. ‘Reports’ provide real-time data feedback along with the ability to filter, search, and access form instances. By utilizing a ‘Report’ as a dashboard you can increase efficiency by allowing your users to easily find data and actionable items.
For example, below is a dashboard that could be used to process and view vacation requests:
The dashboard above provides a few key elements that can speed up your process such as sorting. By using a ‘Report’ as a dashboard you can organize data by any column. I prefer to sort data by oldest request date to ensure the oldest requests receive the highest priority.
Hint: Applying filters does not affect sort.
We will next discuss the filters used in the dashboard.
· Approval Dynamic – Will only show the selected approval status.
· Name Search – Allows the user to isolate a specific requestor by name.
· Show Only Needs Approval – Isolates only items that still require action.
· Remove Past Vacations – Eliminates any dates requested that are older than the current date.
· Clear Filter – Will remove the data to an unfiltered state.
Another element to this dashboard is the ‘Open’ button within the ‘Link’ column. The open button will provide access to the form. This will enable the user to take action or view additional details. If the Workflow of the form is in the approval stage the user of the dashboard can quickly gain access to approve the form and complete the request. Using a dashboard can also benefit workflows that have been completed. Searching for a closed instance to reference is much easier to find with the sort, filter, and search functionality.
By combining these key elements you will be able to empower your users by providing quick access to important data, filtered data feedback, and direct access to your workflow. I hope this information has provided you with some build ideas, thank you for reading and happy form building!
Customizable electronic forms are terrific for accelerating workflows, but if you run an e-commerce business, they can be put to work collecting important data and putting it to valuable use as well. That’s right: the same customizable forms software you use to create expense reimbursement forms for employees can be used to gather valuable data from your website, whether you operate a B2B or B2C business.
Customizable business forms can be put to work on your website, gathering important customer and lead data, and it can do things with that data that provide insights while preventing duplication of effort (such as re-entering data into a database). Here are five advantages of handling data via customizable form creation software.
1. Customizable Forms Assist with Brand Identification
You want your entire website to reflect your brand. That includes the forms that customers or interested parties fill out while on your site. With the right customizable forms software, you can utilize your colors, fonts, logos, and graphics so that they harmonize with the rest of your site and reflect your brand. The ultimate effect is strengthening your brand presence online, particularly if your forms are well-designed and don’t demand too much from site visitors.
2. Integration With Third-Party Apps Helps You Evaluate Leads
Suppose you ask people to register for your e-newsletter or complete a form to download an eBook from your site. The information they enter can be invaluable. Now, suppose your customizable forms software integrates with third-party apps, like your CRM, automatically populating your CRM with the data collected from your web forms. Not only does your CRM grow by itself, but no one has to collect form data and enter it into the CRM. The time saved is time that can be spent evaluating leads and serving customers.
3. Notifications Can Be Specifically Targeted
Automated email notifications can be helpful, as long as they’re delivered judiciously. If everyone is notified about every little thing, people eventually stop “seeing” all those notifications piled up in their inbox, thus defeating the purpose. With customizable electronic forms, automated notifications can be specially targeted so they go only to selected recipients and are distributed only when that person’s input is required. Overwhelming and unmanageable email notifications can become a thing of the past.
4. Data Can Be Automatically Funneled into Databases
Perhaps, in addition to your CRM system, you have other databases for other purposes. Customizable electronic forms can be made to automatically send data collected from forms into the fields of your other databases. If you’ve been having someone enter data manually, this step can be automated, eliminating data entry errors. Another advantage to having form data automatically sent to databases is that you can be confident of the consistency of data from one source to another because formats and spellings will automatically be the same.
5. Your Forms Can Collect Exactly the Data You Need
Website visitors don’t want to give away any more information than necessary. They want to feel that what they get in return for their information is valuable. It’s not always easy to strike the right balance in terms of what data you request. With customizable forms, you can A/B test to determine which forms perform best, and you can fine-tune your forms so that they collect just enough information for your needs without discouraging site visitors by asking for too much. The flexibility of customizable forms makes them the ideal choice for your website.
PerfectForms is software that empowers you to create customizable electronic forms without having to write programming code. By simply dragging and dropping form elements into place on a virtual canvas, you can create forms that collect exactly what you need and that reflect your organization’s branding consistently throughout your website. PerfectForms integrates with third-party apps and databases, cutting down on data entry tasks and helping to ensure consistency of data across repositories. Best of all, you can try PerfectForms for free and see for yourself how easy it is to create powerful custom forms that serve your needs impeccably.
It won’t be long until we’re in the thick of the Rio 2016 Olympics, where gymnasts, divers, equestrians, and others will demonstrate their outstanding form in front of a worldwide audience. Even in a rarefied atmosphere like the Olympics, “perfect” form is rare, though it has happened occasionally.
Have you ever thought about whether the online forms you use for business are perfect? What does it even mean for a form to be perfect? The criteria are obviously different than they are for Olympic sports, but knowing what to aim for can help us create better, more useful, and more efficient forms. Here are some of the attributes of today’s perfect form.
It Is Easy on the Eyes
The early years of the web were one big eyesore in many ways. Web pages represented a new canvas, and people threw everything they had at them, often without regard to whether it made sense. We have learned that web forms need to be aesthetically pleasing if they are to encourage site visitors to fill them out. They should be uncluttered, have a color, branding, and font scheme in keeping with the rest of the website, and it should be obvious to the user what information goes in which form field.
It Is Clear and Not Confusing
Have you ever filled in a form with, say, your phone number only to discover when you try to submit your form that you entered it in the “wrong” format? Perfect online forms offer users cues about what format to use, or present form fields with the parentheses and hyphens already present so that formatting is obvious. Moreover, fields should be large enough so that field labels are easy to read. The form should not appear cluttered or haphazard. In other words, users should see a form, conclude it doesn’t look like a “chore,” and happily fill it out.
It Offers Features that Increase Efficiency
There are other things you can do to make forms more efficient. For example, mandatory fields should be clearly marked and, if a user misses one, he or she should not have to start over filling out the entire form again before submitting it. Some fields might include drop-down menus so that completed forms can be easily sorted by the information entered (such as the user’s industry). If a user has completed other forms on your site, auto-populate features can eliminate the need to retype the same information in subsequent forms.
It “Nails the Landing”
Perfect online forms make clear to the user what will happen upon completion, either with a clear headline, or a submission button that says what will happen (“Download my eBook”). Once the form has been completed and submitted, it “nails the landing” by thanking the user and by delivering what was promised when the user elected to complete the form. Online forms can be made to trigger email alerts when someone’s attention is required and can use the data entered in company databases, CRM systems, and other systems to prevent the need for manual data entry.
Perfect online forms, in other words, make the completion process as intuitive and friction-free as possible. Just as Olympic athletes train, practice, and fine-tune to achieve perfection, the right online forms software lets you A/B test easily and fine-tune your forms so that you get maximum user engagement and collect data that allows your organization to serve its customers optimally.
PerfectForms is the clear gold medalist when it comes to online forms. It allows nontechnical users to create pixel-perfect online forms with a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface. The data collected by the forms created in PerfectForms can interface with third-party applications and databases so that duplication of data entry (or even copying and pasting) is a thing of the past. Because PerfectForms is so easy to use, you won’t shy away from A/B testing web forms to learn which combination of headline, form fields, colors, sizes, and call-to-action buttons engage users most fully.
PerfectForms is flexible and powerful enough to be used across industries, and easy enough to use that you’ll be creating perfect online forms in no time. We invite you to watch our demo so you can see how easy, flexible, and powerful PerfectForms is.
Online forms are practically mandatory for any company that does business online. The problem is, most people don’t like filling out forms. If they’re going to spend time completing an online form, they want the payoff to be worth it. But there are many things you can do to engage people and encourage them to fill out your online forms.
Before creating an online form, you need to define your goals for it. For example, do you want more conversions, less of a burden on your phone support, or sign-ups for an event? After you define what you want your online form to accomplish, design it to support that goal.
Length of Online Forms Depends on Your Goals
Conventional wisdom is that people prefer shorter forms and, for the most part, this is true. However, there are scenarios when lengthier forms are better suited to your goals. Suppose you have plenty of leads, but many of them are of low quality. If you want higher quality leads, and are willing to trade off quantity for quality, a longer, more involved form will help weed out visitors who are only passing through. You will reach leads that are “warmer” or further along in their investigative process. Whatever its length, no form should have unnecessary fields, which simply means fields that provide data that your company will not use.
Assure Visitors of Their Data Privacy
Some people won’t complete a form if it’s unaccompanied by a statement assuring them their data won’t be shared or sold. Make sure such a statement is easy to find on any web page where you ask visitors to fill out forms. It should not be written in terms only a lawyer would understand. A brief statement that simply says something like, “We never share or sell your personal information,” is often sufficient. It’s better to have this at the top of the page than “below the fold.” Neither should it be a part of the fine print. If you are going to make a bold statement, make it a bold statement.
Branding and Placement of Online Forms Make a Difference
Your online forms should harmonize with your brand in terms of colors, graphics, logos, and fonts. People may wonder if they’ve been sent to another site altogether if they encounter a generic form that gives no indication that your company created it. Where you place the form is important too. Make it easy to find, preferably at or near the top of the page. Don’t ask visitors to fill out a form, then require them to scroll all the way down the page to find it. Many won’t stay engaged long enough to follow through.
Your Call to Action Should Say Something Other Than “Submit”
Your call to action button should ideally give visitors an indication of what will happen once they click. A button that simply says “Submit” or “Click Here” doesn’t do this, but one that says, “Download my free eBook” does. If your call to action button doesn’t indicate what the user gets for his or her information, they’re typically more skeptical about clicking. Some form designers choose to use their form’s headline as a call to action, and then use a simple, yet dynamic, call to action button that says something like, “Go!” (Using “Submit” indicates a lack of imagination.)
Test and Measure Results to Improve Engagement with Online Forms
The great thing about online forms is that you can modify them easily when you discover something that helps or hinders user engagement. In fact, many companies elect to A/B test forms, where one aspect of a form is varied at a time to determine which combination of headline, form fields, and call to action button gets the best results. Sometimes hunches about these things are wrong, so it’s important to actually test variations on your forms to know for sure what works best.
Creating online forms is easy for the non-technical user with PerfectForms. With built-in web form integration, it’s no problem to create awesome, custom online forms that entice readers to complete and submit. All you have to do is drag and drop form elements into place on a virtual canvas, and it’s easy to add whatever branding, color, font, or logo choices you want so your forms echo your branding. PerfectForms is flexible enough to create any type of online form and easy enough that you don’t have to understand programming to use it effectively. We invite you to watch our demo and see how easy it can be to create pixel-perfect online forms with PerfectForms.
People have complained about paperwork since we began carving information on rocks. (Although it wasn’t called “paperwork” back then.) But paperwork has served an important function in terms of documenting processes and ensuring uniformity and consistency. The problem is, paper flow bogs down workflows (but it’s still faster than rocks – and a lot easier on the inbox). Paper has to be handled, can be damaged or lost, or could be altered by unauthorized persons. That’s one reason today’s workflow designers try to eliminate paper as much as possible. Digital workflow management, powered by online forms, makes more sense for today’s fast pace of business. In fact, it really rocks!
If you operate a small or lean business, hiring a workflow designer may not be an option. The good news is, powerful tools exist for creating online forms and turning them into sleek, logical workflows. Here’s how.
Think Steps, Not Activities
To create an online workflow, begin by thinking about every part of that workflow that requires someone’s input or approval. Consider each one of these to be a discrete step. Each step may, in fact, involve several activities, like gathering information or making calculations, but the steps are the building blocks of the workflow designer.
When you have mapped out all the steps in a process and are sure you haven’t forgotten any, it’s time to create electronic versions of the forms that facilitate those steps, such as approval sheets, or applications for reimbursement. Creating online forms from existing paper forms does not have to be a major IT project, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. With the right software, you can create online forms easily and begin realizing a return on investment quickly.
Notifications Keep Processes Moving
In the old world of paper forms, leaving a completed form on some approving authority’s desk required a trusting that they would see and act on the form in a timely manner. The problem was that that confidence was often misplaced. The great thing about electronic forms and workflows is that automated notifications can be built-in right from the beginning. If a department head needs to approve something for a workflow process to continue, the workflow can be set up to send out a notification email as soon as his or her input is required. Lack of progress can trigger follow-up notifications, and everyone in the loop can be clearly aware of what is causing the holdup.
Some Steps Can Proceed in Parallel
Work processes can be complex and, in some cases, different aspects of a workflow can proceed in parallel. For example, the graphics for the annual report can be requested at the same time that the copy text is being edited rather than doing them sequentially. Workflows can be created with parallel branches, allowing users to see at any time how any branch of the process has progressed, so there’s less confusion about where a process is or who is working on what. With the right software, you can create online forms, then assemble them into workflows with parallel activities that can cut down on the time required to accomplish major tasks.
To Do This You Need “Rock Star” Level Software
It’s important to know, however, that not just any electronic forms software is up to the task. Furthermore, the person designing a workflow shouldn’t have to know how to write programming code in order to create powerful workflows. Happily, outstanding online forms software exists that doesn’t require programming and that offers an intuitive interface.
PerfectForms was designed for the non-programming user to create online forms and workflows quickly and accurately, with custom precision and powerful performance. PerfectForms has a friendly, virtual canvas interface that allows users to drag and drop elements of forms into place, mapping them right on the screen. In fact, if you want to create electronic forms that look exactly like their paper counterparts, you can do so easily.
PerfectForms also offers outstanding integration with other office systems, web forms, and databases, and allows you to create workflows from simple to complex, with automated notifications at key steps to keep them on track. It was designed to improve workflows, and has done so for numerous clients across all industries. We encourage you to check out some of our case studies so you can see how workflow improvements save organizations massive amounts of time and money. PerfectForms is the online form creation “Rock Star” you’ve been looking for.
Hello PerfectForms Community,
Before I learned a simple trick finding specific information in a table full of data was quite a challenge. Luckily PerfectForms allows you to build a search function specifically for ‘Tables.’ With this functionality, you will be able to isolate specific lines of data. The ability to filter data in a table associated with a workflow will come in handy if you have data that expands past a single page.
We will now walk through a step by step process to build a filter large amounts of data. Fist let’s prepare our ‘Form’, drag on a ‘Table’, ‘Text Input’, and ‘Button’ object. In order to make things easier to find I have labeled my text input as “Search Input” and my button as “Search.”
Now that we have our form built let’s proceed to the behaviors. Click on the button followed by the behavior ‘Button is pressed’, within the behavior drag on a ‘Set Table Rows’ command. Click on the ‘Set Table Rows’ command and find the object selection at the top right. Click ‘Select’ and choose the ‘Column’ which houses the data you would like to search.
For the ‘Action’ please select ‘Advanced’ and follow the configuration below:
‘Column’: Select the column you wish to filter
‘Text’: (Enter the following in the ‘Formula Editor’)
We will now save and test your form build. Please click on ‘Preview’, once the form is rendered enter in some test data. On my test form, I have entered the word “PERFECT” with a letter on each line.
You may now enter a letter in the search box and click to ‘Search.’ Once clicked the search should isolate all the lines matching the criteria. As we did a wildcard search (A wildcard is represented by an *. The wildcard search we built will look for anything and the entered criteria followed by anything again).
While using your search function remember the filter is case sensitive. In order to clear the filter simply remove your search text and click ‘Search.’ If the filter is left on, it will be automatically reset next time the form is opened. Once you have validated your data is being properly isolated you can apply the built behavior to your workflow.
I hope this post helps with your form building. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post below.
Thanks for reading and happy form building!
Consider for a moment the physical concept of momentum. Something with a lot of mass doesn’t need a lot of speed to have a lot of momentum. Likewise, something with plenty of velocity doesn’t have to be big to have a lot of momentum. Companies tend to grow, and as they grow, they tend to slow down. After all, they don’t have to have the alacrity and speed they used to have to keep the momentum going.
A problem occurs when another business disrupts the industry. Often, when this happens, velocity trumps size – at least for a while. Larger, well-established companies can be nimble and light on their feet, if they’re not afraid of innovation and change. Questioning the long-held beliefs that hold up the dominant business model in an industry can be the beginning of greater dexterity and a renewed sense of mission and purpose. If your organization lacks flexibility, workflow automation may likely be the key to becoming more adroit and able to tackle whatever challenges the marketplace wants to toss your way. Here’s how.
Embrace Innovations in Customer Relationships
Expectations for customer service have changed significantly in the past decade. No longer satisfied to dial a toll-free number and wait for the next available agent, today’s customer wants to reach out via social media, as well as their favorite brands’ websites. The great news is, workflow automation can be used to take in customer service information and requests and instantly and automatically deliver them to the appropriate recipient. Less time is spent typing what a customer is saying over the phone, so more time can be spent getting to the heart of the matter and solving the problem.
Activities Can Be Intelligent as Well as Efficient
Suppose you have a split purchase request process where purchase requests of more than a certain dollar amount must go through additional approval steps. Smart workflow solutions make this easy by using the dollar amount of the request to determine which approval process is to be used. Furthermore, the request can be automatically forwarded to the correct approving authority or authorities so no time is wasted reading a paper form, determining who it should go to, and then delivering it by hand. Another reason workflow automation is “smart” is that it’s far less prone to errors than manual processes involving paper forms.
Managing Resources Effectively Can Free Up Capital
Have you ever purchased, say, a kitchen gadget only to get home and find that you already had one? A similar thing happens to businesses. Nobody knows about the unused laptops in HR’s storage room, so someone orders a batch of new laptops for the summer interns. Workflow automation allows organizations to keep track of assets like tools and computers, as well as to whom they’re assigned, their repair history, and many other pertinent details. It’s one of the best ways to prevent unnecessary expenditures and ensure resources are distributed optimally. Can your existing workflow solutions do this quickly, automatically, and without error?
How Can Technology Help You Innovate Costs?
Workflow solutions save companies money too. Take only a handful of paper forms and make them electronic and you immediately start saving in terms of paper, ink, and printing costs. Create workflows that automatically route those electronic forms upon submission, and you save considerable time as well. Workflow automation can prevent careless errors, like losing or damaging a form and having to start all over again. Customer requests won’t get lost, purchase orders won’t mysteriously disappear from the approval cycle, and the IT department can do away with all those sticky notes they use to record IT requests.
Your company may be established, and it may be large, but that doesn’t mean it has to be “entrenched,” or “unwieldy.” With workflow automation, processes prone to bottlenecks can become unstuck, and inefficient processes can be revamped to cut out unnecessary steps and save money and time. PerfectForms is the ideal workflow automation solution because it allows non-technical people to create pixel-perfect electronic forms and workflows with a friendly, drag-and-drop canvas interface. No major IT projects have to be funded, and innovations can roll out quickly. You can try PerfectForms for free, too. You’ll quickly discover workflow solutions that will immediately start making your organization more adept and skillful.
Business process automation (BPA) and business process management (BPM) sound an awful lot alike. While the two are related, and in many ways complementary, they’re not the same. BPA is about automating processes, while BPM is about managing processes, which may or may not involve automation. In other words, you can consider all BPA to be a form of BPM, but not all BPM may include BPA.
Both these concepts are important to the business world, and they apply in industries as diverse as food services, precision machining, and healthcare. The goal of both BPA and BPM is to make work more efficient, cut out unnecessary steps, and streamline workflows for greater productivity, better morale, and happier customers.
What Is BPA Software?
BPA software enables activities or services to be automated. A simple example of BPA would be software that takes a converts a paper form into an electronic form that is automatically submitted to the proper recipient upon completion. BPA software may be used in just about any department, including HR, supply chain, and IT.
Business processes that are amenable to automation are typically those that are started by a specific, triggering event. For example, the filing of an expense report may trigger a pre-defined succession of steps that ends when the employee receives a reimbursement check (or electronic funds transferred to his or her account). Sometimes BPA software is aimed at a single initiative (like expense reporting), but it may be part of a larger BPM strategy.
What Is BPM Software?
BPM software is more comprehensive than BPA software, because it is designed to manage multiple workflows within an organization. Rather than focusing on automating a single process, BPM software allows businesses to achieve greater overall efficiency and evolve along with changing business needs. Another result of a successful BPM software implementation is reduction in human error (because, for instance, less manual data entry is typically involved) and clearer understanding of roles and responsibilities.
BPM is a systematic approach to improving processes. When it is successfully implemented, everyone understands better how they contribute to the achievement of business goals. This generally leads to a happier, more productive workforce, which tends to result in happier customers, higher revenues, and lower costs.
Workflow Automation Software and Business Processes
Workflow automation software with built-in flexibility, usability, and power can help an organization embark on business process automation or full-scale business process management. Many companies begin by automating a single process as a pilot project. For example, a company that is used to submitting IT help requests via phone or sticky note may develop an electronic online form that employees can use at their workstation or from their mobile device to request IT services. Once any unexpected wrinkles are ironed out and the new process proves its utility, the company may expand and automate other processes, such as new employee onboarding, travel expense reporting, or building maintenance requests.
Not Just Any Form Software Can Do the Job
Forms software is widely available, but that doesn’t mean that one software package is as good as another. Don’t settle for form software that has a clunky or difficult user interface, or that locks you into pre-existing templates that aren’t right for your needs. Rather, you should choose form software with an intuitive user interface that doesn’t require users to know how to program in order to create useful, aesthetically pleasing electronic forms and sleek, automated workflows.
Many companies prefer cloud-hosted software so that they don’t have to worry over on-site servers and their maintenance. Does your form software offer a cloud-hosted option? Technical and customer service after the sale are also critically important, so be sure to read case studies or contact companies that have used a product before you commit to it. If the form software provider offers a free trial, check that out too. This way you can make an informed decision that can make a measurable difference in your organization’s workflows and efficiency.
PerfectForms offers tremendous power through an intuitive interface that allows users to easily drag and drop form or workflow elements into place on a virtual canvas. You can start with a range of included, fully customizable templates or begin from scratch if you want. Organizations that automate one form or workflow with PerfectForms soon find countless other applications for it. Why not sign up for a free trial and discover for yourself how powerful and easy-to-use PerfectForms software is?