Filling out forms will probably never be as enjoyable as petting a puppy or eating ice cream, but there are plenty of things form designers can do to make forms as painless as possible for users. The simple fact that online forms exist as an alternative to manually completing paper forms and then hand-delivering, mailing, or faxing them somewhere is already a huge improvement in the form user experience.
But if you have good form creation software, you can avoid minor hassles that make online forms more difficult than they need to be. Here are several ways you can be kinder to your electronic form users without compromising on the quality of the data your forms collect.
Validating Form Fields as Soon as They’re Completed
Have you ever filled out a lengthy form online and clicked “Submit” with a sense of relief, only to be jarred by a pop-up telling you that you made a mistake? Maybe you have to go back and look for the blank that’s outlined in red, and then try to envision what you did wrong. Did you include a period after your initial when you weren’t supposed to? Did you neglect to put the area code in parentheses? Sometimes it’s easy to figure out where you went astray, but with long forms that take up into pages, it can take a while.
Ideally, form creation software should allow you to notify a user that the information they put in a blank is invalid as soon as they enter it, so they can rectify the situation immediately. If nothing else, break extensive forms down into multiple pages so that users aren’t overwhelmed. This is especially important for website landing pages and online order forms. People will abandon them if they’re too daunting.
Using Drop-Down Menus to Restrict Choices
When you need, say, a date entered, using drop-down menus from which users can choose the month, day, and year prevents problems with different date conventions. Many e-commerce businesses in the United States use drop-down menus for shoppers to enter their state of residence to prevent typos that can result in delivery problems. Drop-down menus are especially welcomed by mobile users since they minimize the amount of typing they have to do.
You can even use drop-down menus on forms that request help. For example, if you use online forms for IT help requests, a drop-down menu can allow users to choose a category in which to classify their particular issue (problem printing, slow network, software problems, etc.) so completed forms can be routed and prioritized correctly.
Labeling Form Fields with Helpful Information
When additional information is included next to fields that have specific requirements, users are less likely to become frustrated. Say you have a form that requires setting up a password. If your passwords have special requirements or restrictions, indicating this immediately underneath the blank is tremendously helpful. Letting users know, for example, that they may use only letters and numbers, or that they must include a special character, or if they need to use both capital and lowercase letters, keeps the form-completion process on track and painless.
Making Clear Which Fields Are Mandatory
If certain fields in a form are mandatory, indicating that this is the case can prevent serious frustration on the part of users. Many online forms include a red asterisk next to blanks that must be filled in, and leave optional blanks plain. Or, they may include instructions next to individual fields indicating whether or not they’re mandatory. The word “optional” underneath blanks that aren’t mandatory prevents confusion and allows users to minimize the amount of information they enter if they’re in a hurry or on mobile.
Being kind to users of online forms makes submitting them go more smoothly, and can mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned shopping cart with e-commerce forms. PerfectForms makes it simple to design online forms and workflows that make sense, that are user-friendly, and that accelerate processes significantly compared to accomplishing them manually.
PerfectForms offers form creation software designed for non-technical users, so no programming is required, even to make complex and detailed forms and workflows. Better still, you can try out PerfectForms for free and discover for yourself how easy it is to make logical, sensible, aesthetically pleasing electronic forms that help your organization save time and money.
If your business has a transportation pool, even if it only consists of three or four vehicles, developing a workflow for reserving vehicles, logging usage, noting problems, scheduling maintenance, and other fleet management tasks will help you make the absolute most of this expensive investment.
The good news is that you don’t have to have dedicated software for these processes, because if you have an outstanding online forms solution with built-in workflow tools, you can create custom workflows for managing your transportation pool, no matter its size. Even better, with the right online forms software, you can create efficiency-raising workflows for countless other work processes, from new employee onboarding to IT service requests. Here’s how online forms can help you manage the transportation pool better.
Tracking Who Has Which Vehicle, and When
Particularly if your company sends out field representatives or service technicians, coordinating use of company vehicles is essential to providing consistent service. Creating custom online forms and workflows for reserving or assigning vehicles doesn’t have to be expensive or over-complicated. With the right workflow tools, you can create online forms that allow employees to reserve vehicles for particular blocks of time, record beginning and ending mileage, and note any problems during use.
Mobile-Friendliness Makes Forms More Efficient
If you make your transportation pool management forms and workflows mobile-friendly, you further improve efficiency. Mileage can be entered without leaving the vehicle or jotting down notes, and if your employees already use mobile forms for things like recording deliveries or field services, having their transportation forms and workflows available on the same devices makes much better use of their time, because there’s no waiting to get back to the workplace to enter data.
Collecting Data for Maintenance and Repair Records
Keeping your transportation fleet operating at peak efficiency requires that you keep up with maintenance and repairs. You could, for example, have the transportation management workflow automatically alert the transportation manager once mileage on a vehicle reaches a milestone that indicates that it’s time for maintenance.
A form for scheduling and recording maintenance is easy to create as well. If there’s a problem with a vehicle during use, such as a new noise, a mobile-friendly online form can allow personnel to enter details of the problem right away, and issue an alert to the transportation manager to evaluate the situation and advise on how to proceed.
Fleets Are Expensive; Manage Them Well
Even the smallest transportation fleet is an expensive investment, and maximizing your return on investment and making vehicles serve for as long as reasonably possible helps make the best use of your company’s resources. Trying to manage a small pool of three or four vehicles may be possible with a phone and sticky notes, but it’s vulnerable to errors, and inefficient.
Electronic forms and workflows for the transportation pool, on the other hand, help ensure that vehicles are never double-booked, that the transportation manager knows when each vehicle is expected back and can alert the team to mileage so that routine maintenance can be taken care of on time. Online forms can also be used on mobile devices to log mileage, note problems, or ask for extensions on vehicle usage, all without paper and pencil.
With workflow tools like those built into PerfectForms, creating online forms and workflows for transportation pool management is easier than you imagine. With PerfectForms, creating custom forms for a nearly unlimited variety of uses doesn’t require programming, so the very people who will use a form or workflow can help design it.
Furthermore, PerfectForms can easily be made to interact with spreadsheets, databases, and other software so, for example, beginning and ending mileage can be automatically fed into a database and send out email alerts when it’s time for routine maintenance. The result is that scheduling use of vehicles becomes easier, faster, and less prone to mistakes. We invite you to watch our demo and see how flexible, powerful, and easy to use PerfectForms is – for streamlining transportation management and countless work processes.
The marketing department may focus most of its efforts on creating marketing content, yet there is a place for electronic forms and workflows in several parts of this process. Form-design software, rather than constraining the creation of outstanding marketing content, can facilitate it, by making the administrative tasks that go along with content creation easier, faster, and more accurate. Eliminating the chore of filling out forms by hand to track content lightens the load considerably.
In fact, the right software is like having your own workflow designer on tap, assisting you with numerous tasks involved in the creation and distribution of marketing content, as well as gathering potential customer data from web forms.
Design Web Page Landing Forms
Web page landing forms can make or break your inbound marketing push. When you use your form design software to do this, it’s not only easy to create a great design that you can adjust as necessary, it’s easier to make use of the information collected from those landing pages. In fact, landing page input can be automatically routed to one or more databases, spreadsheets, or other repositories so it doesn’t have to be re-entered manually, and can be used for multiple purposes by marketing and sales personnel.
Manage Content Production
Content production requires keeping track of ideas, setting deadlines, and sticking to an editorial calendar. Ideas submitted to editors electronically won’t be lost in a stack of papers, and you can find out at any time exactly where a particular piece of content is in the process. An electronic workflow for archiving older content keeps it out of the way, yet easily reachable – without the need for physical filing cabinets to store hard copies in. If a piece of marketing content is especially well-received, finding out who the writer and editor were can help you replicate that excellent reception with other pieces.
Interface with Your CRM
The right workflow designer doesn’t just create electronic forms and workflows but lets you interface with other software. For example, if you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution like Salesforce, having form design software capable of interfacing with it maximizes the usefulness of data, eliminates duplication of effort, and makes managing prospects more current and accurate. The more you can automate processes that used to be manual (like entering data into your CRM), the more time your team can focus on actual marketing and selling.
Coordinate Email Marketing
Email marketing may not be glamorous or exciting, but it still works and many companies still use it. In fact, it’s the second most popular medium for generating high lead volume and the third highest ranked medium for the capture of quality leads. Integrating forms with your email marketing platform lets you add to email lists virtually in real time, so your team can devote more time and attention to nurturing leads rather than entering data into forms. It can be great for minimizing the time between a prospect completing a landing page form and receiving your brand messages.
Marketing (and sales) may be personalized and hands-on, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for electronic forms and workflows. On the contrary, the right form design software allows you to automate administrative tasks and free up time for concentrating on marketing rather than data collection or entry.
Having PerfectForms is like having your own workflow designer on staff because it empowers the non-technical user to design and deploy custom electronic forms and workflows without having to know how to program. It interfaces with web forms, databases, and other software, so you can cut down on data entry and be more confident about the consistency of the data your team works with.
PerfectForms is terrific for traditional administrative functions like HR forms, building maintenance, and new employee onboarding, but it’s flexible and powerful enough that it can be put to an almost unlimited variety of uses – including with your marketing department. Organizing production of marketing content, tracking web landing page use, and sticking to your content marketing editorial schedule are all easier with PerfectForms. We encourage you to watch the demo for more inspiration about the amazing ways PerfectForms can be put to work in all departments of your organization.
On any given day, a person may use one online form to buy a pair of shoes, another to replace a lost driver’s license, and yet another to access the results of medical tests. Online forms have made life faster, easier, and more accurate, with less back-and-forth trying to correct clerical errors. And now that many online forms are mobile-friendly, filling them out can be even more convenient.
Online forms are nothing new. A person can use several of them during the course of an ordinary day and not give it a second thought. But if security issues arise in association with online forms, form-users may find themselves feeling violated and wondering if they should trust the security of the forms they use on the web. It’s important that you ensure the security of the data your online forms collect, and that you reassure form-users that the data they enter is safe.
The Australian Census Debacle
In August 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics called on all Australians to go online August 9 to complete the census, and that seemingly innocuous request has since caused a cascade of technical, political, and legal problems. One of the first issues people complained about was that names were required and would be stored for several years, unlike with past censuses. Rumors then arose that the statistical analysis provider wanted to monetize the data collected.
As for technical problems, householders were sent an online code needed to access the census in mail addressed to “Householder” that looked like junk mail and in many cases was treated as such. Concerns about privacy of data sparked fears that people would lie on their forms out of fear their data would be misused.
Moreover, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurred that night, overloading the census servers with huge amounts of irrelevant traffic, making the site temporarily inaccessible. Clearly, this was a case of online forms gone horribly awry.
What Your Form Design Software Must Do
If you use form design software to create online forms, it’s absolutely essential that your software provides strong application programming interface (API) security. Insecure APIs have been linked to major security breaches, and of course any security breach is a big one if you’re affected by it. Ensure that your form design software offers critical API security options such as:
- Secure socket layers (SSL) encryption
- “White list” validated user input
- 128-bit encryption of all client-server communication
- Custom encryption keys
To prevent security breaches from inside your organization (from an angry ex-employee, for example), your form design software should allow for:
- Accounts that cannot be accessed without specifically being enabled
- User accounts allowed to modify the API being specifically designated
- IP restrictions imposed on users who access the entire API
- User-specific keys that must be used in conjunction with login to access the API
- Requiring each function call to use a security token generated by the previous function call, with each token only being used once.
Thorough Testing and Periodic Retesting Are Essential
Before any online forms go live, thorough testing is crucial. What happens when a user attempts to access information he or she does not have authorization for? Is online operation crash-free and predictable? Do your online forms still work correctly after your system or popular user operating systems (like Windows 10) undergo major upgrades? Just because you tested online forms before they went live doesn’t mean testing is done once and for all. Periodic retesting is essential to maintaining online forms security.
Choose Software Wisely and Minimize the Risk of Problems
The software you choose to create online forms can be supportive of, or detrimental to form security. PerfectForms is a form creation software that empowers the non-technical user to create custom online forms and workflows that keep your system secure while making the end-user environment secure as well. With features like SSL encryption, security tokens, and options like IP restrictions, PerfectForms makes it as easy and straightforward as possible to create secure online forms that your customers will be comfortable using. We encourage you to watch our demo and witness how powerful, effective, and secure PerfectForms is for creating the online forms that are exactly right for your needs.
Putting important forms online is one of the most significant steps you can take to improve productivity in the workplace. When your team members can access, complete, and submit forms online, your organization saves time, resources, and frustration because online forms are fast, paperless, and less prone to mistakes than paper forms.
But before you put forms online it’s important to take steps to make sure they work as they’re supposed to. Before putting forms online, you should take these essential steps to help ensure a successful launch.
1. Ensure Online Forms Are Fully Functional
If forms don’t work, clearly you have some changes to make. Do forms appear and look like you expect when an end-user clicks on the link to them? If your online forms have drop-down menus, do they fit on the screen, and are they functional? Are there any problems placing the screen cursor in the correct blank? People are used to using online forms, and they expect them to be problem-free from the start.
2. Assess Whether End-Users Have Consistent Experiences
Have end-users access forms in different operating environments. If you’re making forms mobile-friendly, be sure to thoroughly test them on the devices your employees or customers will be using. Check that forms are accessible, look as expected, and work for Windows, Android, and iOS environments at a minimum. Ensure your mobile-friendly forms don’t require excessive amounts of data entry by keyboard, or provide an auto-fill capability to speed things along.
3. Ensure Forms Are Submitted Correctly
When someone completes a form and submits it, does the intended recipient receive it right away? Are copies sent to people who require them? Many companies create forms that issue auto-alerts upon submission, so that if someone’s action or approval is required, they are notified instantly via email. Ensure that auto-alerts go out as expected, and that the people who are supposed to receive them do.
4. Make Sure Security Is Maintained
Different forms will require different security levels, and before putting forms online you have to make certain security is maintained. Do your online forms use HTTPS sessions and 128-bit encryption with all client-server interactions? If you use custom keys as a security layer, do they operate as intended? It’s also important to maintain security from the side of the application program interface (API) so that only authorized people can modify forms.
5. Check for Surprises
Particularly if your online forms are part of a multi-step workflow, you should test the workflow from end to end, using all applicable operating system environments. Though it stands to reason that if every step individually works as expected there shouldn’t be problems with the workflow as a whole, nonetheless it’s wise to test the entire workflow before launching it online and make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.
Having the right online forms software can mean the difference between successful testing of online forms and workflows, and running into problems. PerfectForms is software for online forms and workflows that is designed for non-technical users. Thus, it allows the very people who will use a form or workflow to influence its design, without the need for programming. PerfectForms is also made to interact with databases, spreadsheets, web forms, and other software with ease, so you can create automated workflows without hiring a programmer.
With PerfectForms, users drag and drop form elements into place using an intuitive user interface. Electronic forms can be made to look identical to paper forms, including colors, fonts, sizes, and logos, so end-users will know right away how to complete them. Once you put a few forms online, you’ll quickly realize how much more efficient it makes work processes and will undoubtedly think of new ways to incorporate online forms and workflows into your business processes. We encourage you to read some of our case studies so you can see the many ways businesses use PerfectForms to increase productivity while reducing resource consumption and preventing frustration.
Managers report that they spend a full 40% of their workweek completing administrative tasks. That’s two full days out of a five-day workweek!
Obviously, there is a need for administrative tasks, or else even the smallest business would fall into chaos. But these tasks need not be cumbersome and slow because online forms and workflow automation software can improve them markedly.
Outstanding improvements can follow when processes are organized throughout a business, including across departments. And the right workflow automation software makes it not only possible but also straightforward. Here are five of the countless ways online forms organize processes throughout an organization.
1. By Making Communications with IT Easier and Faster
An IT department that attempts to function efficiently without some sort of digital transaction management is tilting at windmills. Perhaps the IT departments of a generation ago could get things done with a phone, notepad, and pencil to record the problems end-users experienced, but that is hardly ever the case today.
With today’s impressive workflow automation software, your IT team can design custom online forms and workflows faster than any other IT project they’ll ever tackle. And productivity will benefit short and long term.
2. By Streamlining and Adding Transparency to Finance Functions
The Finance department copes with check requests, reimbursement requests, purchase orders, new vendor forms, and countless other forms that ensure proper record keeping of expenses. People in just about every other department have to interact with Finance at one point or another, and if Finance is managed with Byzantine manual processes and forms that must be completed by hand, it can be a dreaded interaction all around.
Online forms and workflows that spell out steps and automatically route completed forms, however, speed things up considerably while making processes less mysterious and more transparent.
3. By Helping HR Serve People Better
Human Resources is another department that interacts with every other department. Your HR people are involved with hiring, compliance with regulations and laws, out-processing employees who are departing, and even handling interpersonal problems between employees.
Asking HR to do everything they have to do without a powerful online forms system means you’re squandering their time and talent on processes that are slower and more prone to mistakes than they should be. Create online forms and workflows for a single HR process (like new employee onboarding) and see what a tremendous positive difference it makes.
4. By Standardizing Business Travel Across Departments
Business travel has always been complicated, even before the days of online booking and cost-saving apps. Your travel coordinators are expected to perform their work perfectly, often on short notice, so your engineers make it to the technical conference, and the VP of Finance has no trouble getting to the shareholder meeting. And if your instrument technicians or nurses have to attend training off-site, you want to get them there and back with minimum hassle.
Online forms and workflows are the only way to go when it comes to coordinating travel across a business.
5. By Creating and Disseminating a Smart Disaster Recovery Plan
Nobody likes thinking about what to do in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, but it is something that every organization must tackle. Indeed, having a solid disaster recovery plan can be what keeps your business operating after a disaster when others might have to shut down altogether.
With a disaster recovery point of contact in each department, and regular training of all front-line employees on what to do in the event of a disaster, your team will face these unique and frightening challenges with less panic and more composure. Online forms and workflows can spell out exact steps employees should take when catastrophe strikes.
Online forms and workflows are no longer “nice to have” for today’s businesses, but are essential for enjoying a competitive advantage. PerfectForms is workflow automation software designed for non-technical users so that the exact people who use the forms and workflows can create them to fulfill their needs exactly.
With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, easy integration with web forms, databases, spreadsheets, and other software programs, PerfectForms offers the flexibility, scalability, and capability your business needs to have organized logical processes throughout. We invite you to read some of our case studies and learn about the many creative ways companies of all sizes and types have improved operations with PerfectForms.
Hello PerfectForms Community,
PerfectForms is a very flexible tool that can be used to build out anything as simple as a basic web form to complex applications with third party integrations. By using our Connections tab configuring connections to other software is made easy. Our integrations include Database connections, Directory Service Connections, Connections to PerfectForms Form data, and SOAP API/Web service calls.
PerfectForms ability to connect to almost anything allows you to fill the gap in a current software solution without costly development. You can utilize PerfectForms to replace or extend your current solution with its ability to:
• Quickly build HTML Forms
• Build Workflow Driven Processes
• Convert or Format Data
• Store Data
• Integrate with other software
• Run Real-Time Calculations
And much more.
A great example of how PerfectForms connections can be utilized to interact with 3rd party software was recently published by WebMerge. The blog post outlines a quick and easy instructional on how they were able to use PerfectForms’ form creator software to create a web form that would be used to populate fields in their E-Form. WebMerge offers a product with a unique feature set including the ability to upload a PDF copy or Word Document version of a form in which you would like the fields to be populated by API from a web form. This offering can come in handy for forms with a set format such as a W2 (Which we all know don’t convert well to digital format.) A link to this article can be found HERE.
I hope this article sparked some creative thoughts on doing more with PerfectForms.
Thanks for reading and happy form building.
Excellent workflow management correlates with the consistency of services and improved productivity and efficiency. With the right workflow management tools, organizational behaviors can be driven in the right direction, improving resource optimization, reducing expenditures, and increasing revenues.
Workflow management is essentially creating standards that lead to consistent work processes that make work safer, of higher quality, and more efficient. Standardization (often done through online forms) offers consistency and simplification, and when you add automation to that, you have the elements of a high-quality, high-efficiency workflow. Here are five steps to better workflow management
1. Determine the Best Way to Initiate a Workflow
Some workflows are best initiated automatically, perhaps in accordance with a particular weekday or a particular day of the month. These workflows will begin without someone initiating them, but of course, people are required to interact with these workflows at some point.
Other workflows may be initiated only on an as-needed basis. For example, if someone wants to request reimbursement for business travel expenses, he can initiate the workflow designed for that. Knowing what action triggers a workflow is one of your first tasks.
2. Plan for Repeatability
Efficient workflows are repeatable. That means that someone from Finance can use the workflow for requesting IT services and have a similar experience to the person from Graphics who needs IT services. Clearly, not every workflow user wants the same thing.
One person may need a printer repaired, while another may need a new graphics card installed. But it should be clear to every potential workflow user how to initiate a workflow, and how to step through it successfully. Pull-down menus can be tremendously helpful in creating workflows that require customization without creating confusion.
3. Integrate Workflows with Scheduling Tools
Some workflows may need to be initiated by the calendar (such as time card processing done on the same weekday). Other workflows, though initiated on an as-needed basis, can also benefit from scheduling tools.
For example, if someone requests a building keycard for a new hire, an alert may be sent to the person who distributes them as soon as the request is submitted. Then, if no action is taken in, say, 48 hours, another reminder is sent to the person who distributes keycards as a reminder and to keep the workflow on track.
4. Test Before Deployment
Unforeseen consequences aren’t that uncommon when you simplify and automate workflows. You could eliminate a step you thought was superfluous, and then find out it was necessary after all. Plus, you want to make sure that the workflow accomplishes all the actions you need it to.
Therefore, it’s essential that you thoroughly test workflows before releasing them to users. Have testers try to derail workflows and see if the workflow puts them back on track. Measure whether automatic alerts reach recipients in a timely manner. Test thoroughly before deploying.
5. Monitor After Execution
Once a workflow goes live, the possibility still exists that it will have to be modified at some point. Technology may evolve that would allow for further automation, or steps may need to be added due to new regulations that come into effect. Monitoring workflows and ensuring they remain efficient is important due to the dynamic nature of the business world.
The workflow that was state-of-the-art a year ago may be ready for significant improvement this year. Ideally, you should measure the time a workflow takes before and after you standardize and automate it.
Workflow automation tools are similar to the tools a master carpenter brings to work, in that they allow you to accomplish what must be done with consistent quality and high efficiency.
PerfectForms offers you a comprehensive workflow management tool that is flexible enough to use across your entire organization, and powerful enough to offer mobile-friendliness, automated alerts, and a drag-and-drop interface that non-technical users find extremely helpful.
PerfectForms can initiate workflows based on date and time, or on an as-needed basis, and their very repeatability helps ensure outstanding consistency. And PerfectForms has built-in reporting tools that allow you to monitor and measure workflows with ease.
Did you know you can try PerfectForms for free? Take PerfectForms for a test drive and see for yourself how much more consistency and efficiency you can build into your workflows.
Telecommuting and work teams that are mostly mobile are nothing unusual in 2016. From an already impressive 1.32 billion people in the mobile workforce globally in 2014, the number is expected to rise to 1.75 billion by the year 2020 – which will account for 42% of the global workforce!
Mobile professionals include executives, consultants, sales team members, technicians, and freelancers of all stripes, and more professions are gaining more mobility all the time. Business process management (BPM), goes hand-in-hand with workforce mobility, and mobility is already practically a requirement for today’s BPM solutions. Here’s why mobility will be the key to successful BPM implementation by the year 2020.
Business Process Management Growing Impressively
A recent report by RNR Market Research has forecast that the global market for BPM software will have a compound annual growth rate of 20.9% between now and 2020, and one of the main reasons for that growth is that the mobile workforce is growing and businesses need tools to manage business processes even if their workforce is widely dispersed.
A mobile workforce must not only be available and connected, team members must often work in collaboration across large distances. The right BPM tool can mean the difference between a team that is efficient and communicates well, and a team that proceeds in fits and starts, and doesn’t make the most of technology. Why should you be concerned about finding the right BPM software? Here are three reasons.
Complying with Standard Operating Procedures a BPM Driver
When you have a mobile workforce, you have a certain flexibility, but practices still need to be based on standard operating procedures. Procedures should be documented and audited for compliance on a regular basis. BPM software is outstanding for ensuring that a dispersed workforce complies with standard operating procedures, whether they’re making a sales call or fixing a customer’s broadband connection. And BPM software can not only lay out the steps in any business process, but document they have been completed, so if an audit happens, compliance is easier to prove.
Better Business Transparency and BPM Software
BPM software not only allows you to automate, streamline, and make business processes consistent, it also grants transparency you simply don’t get with manual processes. Mobile BPM tools make it easy for authorized people involved in a process to check its status from any place. Sales teams and field technicians can work better together, sales reps in the field can access reference material they need easily, and data can be captured on the go through location sharing and easy uploading of photos or scanning of barcodes and QR codes. Mobility plus BPM software equals greater business value.
Coping with Slimmer Profit Margins by Using BPM Tools
In such a fast-paced world of business, companies must be prepared to cope with slimmer profit margins as they look for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Outdated processes that require manual steps can seriously eat into profit margins, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to streamline business processes and automate wherever possible. Mobility takes efficiency to another level by removing the requirement that employees be at their desks to accomplish tasks. There’s less “down time,” less time spent on cumbersome processes, and fewer worries about shrinking profit margins as efficiency steadily increases.
PerfectForms is the ideal BPM workflow software tool for your mobile workforce. Not only does PerfectForms provide an intuitive interface that allows non-technical people to design and implement business processes, it’s mobile-friendly so your team can access electronic forms and workflows wherever they are. PerfectForms is easy to integrate with other popular office and sales software packages, and with databases, web forms, and spreadsheets, so time spent manually moving data from one place to another is kept to a minimum. Watch our demo and see for yourself how PerfectForms is ready to prepare your mobile workforce for today’s heightened BPM demands.
The corollary to the positive saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” is “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” It seems to defy innovation, even though “the way we’ve always done it” is perfectly fine if you’re talking about something like intricate, lifesaving heart surgery.
There are, however, countless workflows that have functioned for ages, so they wouldn’t be considered “broken.” They could well be outdated, however, and your competitors might use workflow tools to streamline processes, run leaner, and make fewer mistakes.
Sometimes “fixing” something that isn’t broken is the smart thing to do, particularly for clunky manual business processes. And there’s no better time than the present, when data creation is accelerating at a remarkable pace. There are very few places where paper documents without at least digital backups are sufficient for successfully doing business. Is it time to take a second look at your workflows?
Your Processes Get Things Done, But Is That Enough?
An IDC and McKinsey Global Institute analysis found that in an average workweek, the typical worker only spends around 39% of his or her time taking care of role-specific tasks – the ones you hired them for. They spend considerable time searching for and gathering information and communicating within the organization.
Sure, your workflows do things, but do they do them efficiently? What may have been state of the art a few years ago can be woefully outdated today. Workflow tools and workflow designer software can be the key to improving workflows appreciably, and it doesn’t require investment in new IT infrastructure.
“Fixing” May Simply Mean “Automating”
Suppose your organization’s accounts payable process involves scanning, emailing, printing, manually filling out forms, re-scanning, saving digital copies for record keeping, cutting a check, and finally entering the transaction into the finance system. It works, but chances are good that many could be eliminated altogether.
Using electronic forms is a huge step toward automating workflows, and when documents are transmitted and acted upon digitally, the problems of lost or damaged documents hamstringing workflows go away. What you need is workflow designer software that gives you the power and flexibility to create custom workflows that work for you, rather than requiring you to adapt to them.
Why It’s Time to Automate Workflows
Paper documents are slow to process, and expenses are associated with them (like ink, paper, and storage space) that don’t apply to electronic documents. Electronic forms linked into logical electronic workflows makes it so manual intervention is drastically reduced or eliminated throughout a process. They also grant better visibility into processes and allow perks like automated alerts that are great for keeping processes flowing at a good clip.
Another important argument for using workflow tools to automate processes is that doing so makes it easier to meet security requirements and government and industry regulation requirements. Automated workflows can create an audit trail along the way, so if a process ever must be reviewed, doing so is fast and simple.
How Will You Meet Today’s Fast Business Pace?
Today’s pace of business waits for no one, and your customers won’t wait around while you use outdated work processes that slow down the products and services they depend on. But your customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from your business having streamlined, automated forms and workflows. Your employees will have more time to devote to the tasks they were hired for, and everyone will spend less time chasing down and correcting errors. If you are in an industry where your processes are subject to audit, a workflow designer can be your best friend, making audits much less daunting.
PerfectForms’ workflow software is made for non-technical users, so the people who use processes day in and day out can be the ones who design improved, automated workflows that make sense. Once you automate a single process, you will soon envision countless other processes that could benefit from automation with powerful, flexible tools like PerfectForms. Have a look at some of our case studies and see how workflow automation can quickly make a difference in just about any organization. The return on investment can be swift and impressive.