Business process management (BPM) is the way a company manages (i.e., creates, edits, adapts, tests) its internal processes within the company.
While each department typically creates and manages its own processes and ways of completing tasks, BPM allows the company to take a step back and look at every single one of its processes as a whole.
It’s a great way to ensure the company isn’t utilizing too many different software that can all do the same thing, and ensure they’re all working in the most efficient way. Every department within a company doesn’t need to work off of a different project management software, so it’s a good idea to manage processes company-wide every so often.
BPM can seem like a daunting task, especially for larger companies. But it’s a very necessary strategy to ensure the business isn’t overpaying and is getting things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To help ease you into your next steps in BPM, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to some BPM vocabulary so that you’ll better understand exactly what kind of project you’re undertaking.
1. Business Process: A set of tasks that once completed will accomplish a goal for the company, whether it’s deliverables for a client, setting department budgets, and more. Each department within the company has its own business processes that need to be managed.
2. Continuous Process Improvement: The act of making continuous adaptations on and improvements of processes, products, and services within the company. It’s important to note the key word “continuous” here – it is not a one and done process. The improvement of operations within a company must be done regularly. Plus, just because a process may be optimized at one point, as the business grows and changes, the process should as well.
3. Document-Centric BPM: A type of business process management that focuses on processes surrounding documents (i.e., a contract) and the sending, verifying, filing, etc., of those documents.
4. Integration-Centric BPM: A type of business process management that focuses on processes integrated between systems and doesn’t involve much human touch.
5. Human-Centric BPM: A type of business process management that focuses on processes worked on and completed by people within the company.
6. Process Identification: Defining sets of business processes the company must complete as well as setting the scope, the actions needed, and the team members involved in completing them. This is the first step in business process management, and all processes must be identified in order to properly manage each stage.
7. Process Monitoring: The act of keeping an eye on and evaluating a process’s progress to determine if it needs to be improved or changed. Understanding how well your processes are being executed is key to understanding if they need to be improved or optimized, or if they’re already performing at their best.
8. Process Optimization: Adjusting a process just so in order to make it flow as smoothly and optimally as possible. This helps you determine what needs to be done to achieve optimal results from each of your processes.
Ready to get started with your company’s BPM? PerfectForms is designed for small and medium businesses to manage business processes without the need for a programmer. Contact us today to learn more about how we can fit into your business model.
A recent study from American SPI research found that companies that develop great processes and commit to improvement see their profits rise and pull ahead of the competition.
Great processes are driven by great workflows, and PerfectForms allows even small companies to develop world-class automated workflows across departments, so they can watch their KPIs go from good to great.
Let’s dive in to talk more about what KPIs are, and how workflow automation can help these increase.
What are KPIs?
KPI stands for key performance indicator, and these are used to determine how a certain process or strategy is performing.
There are many areas in your business that you might set KPIs to track success – marketing, sales, employee growth and happiness, and more.
There are no set KPIs that every business needs to focus on. Every business is different, therefore their KPIs, and what counts as high performance and success, are different.
How can workflow automation help your KPIs?
Automation is a great way to help your business complete processes more quickly and efficiently, without having to waste too much manpower. Because you’re then able to allocate your resources to other tasks, adding in necessary and helpful workflow automations can greatly improve your KPIs.
For example, let’s say one of your KPIs is the number of appointments set with your sales reps.
While there’s still a good bit of legwork they will need to do on their own, you can set up workflow automations on your website that allow users to learn more and set their own appointments without ever having to speak to a representative.
Common KPIs your organization needs to measure
Like we mentioned, every business will have different KPIs based on what success means for them. But here are a lot of common KPIs that many businesses need to measure.
These can help you get started, and also determine other industry-specific KPIs that your organization needs to be keeping an eye on.
- Deals Closed: You want to know how many deals your salespeople have closed, and how many sales you’re making, right? This is an extremely important KPI to focus on and can help ensure productivity when this number catapults above man-hours put into closing the deal.
- Revenue per Employee: This is another great KPI to keep an eye on. You’re paying your employees a salary and/or commission, and you want to ensure you’re generating enough revenue to cover them.
- Time to Process Invoices: You need to make sure your business is being paid in a timely manner. The time it takes to process invoices needs to be quick and efficient.
- Order Accuracy: This is extremely important. If orders aren’t accurate, customers aren’t happy. Be sure you’ve put together workflows to improve accuracy in all orders as much as possible.
- Overall Labor Effectiveness: This focuses on your staff and your sales, and can be found by dividing total sales by the number of employees. This KPI can help you find the perfect strategy for a good, high-revenue shift.
- Sales Growth: Track how your sales have been growing, or track your sales reps and how their sales have been performing.
Looking to improve your KPIs and start automating your processes? Watch the demo to learn more about how PerfectForms can help.
In the twenty-first century, a lot of work is done online and on computer apps. This is because it helps to eliminate a lot of manual processes, creating more efficiency and because it’s easier for the user.
Forms that your customers need to fill out are no different. Any time you think to yourself, should this be a paper form or online form, the answer is probably going to be online.
However, when you’ve had many processes put in place in your business or organization that revolve around paper forms, it can seem like a daunting task to have to revisit them all and turn them into online forms.
But you’re in luck. Taking forms from on-paper to online doesn’t have to be a complex project, and it doesn’t require hiring a programmer. Instead, you can utilize an online form software like PerfectForms that comes with many customizable templates and makes it easy for you to make the switch to online.
You don’t need to hire a programmer or create a big IT initiative to turn clunky paper forms into sleek, efficient online forms.
If you’re unsure about switching over all of your paper forms, here are a few examples of paper forms that you should put online ASAP, to kick off your jump to online.
1. School Registration Forms
When it comes to something as important as someone registering for a new school, you need to ensure that every single form submitted is input into the database, and no one is left out.
Using online forms is a great way to make sure that all new registrants’ information is automatically put into your system and the enrolling process is getting started. And if you make your forms mobile-friendly, parents in mobile-only households will be especially appreciative.
2. New Employee Forms
Having new employee forms, and pretty much any HR forms, online helps your employee document management process to become that much easier.
There’s no more need for manila folders and filing cabinets. Instead, you’re able to hold all employee information, completed forms, and signed documents in your online database.
Plus, they’re so much faster for your new employees to fill out, allowing them to start training and get to work even sooner.
If you’re considering sending out surveys to your customers, phone or snail mail is not the best way to do this anymore. Instead, you can create a survey in PerfectForms and email it to your customers for them to quickly fill out at their own convenience and easily submit.
This makes your survey response that much higher and also allows you to receive all of your survey answers in one convenient spreadsheet.
Online surveys are superior to paper or phone surveys in every conceivable way.
Switching these existing paper forms to online forms doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. In fact, with PerfectForms’ customizable templates, a high ROI is essentially guaranteed.
The process won’t take very long, but the time it will save your customers, employees, and various departments will pay off for years to come.
If you’re interested in learning more about switching your paper forms to an online version, check out our training videos to watch how the software can easily work for you and your organization.
Not that long ago, implementing automated workflows meant hiring a programmer or pulling someone from IT, which was expensive. Plus, the workflows may not have been ideal for the people who ended up using them.
No-code workflow development means that the workflow software – like PerfectForms – does all the programming work for you, and all you have to do is drag and drop workflow elements into place.
Creating workflows this way is far less expensive, and it’s much easier to design workflows that really make sense. Now even small businesses can afford to automate workflows and reap the benefits.
What does “no-code” workflow mean?
It really is as simple as it sounds. Creating a no-code workflow means that these processes aren’t hard-coded and are very basic to create and easy to understand.
When you choose no-code workflow software, you don’t have to spend nearly your entire workflow budget just on having a programmer set them up. Instead, members of your team have the advantage of easily create and adapt your workflow processes.
Why is no-code workflow beneficial?
Well, as you have probably concluded for yourself, no-code workflows are far cheaper and it’s easier to implement. But let’s dive into these a bit further, as well as a few more examples.
When you hire a developer or programmer to code different processes for your team, they’re set in stone until you’re ready and willing to pay that developer or programmer again to change them. Not all workflows – especially new ones – are going to stay the same forever. So you want to have the ability to easily adapt them as the business grows and changes in itself.
Furthermore, you don’t want to waste your entire budget on programmers. If you’re able to instill a DIY approach in your business, you can have team members quickly jump in to create and adjust processes and still have capital left for other ventures.
Finally, the right no-code workflow software is incredibly easy to use. If you’re taking advantage of software like PerfectForms, you have an easy drag-and-drop interface that allows you to physically move your workflow processes around and drop them where you see fit.
This doesn’t require a specific skill set, meaning you don’t have to hire or recruit someone with particular experience. You can have anyone on your team learn how to set up your workflows and processes in PerfectForms.
How can you create no-code workflows?
Start by watching a demo of how PerfectForms works so that you can see how it will fit into your business and your current processes.
If you currently have several automations set up, but you’re looking for a simpler way to have them all on one platform, it’s extremely easy to recreate workflows in PerfectForms.
Once you sign up for your account, you’ll log in and start planning out your new process. Design your form and layout your user interface. Add triggers and other behaviors to your form, then build out your workflow. Get started putting together your no-code workflows today!
Around 2 billion people access the internet only from their smartphones and mobile devices, so you can no longer assume that the people filling out your online forms are on a desktop computer.
This means it’s extremely important to ensure all of your online forms are mobile-friendly, or else people won’t fill them out. Instead, they’ll exit out of your survey or webpage and head over to a competitor with a more mobile-friendly form and sign up process.
Let’s go over a few features that are essential to helping make your online forms mobile-friendly so you can continue to serve those two billion people.
1. Keep the number of form fields to a minimum.
If someone is on their phone filling out a form, they don’t want to have to fill out 50 different fields on several different pages.
In order to make forms mobile-friendly, you need to minimize the number of form fields you include.
Take a look at your current paper forms and determine which fields aren’t absolutely necessary. If a field isn’t required for the submission, go ahead and omit it. It’s important to focus on the essentials and gathering the most substantial information.
2. Use a single-column form layout.
Anything that is optimized for mobile devices should be scrollable in a single-column format. No one wants to be stuck pinching their screen to zoom in and scrolling all around to make sure they’ve filled out every single form field.
Don’t place form fields side-by-side. Instead, add them in one-by-one, one on top of the next. This makes it easiest to fill out on smartphones and other mobile devices.
3. Add in automation when possible.
Automation is always, always, always a good thing. It helps make processes more efficient, and can even make the form submission easier for your audience.
Give your forms the ability to allow auto-fill. Many people type in their information in various forms, and phones and computers save that information. Allow a dropdown for people to tap once and have all of their contact or credit card information complete the fields automatically.
4. Minimize typing.
Typing on a smartphone is simply not the same as typing on a computer. There’s a reason that we’ve developed tons of abbreviations and text message shorthands for common phrases – it’s much, much faster to type “LOL” than “laugh out loud” on a mobile device.
This also means that none of your form recipients wants to type out a short answer for every single field.
Instead, you should incorporate radio buttons and dropdowns whenever possible. Make it as easy as can be to fill out your form so that it’s a quick process that doesn’t cause your audience to take a second thought about any of the questions.
Start incorporating these easy adjustments into your forms so you can optimize them for mobile viewing and submission. You don’t want to alienate the entire portion of your audience that accesses the internet exclusively from their mobile device.
If you’re struggling to find a method that helps you to create mobile-friendly forms, contact us! We’re happy to discuss how PerfectForms creates visually appealing and easily accessible forms for both desktop and mobile usage.
The next time you’re putting together a form to print off for your customers or clients, think twice before hitting that print button. Although paper forms have long been the norm, technology is changing that. Online forms are much easier for customers and clients to fill out, and they’re easier to keep on file.
Not only that, but online forms reduce errors. Although typos happen, they’re much less likely than being unable to read someone’s handwriting, inputting someone’s answers incorrectly, and questions not being answered.
Still not convinced? We’re here to change that.
Follow along with these three ways that online forms reduce errors and we’ll easily persuade you to join the rest of us in the twenty-first century. Trust us, life is easier here.
1. No one is deciphering bad handwriting.
You know the old saying that doctors have terrible handwriting. Well, guess what? It doesn’t just stop at doctors. In fact, 69% of people say they have bad handwriting.
When you or someone in your company or office is having to look through handwritten forms that are all but illegible, they’re essentially having to guess at what your customer or client wrote.
You won’t have that problem anymore with online forms. While we mentioned that yes, typos occur, most of them are easily figured out with context clues anyways.
2. Data entry isn’t needed.
Data entry is never perfect. Whether you’re entering the information yourself, a secretary is handling it, or you’ve outsourced it to a virtual assistant, people make mistakes.
But when you send people online forms to fill out, you’re automatically given their exact answers, with no room for additional human error. You can easily integrate online forms with your database so that there is absolutely no in-between for a secretary or data entry clerk to handle them.
This completely eliminates the middle man, helping to ensure there are no errors from when the form is in your client’s hand to when it’s input into your system.
3. You can require fields.
Online forms have the ability to require fields before the form is even submitted. Paper forms can’t do that, and people can easily skip over questions that are essential to moving forward, whether intentional or by accident.
You can denote which of your form fields must be filled out before continuing or submitting the form, making it easier for people to go back and fill out any responses they may have previously overlooked.
This ensures no one in your office is having to call clients or customers to get an answer – instead, it’s already been filled out because the user was notified that they had missed a field. There’s no need for back and forth, and you’ve received a fully completed form the first time around.
See how beneficial online forms can be to your business? They save time, reduce errors, eliminate the need for data entry, and help make processes much more efficient. Learn more about how online forms can help your business by taking advantage of our free trial.
Content marketing has a lot of moving parts. You have to define your goals, audit your current content to understand what's performing well, generate new ideas, assign content creation, edit the content, post it, and finally monitor its performance.
Automated workflows help companies manage these many tasks while minimizing confusion and keeping the content marketing team all on the same page and up to date. Let's talk about how workflows can be developed for content marketing tasks and how the right workflow software is essential.
What is an automated workflow?
Workflow automation is a series of automated steps that have been put together in a way that makes an overall process easier.
These workflows can be used for all sorts of business processes, but of course, we're going to discuss how you can use one to make your company's content marketing strategy that much easier.
How can automated workflows improve content marketing?
Content marketing isn't typically a strategy that people realize can be improved with automation. While it's mostly keyword, research, content planning, content creation, and publishing, there are still processes that can be improved with an automated workflow.
What does your content marketing process look like right now?
Many companies have several cooks in the kitchen when it comes to content creation. The SEO specialist does keyword research to determine which keywords are most likely to rank. Then it's assigned to the writer, who creates an optimized article around the keyword.
After the writer is finished, it hits the editor, who makes sure the keyword is used enough times, there are enough inbound and outbound links, and more. The graphic designer then puts together the graphics for the publication and promotion of the article.
And finally, it's published on the blog and sent through the promotion strategy.
Making sure you have a set process for content marketing is step one in your workflow management. Each person involved needs to know what their role is and when in line it happens.
You can easily create a workflow that assigns the task to each person in the pipeline as each portion of the project is completed. This helps to ensure that no pieces in the process are overlooked, and the article is created seamlessly.
There are also ways to create workflows for your SEO analysis, writing, editing, and promotion strategies. Put together checklists to adhere to so no one forgets any piece of the puzzle. Make sure you take note of the best platforms to share your new article on so that it gets the most traction possible.
Putting together workflows for your content marketing is the best way to make sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle, especially if there are multiple people on the team working on these articles.
How can I create a workflow for my content marketing strategy?
Putting together workflow applications is our specialty! Take a look at our workflow software to find everything you need to put together a more organized and automated content marketing process.
Watch the demo now to find out if our software will work for you and the way you manage your content marketing. The great thing is that it can be adjusted to fit nearly any process, so we highly recommend you give it a try.
What does the expense reimbursement process look like within your company?
In most cases, employees have to have their receipt, fill out an expense report for each individual purchase, submit the report(s), then wait (sometimes weeks) to receive their reimbursement.
It's a tedious process that most employees complain about on end. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Creating automated workflows can help to speed up the expense reimbursement process tenfold, making your employees happier, and increasing efficiency for your company.
Here are 4 ways your company can use workflow software in their expense reimbursement process.
1. Ditch the paper forms.
Stop making your employees spend hours upon hours filling out paper forms for company expenses, just so they can be rightfully reimbursed.
Instead, move to an online form that your employees can easily fill out and submit digitally, right from their desk or where they're at on the go.
2. Include receipt upload.
Reimbursement is typically contingent on submitting a receipt, and an employee is simply out of luck if they happen to lose it. Because this can be frustrating for employees, why not make it easier, and allow them to snap a photo of their receipt as soon as they get it.
Then they can easily upload their receipt into their digital form and be on their merry way.
3. Approve more quickly.
When your company receives these digitally, you're able to go through and approve them more efficiently. You can set your forms up to automatically email submissions to the people who need to approve these expenses and be input into a spreadsheet.
Having this information in a spreadsheet can be much easier. It allows those in charge of expense approval to go in each day, approve or deny new expenses, input their name so the company knows who managed it, and quickly send an approval or denial response to the employee.
4. Reimburse more quickly.
Once an approval has gone through, an automation can be set up that sends it to the accounting department, and the money can be put back into employees' wallets sooner than before.
Manual reimbursement processes can take weeks for an employee to be reimbursed. When it comes to large work expenses, this can be tough on the employee when they have to wait long periods of time to see that money go back into their pocket.
Put together an automated workflow that allows employees to see their approved reimbursements more quickly. Set up direct deposit, consider using company credit cards, and more.
Don't let your employees wait weeks on end before they see their reimbursement. Putting together workflows that allow them to more quickly and easily submit expense reports will help to streamline the entire process and make it move more smoothly for your employees and for your company.
How can I speed up reimbursement with automated workflows?
Creating a new form and putting together new automated processes and workflows can greatly help improve how things work at your company. We're all for it.
In fact, with our workflow software, you'll be able to easily revamp your entire expense reimbursement process into something that works better for both you and your employees. Watch the demo to learn more about how our software works so you can hit the ground running when you sign up.
Inefficiency can cost businesses a significant chunk of their yearly revenues.
The amount of money lost to inefficiency can be surprising!
Individual inefficiencies spread across teams and departments add up, yet many companies continue to plow ahead, doing things as they’ve always done. Good workflow management can eliminate many inefficiencies, whether they’re adopted on the individual, team, or departmental level, or are integrated throughout an organization.
Companies that have considered using workflow software, but that are afraid of the upheaval of implementing it should take note of the many ways that automated workflows can improve team performance. These improvements add up rapidly and can be reflected in quick and impressive workflow software ROI. Here are four reasons why workflow management is important in improving team performance.
1. By Automating Manual Steps
Paper forms and their management are terribly inefficient. Not only can paper forms be lost or damaged, but they can also present problems like illegible handwriting. And they can easily be buried under other work, causing unnecessary delays in workflows.
Online forms that are automatically routed to the correct recipient at every step do away with all these problems and can even feed form data directly into spreadsheets or databases. Online forms also do away with endless status phone calls and emails, further saving time.
2. By Creating Automatic Checks and Balances
If someone turns in a purchase order form on paper with a number that doesn’t make sense or is out of range, it may go unnoticed for days. But with workflow software, an online purchase order form can instantly flag an out-of-range number so it can be corrected then and there.
Other types of checks and balances can be added to improve workflow management further. Errors like text in a numerical form field or forms that are incomplete can trigger pop-up error messages so that mistakes are corrected immediately and don’t affect further workflow steps.
Built-in checks and balances mean errors can be corrected right away.
3. By Consolidating Team and Project Documentation
Workflow management that collects all team or project documentation in a central location can improve team performance significantly. Reference documents, process instructions, customer or client information, and more can be stored centrally so that all workflow users can access it at any time.
Rather than trying to find a local computer file or a paper document, workflow users can access documents through the workflow itself, saving time and minimizing errors. As a result, team performance improves.
4. By Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making
Online forms and workflows make data collection easy. Data from forms and workflows can be automatically entered into databases, spreadsheets, or other office systems like Salesforce CRM.
If the workflow software includes reporting capabilities, collected data can be used to spot trends, monitor performance, and generally help teams make more informed decisions. Data-driven decision making is becoming more important in businesses of every kind, and the right workflow software makes it easy to do.
PerfectForms is workflow software that makes workflow management easy. No programming is required, so workflow users themselves can design workflows that accomplish exactly what they want without help from IT. PerfectForms makes the creation of customized online forms simple, and these forms can be connected into powerful workflows that make the most of team resources. Teams can do away with manual processes, input checks and balances that prevent errors, and automatically collect data to drive better decisions down the line.
We encourage you to browse through the many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses and organizations have dramatically improved their performance. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time.
The online form that is perfect for your needs depends heavily on context.
Knowing your form users is the first step to designing the
perfect online form.
Additionally, what is perfect today may be less so tomorrow due to the rapid pace of innovation and technology advancement.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get it right! With the right form software and knowledge about attitudes toward forms, you can create the best online forms that perfectly meet your needs while delighting form users.
And it is with your users that you should start when designing online forms. After all, if users don’t want to complete your form, it benefits no one. Make sure the first step in any form initiative is learning about who will be using it. Once you know that, you can make the most of the following qualities that make online forms outstanding.
A Perfect Form Looks Great on Any Device
These days, you can’t assume that form users are in a desktop environment with a full keyboard. Customer-facing forms often reach people who are using mobile devices. And an increasing number of employee-facing forms are used by workers with mobile devices. For example, field technicians need to be able to see forms clearly on the mobile devices they use in the field.
Great-looking forms are uncluttered and use readable fonts. Form field labels are readable and unambiguous, so users know which information goes in which fields. Branding touches, like logos and colors, may be evident, but they shouldn’t overwhelm what appears on the screen.
It Is Also Brief
When you create online forms, it’s natural to want to collect as much information as possible. But form users don’t see it that way. They see a form and subconsciously judge whether filling it out is worth their time. Therefore, it’s essential to keep online forms as brief as possible while collecting the key information you require. A landing page form, request form, or even an application form will turn users off it looks like it will take too long to complete.
Nobody wants to input their life story just to access
a complimentary white paper.
In today’s world, you can’t take for granted that people will use your form with the benefit of a big screen and a full-sized keyboard. Taking a mobile-friendly approach is best because it also helps you ensure your forms aren’t overly long.
Mobile-friendliness is also about more than just how a form looks on a small screen. It is about minimizing the amount of typing required of users. You can reduce typing with radio buttons, checklists, and drop-down menus. And you can also store previously entered information so that filling out a form a second or subsequent time auto-fills blanks that the user has completed before.
It Acknowledges Form Submission
We have all had the experience of completing and submitting an online form only to have nothing happen or be taken to a new screen with no indication of what happened to our form. People need closure. They need to know that once they click on “Submit,” their completed form has gone where it’s supposed to go.
A simple pop-up “thank you” notification or automatic navigation to a “thank you” screen reassures users that their efforts in completing an online form were not wasted and that the form has been sent on its way successfully.
The “perfect” online form is highly context-dependent. Designing it requires that you understand the people who will be using it. Are they busy moms carrying a toddler and a phone simultaneously? Are they field technicians submitting important jobsite information? Are they shoppers relaxing at the end of the day?
Know your form users, and you can design online forms that suit both their needs and yours. PerfectForms is online form software that makes it easy to create fully customized online forms with no programming required. Take a look at the PerfectForms demo video for inspiration, and if you have questions, please contact us at any time.