How Change Management Affects Business Process Management – and How to Optimize Both with No-code Software

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Leveraging no-code software to accelerate and digitize business process management

Change is a constant in business, and the pace is only accelerating. To keep up, larger enterprises often put in place a change management function. But even smaller businesses regularly embark on change initiatives.

In fact, the typical organization has undertaken five major company wide changes in the past three years, according to Gartner. In the next three years, three-quarters plan to multiply the types of changes they’ll pursue.

Yet only one-third of change initiatives are a clear success, the Gartner research concludes. One-half of projects actually fail. What’s going on?

A key issue is that virtually any change initiative will have an impact on business processes. That fact has major implications for your organization’s business process management (BPM).

BPM combines process discovery, measurement, analysis, and digitization to automate and improve the workflows that power your business. Organizational, technological, and other changes can disrupt the end-to-end workflows your business depends on – everything from employee reviews to customer invoicing to your year-end financial close.

But one solution can optimize both change management and BPM, and that’s no-code application development. An effective no-code tool can empower your organization to map existing workflows, create new process-enabling applications, digitize processes end-to-end, and measure the results.

No-code for Better BPM

A no-code application development solution enables nontechnical employees to create their own applications and workflows quickly and easily. Virtually any team member can build fully functional and secure applications by simply dragging and dropping reusable software elements on a digital canvas.

Users select from templates to map workflows, design user interfaces, enable data inputs, and generate outputs. Security is automatically built into the resulting application, and API integration automatically connects with popular IT platforms.

With no-code, you’re not burdened by the costly and time-consuming coding, testing, reviewing, and implementing associated with traditional application development. Indeed, there’s no need for help from the IT department at all.

In fact, no-code can turbocharge your BPM. An effective no-code tool enables you to:

  • Model workflows and processes before creating new applications.
  • Tailor interfaces, data inputs, and workflow steps to optimize user experiences.
  • Confirm business rules, cybersecurity, and integrations to make new applications successful.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of no-code apps after deployment to verify positive outcomes and achieve continual improvement.

No-code for Better Change Management

Change management, for its part, has spawned numerous approaches and methodologies. Among the most familiar is the Seven R’s of Change Management popularized by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) set of IT best practices. These simple questions can help your organization make a business case for change:

  1. Who raised the change? Change typically needs to be authorized.
  2. What’s the reason? You should never pursue change just for the sake of doing things differently.
  3. What’s the return? The greater the potential payoff, the more you should prioritize the change.
  4. What’s the risk? Change can introduce risk, but not changing can involve risk, too. Think through the consequences of both.
  5. What are the necessary resources? Change can require an investment in people, technology, time, and budget.
  6. Who’s responsible? Who will design, implement, and measure the change?
  7. Are there any associated relationships? Think about whether the change will affect other activities or require other changes.

No-code can help in all these areas. For starters, it puts power to improve workflows in the hands of the employees who understand them best. All team members can contribute to ensuring the success of change. And because change is more bottom-up, workers are less likely to need training or resist the new way of working.

What’s more, by making change faster, simpler, and less costly, no-code minimizes risk and maximizes reward. You can easily and quickly digitize a workflow and iterate refinements, and continually improve to stay aligned with needs. Does the workflow dovetail with other processes? No-code lets you rapidly adapt those processes, as well.

Harnessing the Power of Process Improvement

Many organizations underestimate the power of change. A single change initiative can streamline a process. It can also spawn additional improvements that raise the performance of an entire business function. Those results can inspire other departments to pursue their own changes and improvements.

Likewise, linking change management to BPM can result in workflows that adapt to support the new way of working. With this foundation in place, you can engage in ongoing process improvements to optimize operations and respond to market demands.

With no-code software as the enabler, you can both support existing change initiatives and drive new change efforts. You can also better map, create, measure, and continually improve processes – just as BPM is intended to do.

Used to its full extent, no-code can actually transform your culture, encouraging all team members to innovate new workflows and improve the business. Your operations begin to function more efficiently. Your customer-facing activities respond better to customer needs. And your business becomes more agile in the face of constant change.

How to Create Workflow Automations For Your Healthcare Practice Without Developers

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Automating workflows in healthcare practices

The U.S. healthcare industry has struggled with staff shortages, a challenge that will only grow by 2025 when providers will lack hundreds of thousands of nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, lab technicians, and more. Hospitals in particular have been hit hard, as providers in all 50 states predict critical shortages in the months ahead.

Digital technology can help. The digitization and automation of patient and equipment forms, status reports, department workflows, and cross-department processes can avoid manual errors, save tremendous amounts of time, and make your existing staff more productive.

But traditionally, automation of forms, workflows, and reports required application development by expert developers on your IT team. That process is costly and time-consuming. Your teams need solutions today, not in three to six months. And in an era of short staff and tight budgets, providers can’t afford to field a cadre of professional developers.

Fortunately, there’s a surprisingly simple and affordable solution. An effective platform for no-code application development can give your medical facility new ways to build the software you need when you need it – quickly and cost-effectively.

Automating Healthcare and Business Processes

A no-code application builder enables your non-technical employees to create software applications,  webforms, digitized workflows, feedback forms, online surveys, and more. Users simply drag and drop reusable form and workflow elements onto a virtual canvas. Behind the scenes, the no-code tool assembles a fully functional and secure application.

Your employees can select from templates to design user interfaces, map workflows, define form behaviors, enable data inputs, and generate reports. There’s no requirement for lengthy application development cycles or help from the IT department. Security is built-in, and data privacy remains protected. And automatic integration with popular IT platforms connects your no-code applications and workflows with other internal systems and processes.

One powerful advantage of no-code application development is that it enables employees across departments to optimize their own tasks. Staff members can design workflows that meet their unique needs, and then share templated processes and forms with their colleagues. Other employees readily adopt these streamlined processes, with little or no need for training.

Top Use Cases for No-code in Healthcare

A no-code tool is especially well-suited to automating routine provider processes, including:

  • Patient and caregiver forms and applications
  • Patient onboarding
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Automated payment setup
  • Patient, family, and caregiver feedback
  • Equipment requests and transfers
  • Budget requests and approvals
  • Procurement requests and approvals
  • Capital expenditure forms
  • Purchase orders
  • Employee onboarding and offboarding
  • Personal time off requests
  • Expense reporting

A no-code app builder can enable departments across your practice and health system to:

  • Empower healthcare professionals to automate administrative workflows
  • Reduce or eliminate paper forms, data entry, and manual report creation
  • Automate routine workflows
  • Accelerate notifications and approvals
  • Reduce or eliminate manual errors
  • Increase productivity, save time, and reduce costs
  • Improve process visibility and track process performance
  • Enforce compliance
  • Generate detailed reports about site operations
  • Deliver faster, better services to patients and internal teams

Achieving Real-world Healthcare Process Improvements

Healthcare providers are already benefiting from no-code application development. Ogden Clinic, for instance, used no-code to digitize workflows, eliminate paper forms and reports, and optimize business processes.

The healthcare system, with more than 25 locations in the western United States, has automated more than 30 internal processes. It even integrated those processes with core databases and web services. It also maintains an audit trail to ensure regulatory compliance.

For example, Ogden used no-code to automate quality-assurance tests for clinical and lab staff. Clinicians take a self-grading electronic test to certify they’re up to date on legal and internal standards. If any clinicians fail the test, they’re automatically prompted to retake it, and notifications are sent to the relevant manager.

Increased Productivity, Fewer Manual Errors

An effective no-code tool will offer API integrations with core systems and processes, including those used for hospital, HR, and financial purposes. It will also provide capabilities to not only digitize workflows but also track their performance. As a result, your teams and managers can gain end-to-end visibility and maintain policy and regulatory compliance. Built-in audit-trail functionality can even enable you to demonstrate compliance.

With an effective no-code app builder, your medical facility can automate routine tasks, tangibly improve process efficiency, and cut down on manual errors. You can save costs while freeing up resources to focus on your core goal of delivering quality healthcare to patients.

How Finance and Accounting Departments Can Automate Workflows To Improve Productivity

Friday, August 26th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Automating finance and accounting departments with no-code workflows

Digitization and automation are transforming the finance and accounting functions, and more CFOs are taking notice, according to experts from Gartner and Deloitte. Many of these automation efforts involve complex, costly technology, including machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI).

But your organization doesn’t need to make huge investments in custom application development to benefit from automation. A growing number of finance and accounting departments are turning to affordable, easy-to-use no-code app builders to transform their operations. From simple team workflows to function-spanning processes, no-code application development is empowering finance to boost productivity and better serve the business.

Automating and Accelerating Finance Processes

A no-code application platform allows non-technical, line-of-business (LoB) employees – such as financial professionals – to quickly and easily create their own software: applications, workflows, web forms, and more. Team members simply drag and drop reusable software elements onto a virtual canvas. Behind the scenes, the no-code app builder assembles a fully functional and secure application.

There’s no need for help from the IT department or lengthy application development cycles. Instead, users simply select from templates to design user interfaces, map workflows, define form behaviors, enable data inputs, and generate reports. Security is built-in, so sensitive data remains protected. API integrations with popular IT platforms connect your no-code applications and workflows with core financial systems and processes.

One notable benefit of no-code is that it empowers your finance team to optimize their day-to-day activities. Users can design and build workflows that meet their unique needs. Other team members can immediately adopt the new, streamlined processes, with little or no need for training.

No-code Use Cases for Finance

An effective no-code app builder can be tailored to meet the unique needs of finance. Your team can use the platform to digitize and automate a wide range of processes – all without coding. The resulting applications can capture and share data and integrate it with back-end systems. The applications can also route workflows from requests to approvals, with alerts to stakeholders and status updates for process owners.

With no-code, you can digitize internal processes as well as those facing suppliers, vendors, and customers. Relevant use cases include:

  • Customer on-boarding
  • Customer contracts
  • Purchase orders
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Automated payment setup
  • LoB budget requests and approvals
  • Capital expenditure forms
  • Procurement requests and approvals
  • Expense reporting and approvals

An effective no-code tool will offer API integrations with core finance systems and processes. It will also provide capabilities to not only digitize workflows but also track their performance. As a result, you gain end-to-end visibility and can maintain policy and regulatory compliance. Built-in audit-trail functionality can even let you demonstrate compliance.

  • A no-code app builder can enable centralized and remote finance teams to:
  • Automate routine workflows
  • Eliminate rote tasks and redundant process steps
  • Reduce or eliminate manual errors
  • Increase productivity, save time, and reduce costs
  • Improve process visibility and track process performance
  • Enforce compliance
  • Shift focus to strategic initiatives
  • Better support the business

Real World Finance Improvements

No-code can help finance serve the business more effectively by automating processes that span finance and other functions. For instance, Ogden Clinic used no-code to integrate finance and HR workflows. The healthcare system, with more than 25 locations in the western United States, has automated more than 30 internal processes, including mileage reimbursements and paid-time-off reporting. It even integrated those processes with core databases and web services and maintains an audit trail to ensure regulatory compliance.

An effective no-code platform can also help you better understand workflows to identify opportunities for improvements. One company that achieved that goal is Trilliant, which provides metering and communications systems for electric, natural gas, and water utilities. It used a no-code tool to automate business-critical forms and other day-to-day operations.

The company also applied no-code capabilities to map processes so that LoB owners can better understand and optimize those processes. The tool enables Trilliant to document process steps and actions, identify interaction points and bottlenecks, remove inefficiencies, and better manage investments in time and resources.

Increased Productivity, No More Busy Work

With the right no-code application development tool, your finance function can automate routine finance tasks, improve process efficiency, and reduce manual errors. You can avoid busywork while freeing up high-value finance and accounting professionals to focus on strategic initiatives and better serve the business.

How Universities Can Build No-Code Web Applications and Run More Efficiently

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Hall building

From staff shortages to declining enrollments to rising inflation, budgetary woes have hit higher education hard. Today’s colleges and universities are looking for ways they can optimize operations – while controlling costs.

One promising improvement is the automation of routine university processes. But despite the benefits of digitization, the prohibitive cost of designing, developing, and implementing workflow applications gives institutions pause. In an era of belt-tightening, they can’t afford a time-consuming, high-price-tag investment in enterprise software.

But there is a solution, and it’s simpler and more affordable than you might think. An effective platform for no-code application development can give departments across your campus a powerful new way to build the software they need, when they need it – quickly and cost-effectively.

Automating and Optimizing University Processes

A no-code tool enables non-technical employees to create software applications, workflow applications, webforms, online surveys, and more. Users simply drag and drop reusable software elements and workflow objects onto a virtual canvas. Behind the scenes, the no-code app builder assembles a fully functional, stable, and secure application.

Your employees can design user interfaces, map workflows, define form behaviors, enable data inputs, and generate reports without coding. There’s no requirement for lengthy application development cycles and it frees up critical IT resources.. Security is built-in, so there’s no need to worry about data privacy. And integration with popular third party platforms connects your no-code applications and workflows with existing systems and processes.

One powerful advantage of no-code application development is that it enables employees across departments to optimize their own operations. Workers can design workflows that meet their unique needs and share their applications and workflows with their colleagues. Other employees can readily adopt these streamlined processes.

Top Use Cases for No-code Tools in Higher Education

A no-code tool is especially well-suited to automating routine educational processes, including:

  • Admissions applications
  • Financial aid requests
  • Faculty on-boarding
  • Expense reporting
  • Procurement
  • Equipment requests and transfers
  • Attendance tracking

A no-code app builder can enable departments across your campus and remote sites to:

  • Empower education professionals to automate administrative workflows
  • Free up critical IT resources
  • Reduce or eliminate paper forms, data entry, and manual report creation
  • Identify workflow bottlenecks and obstacles slowing processes
  • Ensure compliance and visibility with notifications and approvals
  • Deliver faster, better services to internal teams and external customers

Achieving Real-world Results

Numerous institutions are already benefiting from no-code application development. The University of Portland turned to no-code to create web forms for use across campus. This enables various departments to meet their own needs for web forms and reporting while ensuring consistency throughout the institution.

No-code also supports a centralized data-collection system that both saves time and allows the university to maintain data and reporting standards. Users can even manipulate and view reports on the centralized data, leading to further process improvements.

Houston Community College (HCC) leveraged no-code to reduce paper use, avoid redundant workflows, and simplify processes. It had relied on more than 200 paper forms for routine tasks – some of which took weeks to complete. Taking advantage of a no-code tool, the college quickly digitized more than three-quarters of its paper forms.

No-code enabled HCC to automate budget adjustments, equipment transfers, part-time staff hires, and more. Users can now quickly enter form data, notify decision-makers, gather approvals, and track progress. Forms automatically integrate with core college systems and information, including demographic and financial data. No-code even enabled HCC to assess additional business processes and identify new places to eliminate bottlenecks.

The University of Tennessee at Martin faced the challenge of taking student ID photos and processing them during orientation. On move-in day, students had to line up at camera stations to have their photos taken, return hours later, and wait in line again for their new ID cards.

The university used a no-code platform to replace the manual process with a proactive, digitized workflow. Now, students can apply for their cards online in advance. They simply upload their photos, complete a few fields, and receive their ID cards in their orientation packets. Those who delay receive automated email reminders.

The university then applied no-code application development to create an enrollment wizard and form, a vaccination form, and a purchasing form. The web applications reside on the school’s servers, with workflows routed by email. They even integrate with e-signature software.

The Visalia Unified School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley uses a no-code tool to digitize a wide range of administrative procedures. The district is automating and accelerating routine tasks, from substitute-teacher requests to incident reports, that keep the school system running. Using its no-code platform, Visalia reduced labor and printing costs, improved record-keeping and reporting, and quickly achieved a positive return on investment.

With an effective no-code app builder, your institution can automate routine tasks, tangibly improve process efficiency, and cut down on busywork and manual errors. You can save costs while freeing up resources to focus on your core goal of delivering quality education to students.

Everything You Need to Know to Build Your First Workflow Application

Friday, July 22nd, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Automating business processes with workflow applications

Businesses large and small run on workflows. Workflows are how your employees get their jobs done every day. And to compete in today’s fast-paced market, you need your workflows to be as digitized and automated as possible.

Trouble is, it can be costly and time-consuming to field an application development team to design and code workflows. Developers need to spend time and budget understanding business needs; writing, testing, and rewriting code; integrating with existing systems; training line-of-business (LoB) employees on using the workflow; and so on.

But what if your non-technical business users could quickly, simply, and cost-effectively create their own digitized workflows? After all, they’re the people who know your processes best. If they could build their own workflows – and easily refine them as their needs change – you could improve productivity, run your business faster and serve customers better.

That’s the power of a no-code workflow tool. An effective no-code application builder can empower departments to create and use the digital workflows they need, whenever they need them.

Six Steps to No-code Workflow Success

More businesses are recognizing the value of no-code. In fact, 41% of non-IT employees now customize or build data or technology solutions, according to Gartner. Companies are using no-code/low-code (NC/LC) solutions to automate workflows (17%), create new applications (15%), speed up application development (15%), automate data collection and reporting (14%), and reduce the burden on pro developers (10%), ZDNet reports.

But how do you get started building no-code workflows? Here’s what you need to know to make sure your no-code workflows are successful – the first time and every time:

1. Set your goals.

Start with a specific task you want your no-code tool to automate or a distinct problem you need to solve. Can you automate the workflow from end to end? Is the workflow only one piece of a larger process? Will just a few team members use the workflow, or can it benefit multiple departments?

The answers will give you a defined scope. They’ll also help you avoid creating unnecessary workflow steps. Just as important, they’ll enable you to measure whether you’ve achieved your objectives.

2. Brainstorm the features.

Think through all the capabilities you need the no-code workflow to deliver. Consider what you want the interface to look like. Break down the workflow into each separate step, in a logical order from beginning to end. Identify where you need to capture data and where you need to route steps for reviews and approvals.

A little crowdsourcing can help. Get co-workers familiar with the process to offer their ideas. If the workflow will dovetail with other processes, you might also need the input of people outside your team or even your department. Make sure you consider all stakeholders to encourage buy-in, speed adoption, and make the workflow as successful as possible.

3. Include integrations.

Some no-code workflows function well standalone. But many interact with other processes or must integrate with business systems. Consider how your workflow could help improve those processes or even require changes to them.

Likewise, get a clear understanding of where data from your workflow needs to be stored and think about how team members will consume data outputs. Fortunately, an effective no-code tool will integrate with commonly used applications and 3rd party systems through APIs and web services – all without coding on your part.

4. Build your workflow.

In traditional application development, coding is the most complex, time-consuming stage. But with a no-code tool, this is the easy part.

With a no-code builder, you simply drag and drop reusable software elements and workflow objects onto a virtual canvas. You can quickly and easily design the user interface, enable data inputs, define form behaviors, map the workflow, and build reports. Behind the scenes, the tool assembles a functional, stable, and secure application.

Preconfigured no-code components are based on best practices and pre-tested for reliability and scalability. Cybersecurity is built in, as is integration with common environments.

5. Test drive and perfect.

Once you’ve created your no-code workflow, you’ll want to make sure it’s automating process steps the way you want it to. Check that form fields are understandable, data outputs deliver the information you need, and the right people are getting alerts for reviews and approvals. Also, test whether it’s integrating with other processes and systems.

Does the workflow need fine-tuning? With a no-code app builder, you can easily go back and adjust. That’s true whether you need to make tweaks today or must adapt to changing needs down the road.

6. Take it to the team.

Once you’re happy with your no-code workflow, you can put it into production for all stakeholders to use. No-code tools are designed to create workflows that are intuitive and don’t require a lot of training. So, your business should begin benefiting right away.

No-code solutions can enable not just workflows but also surveys, online forms, business process management and more. It’s no wonder no-code and low-code tools will produce 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner.

Don’t let your business miss out on the chance to improve productivity and accelerate operations. By following the steps here, you can leverage a no-code workflow builder to digitize and automate your workflows – engaging employees, serving customers better, and gaining a competitive advantage.

5 Benefits of Reports in No-Code Forms and Workflows

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Reporting on no-code workflows and forms

Today’s enterprises run on data. Whether your organization is a financial services firm, an energy company, a university, or a healthcare system, you depend on data to understand trends, measure performance, and make decisions.

A no-code application development tool can help. An effective no-code app builder gives you capabilities to both report on and visualize the data you’ve captured in a form or survey, and to track and report on the performance of an application you’ve automated with no-code.

In fact, reporting is among the top reasons organizations are embracing no-code/low-code (NC/LC) application development, according to a TechRepublic survey. The study found that no-code tools are helping businesses automate workflows (17% of respondents), create new applications (15%), speed up development time (15%), and automate data collection and reporting (14%).

How No-code Reporting Works

A no-code app builder enables non-technical users to quickly and easily create online forms and workflow applications. Team members simply drag and drop form or workflow objects onto a virtual canvas to design a user interface, define form behaviors, map a workflow, and build reports – all without coding.

You can then use your no-code tool to create real-time reports and visualizations to analyze data and communicate insights. Simply place the reporting objects onto the canvas and identify the data sources.

The tool allows you to display a wealth of information, including bar charts, pie charts, line graphs, tables, cross-tabulations, gauges, filters, and more. You can instantly drill down into details, all the way to the field that originally collected the data.

Reports enable you to monitor the performance of your no-code workflow processes in real-time, providing complete, end-to-end visibility of the process for key stakeholders. You can also leverage reports to understand data collected through no-code forms and surveys, and summarize data across multiple forms and workflows into a single report for broader visibility. You can even integrate with databases, core systems, and statistical packages that support additional reporting options.

 No-code Reporting Advantages

The reporting capabilities in an effective no-code app builder deliver numerous business benefits:

1. Uncover trends and gain new customer and employee insights.

A no-code tool lets you create feedback forms and surveys to gather information about and input from customers or employees. You can gain new insights into employee attitudes and expectations, so you can create policies and implement programs that build engagement and boost productivity. You can also find out from customers and prospects what they’re looking for in products and services, how they view your brand, and how they’re influenced by competitors and market trends.

With no-code reports and visualizations, you can quickly home in on previously unrecognized demands or trends that help you optimize your workforce and build your business.

2. Digitize and automate routine administrative tasks.

No-code empowers you to transform paper-based, manual workloads into streamlined, digitized processes. The team members in your lines of business – the people who understand your operations best – can build their own workflows to get their jobs done faster, easier, and better.

Many of those routine tasks involve reporting and can yield significant benefits. For example, the Vasalia Unified School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley uses a no-code tool to automate a wide range of procedures – everything from substitute-teacher requests to incident reports. The district reduced labor and printing costs, improved record-keeping and reporting, and quickly achieved a positive return on investment (ROI) in no-code.

3. Maintain and demonstrate internal and regulatory compliance.

A no-code tool can allow users to digitize a portion of a workflow for an incremental improvement or encode end-to-end workflows for even greater automation. The resulting workflows can enable data capture, notifications, escalations, reporting, and more. They can even integrate with existing systems to support broader processes and ensure both efficiency and compliance.

For instance, the State of Oregon’s Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) ensures the quality of care for residents of 2,500 nursing and assisted-living facilities. The agency uses no-code to reduce errors and accelerate data capture and reporting to state and federal authorities. Reports also give users insights into trending issues, investigator workload, open cases, and more.

4. Support remote and hybrid work strategies.

No-code apps are an effective way to optimize remote work – an increasing requirement for many organizations. No-code tools deliver robust interfaces that make business applications easier to use. They assemble sophisticated workflows that automate and accelerate both internal and customer-facing processes. And they provide secure forms for fast data capture, data sharing, and reporting. These capabilities keep your employees informed and your operations moving – no matter where employees are located.

5. Sustain consistent processes across multiple departments and sites.

No-code empowers you to create electronic workflows that extend across office locations and scale to support even thousands of users. Cross-function workflows address a wide variety of scenarios, from resource requests to incident reports. You can customize workflows to reflect local practices or enforce standardized policies, and automatically centralize reports in corporate systems.

The University of Portland leverages no-code to build forms for use across campus. This enables various departments to meet their own needs for forms and reporting while ensuring consistency across the institution. No-code also supports a centralized data-collection system that both saves time and allows the university to maintain data and reporting standards. Users can manipulate and view reports on the centralized data, leading to further process improvements.

As data grows even more central to business operations and competitive advantage, reports and visualizations will empower more of your employees and business functions. A no-code tool makes reports easier and faster to create and consume – and more likely to help drive your success.

Web Apps Every Startup Needs to Be Successful

Friday, June 17th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Web apps that startups need

What do popular applications like Google Docs, Salesforce CRM, and Netflix have in common? 

They’re all web apps.

Just like traditional websites, web apps (or web applications) rely on a web browser to display information. Like traditional websites, web apps can be accessed from any browser on any device – laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet.   

The difference between web apps, traditional websites, and mobile apps

Still, there are fundamental differences between web apps and regular sites: 

  • Whereas traditional web sites are generally designed for information sharing, web apps tend to be more interactive, enabling users to initiate workflows, submit forms, share data with other systems and engage with the app in other ways.
  • Web apps automatically adapt to fit the device they’re being accessed on. For example, when a user navigates to a web page on their smartphone, that page will automatically adjust to fit their phone’s screen and provide a good user experience.
  • Although web apps can have multiple pages, most do not have as many pages as a traditional website or a mobile application. This makes them easier to build and manage and more cost-effective to maintain.

Web apps also have significant benefits over mobile apps, which need to be customized for iOS or Android OS. For instance, there’s no need to develop a web app for a specific app store or mobile operating system, as they can be accessed from any web browser. That means they require fewer resources to build, and are easier and less expensive to build.

The power of web apps

Web apps typically serve a specific function or purpose, but don’t let that focus fool you. Despite their perceived simplicity, web apps are highly customizable and can be extraordinarily powerful tools for collecting and managing information and interacting with customers. 

Web apps’ winning combination of power and cost-effectiveness makes them a tool that every startup should consider. But which web apps should you prioritize building? Here’s a list of four essential web apps you and your team should consider creating:

1. Lead inquiry forms (or lead generation forms)

Lead inquiry forms are designed to gather critical information about a customer or prospect. They typically include basic information like name, company, contact information, as well as demographic information and such. Some might include fields asking the prospect to provide additional information or feedback. 

2. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools

As mentioned above, Salesforce CRM is one of the most popular and powerful off-the-shelf customer relationship management tools around–and it’s a web app. It shows how a robust web app can be used to collect and share customer information, emails, inquiries, and more. However, often out of the box solutions don’t meet your exact needs and aren’t easy to customize. With no-code tools, you can build a custom CRM to match your specific requirements.

3. Invoicing and billing apps 

Web apps don’t need to be exclusively customer-facing. Your internal teams can also use web apps for their multi-stage workflow processes that span multiple departments. For example, a customer can approve a quote that then goes to the sales team to review and process then forward to the finance team for invoicing through a web app. You can also develop web apps that customers can use to pay bills via the device of their choice using no-code solutions.

4. IT and customer support forms 

Instead of having employees call the IT help desk or send the IT administrator an email, employees can sign into a web app on their device, fill out a simple form, and have their help request automatically routed and assigned to a support team member. The support team will have full visibility to all open requests and can monitor statuses and assign escalations to the Quality Assurance team or Tier 2 Support team for more complex issues. Likewise, customers shouldn’t have to call an 800 number or write an email to customer care; they can submit an inquiry via a web app which is more efficient.

Creating your own web apps using no-code development

Web apps are easier to build than you might think. In fact, just about anyone can create a web app using no-code application development practices.

No-code development democratizes application development by enabling those with minimal or even no programming experience to create their own applications. With no-code, users can build user-friendly interfaces and backend workflows and can configure business rules for their applications. They simply drag and drop objects onto a design canvas. They don’t need to understand or manipulate the underlying source code. All of that is updated automatically based on where the user places their objects. It is also an option to integrate with other popular applications and third party systems.  

Democratizing development through no-code allows web apps to be developed faster and more easily. Software developers can build web apps more quickly by using the drag and drop method, freeing them up to focus on building more labor-intensive and complex applications. And by negating the need for deep coding experience, you can invite others in your company to develop web apps, too. 

Embodying the startup mentality

Startups are known for their fervent attention to customers and prospects and an “all hands on deck” approach where everyone is involved in building their companies’ offerings. Web apps and no-code development match up well with both of these ideals. You can use web apps to engage with your audiences and create compelling and rich online experiences, and you can use no-code to get everyone involved in that process. 

The result will be fast and cost-efficient application development and the ability to reach your customers and prospects any time, anywhere, and on any device.

Step-by-Step Guide to Planning A No-Code Project

Friday, June 3rd, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Planning out a no-code project

No-code application development tools enable non-technical employees in your lines of business (LoBs) to quickly and easily create forms, workflows and applications. By augmenting traditional development approaches, no-code app builders are empowering organizations to rapidly and cost-effectively achieve digital transformation.

In fact, “increased demand for … digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT,” Gartner reports. Today, 41% of non-IT employees customize or build data or technology solutions, the analyst firm says.

But your citizen developers probably aren’t experienced in planning and executing application development projects. To benefit the most from no-code, follow these best-practice steps:

1. Understand business goals

Start by identifying the business benefit you want to achieve from no-code. That could be allowing internal or external customers to complete an online form. It might be streamlining a particular workflow within a team or department. Or it could be enabling a process that extends across multiple business functions. You can leverage no-code to optimize a broad range of processes, from creating new customer accounts, to handling budget requests and approvals, to integrating remote sites.

But to achieve success, you first need to be clear about your objectives. That includes establishing simple metrics, like number of workflow steps automated, speed of data inputs, or number of customers served.

2. Determine application requirements

Once you know your goals, you can identify the functionality the no-code application must provide. For instance, if you’re building a workflow, do all steps remain within a single team, or do they extend across multiple departments? If the project involves a broad process flow, you might need input from all stakeholders who will use it.

Similarly, if you’re creating an online form, should data inputs be automatically entered into corporate systems? If so, you’ll need the necessary integrations. An effective no-code tool will enable integration through APIs or web services, all without coding.

3. Select the right no-code solution

No-code app builders come in a lot of flavors. Some are complex platforms that provide “low-code” application development that requires coding knowledge. Others are only designed to create mobile apps for use on iOS or Android.

A no-code tool that’s useful for LoB employees should effectively enable web forms, web apps, mobile web apps, workflow apps, or business process management. Look for a no-code provider that can support all these use cases with either a single solution or a portfolio of targeted, easy-to-use tools.

4. Assign roles and responsibilities

No-code applications can be created by a single employee or a few employees, but if an application will be used day-to-day by an entire department, you need to be sure the citizen developers understand the requirements to deliver applications that meet the department’s needs and objectives.

In that case, consider getting multiple people involved in the application development process. Some stakeholders might have input into desired features. Others might create the actual application. Still others might try out the application and provide feedback before it’s deployed. Just be sure all participants understand how they contribute to the project’s success.

5. Manage the project

No-code tools are so easy to use, many users might approach application creation in an ad-hoc manner. But to get the results you want you’ll benefit from a more structured mindset.

Make a list of the features you identified in Step 2 and check them off as you build them into the application. Set interim milestones and final deadlines to keep the project on target. Monitor stakeholder involvement to be sure everyone’s doing their part. Your no-code project management doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need enough oversight to track your progress and keep the project moving forward.

6. Measure the results

An effective no-code app builder should give you visibility into the process you’ve created. This is where the metrics you created in Step 1 will show their value. If you’re achieving your performance goals, you know your deliberate approach to no-code development is paying off. If you’re falling short of targets, it’s time to identify ways to improve.

Go back over the application. Are form fields unclear, making it hard for users to complete the form? Are workflow outputs not giving you the data you need? Are the wrong people getting alerts for workflow reviews and approvals? If people aren’t using the application, is that because it doesn’t integrate well with other processes? Finding the root cause will point you to the solution.

7. Continually improve

The good news is that with a no-code tool, you can quickly and easily make improvements to your application. That’s valuable even if your application is performing at a high level today.

After all, business requirements evolve over time. Customers have changing demands. A new team might need to be incorporated into an existing workflow. You might replace a core system, requiring new application integrations. No-code gives you the capabilities to make these adjustments quickly and painlessly.

No-code/low-code (NCLC) will produce 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. The emergence of NCLC is nothing short of a “revolution,” Accenture says, one that will drive an “explosion of user-generated innovation.” By following these steps for planning and executing your no-code project, you can be sure your organization is benefiting from employee-driven, no-code-enabled innovation and digital transformation.

5 Ways to Optimize Process Workflows With No-Code

Friday, May 20th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

Optimizing workflow automations with no-code

 

Workflows are how your employees get their jobs done. If your workflows are efficient and effective, then your employees are more productive and engaged, your customers enjoy better experiences, and your business operates to its full potential.

That’s why a growing number of organizations are turning to no-code application development to optimize their workflows. With a no-code workflow builder, non-technical employees in your lines of business (LoBs) have the capabilities they need to quickly and easily create efficient, digitized workflows that turbocharge your business.

Going With the No-code Workflow

Here are five workflows you can optimize with no-code in your company, based on real-world success stories:

1. Customer and employee surveys – Electronic surveys are a great way to understand employee needs or customer demands. A no-code tool can equip you to design professional, customizable surveys to benefit your workforce or drive leads that increase sales.

A form builder supports creation of sophisticated survey forms. The workflow tool itself enables you to quickly and consistently execute the survey, saving costs and improving response rates. You can make survey execution part of an extended workflow that avoids manual errors and misplaced survey responses. In fact, at least one professional-services firm uses no-code to create marketing surveys as a service to its Fortune 500 clients.

2. New customer account creation – Setting up new customer accounts can be time-consuming and cumbersome. A no-code tool can improve the experience for employees and customers alike.

No-code lets you design a new-account workflow that requires zero training. You can enforce a standardized process for consistency and completeness. A smart form autofills relevant fields to speed the process and reduce manual errors.

The digitized workflow can capture customer information at your main location or remotely in the field. You can complete forms without an internet link and then automatically upload results when a connection is available. You can then route customer data to authorized stakeholders for review and approval, and automatically integrate data with corporate systems.

3. Employee onboarding – New-hire onboarding should follow a standardized process, and the data it captures needs to be accurate. A no-code tool can help.

You can create a workflow to cover new-hire data gathering, document collection, forms processing, compliance and more. Employees can fill out electronic forms, with the results automatically integrated with your HR database. You can even include user authentication, identity verification and digital signatures.

Workflows can be consolidated with major HR systems, with audit trails to ensure confirmation and compliance. Indeed, no-code is so effective for onboarding that professional staffing firms use it to optimize their core business of placing employees with clients.

4. Budget requests and approvals – When LoBs submit budget requests, they can’t be delayed by manual, inconsistent processes. No-code can standardize and accelerate the approval workflow, eliminate budget-request bottlenecks that slow operations, and improve business compliance.

No-code can reduce the time to process budget requests, from origination to final approval.  Team members can create and modify request forms, without the need for help from IT. Authentication protocols allow only authorized personnel to submit, approve or deny requests.

The workflow can route requests to stakeholders for approval and signature capture. It can also notify requesters of workflow status. You can integrate the workflow with your financial systems and accommodate manual interventions as necessary.

5. Remote-site process integration – Many organizations maintain satellite offices close to where they go to market. Often these sites manage their own manual processes. Digitizing those workflows can benefit the local offices and your entire enterprise.

No-code empowers you to create electronic workflows that extend across remote sites and scale to support thousands of users. Multi-site, cross-LoB workflows address a wide variety of scenarios, from resource requests to incident reports. You can customize workflows to reflect local practices or enforce standardized policies, and automatically centralize request and report data in corporate systems.

No-code even includes the capability to track and measure workflow performance to validate process improvements and compliance. Most importantly, it eliminates one-off manual processes in remote sites, reducing processing times, saving costs on administrative tasks, and making your entire business run smoother.

Driving Workflow Innovation

Those are just a few examples of how no-code can transform your workflows. Organizations across industries – including healthcare, insurance, energy, retail, financial services, public sector and education – are deploying no-code to achieve similar innovations. They’re using no-code workflows across departments, including HR, finance, sales, marketing, IT, operations and customer support. They’ve proven you can achieve advantages in any situation where you need to, including:

  • Replacing static paper or PDF forms
  • Accelerating operations
  • Integrating processes
  • Ensuring compliance
  • Avoiding manual errors
  • Reducing costs
  • Serving customers better

Ultimately, workflows created with a no-code tool empower your organization to:

  • Reduce time for workflow design and deployment
  • Minimize dependence on technical resources
  • Improve communication and compliance
  • Gain better visibility into operations
  • Realize substantial cost savings
  • Equip employees to do their jobs more efficiently and serve customers more effectively

No-code workflow automation can accelerate your operations and give your organization a new competitive advantage. And with an effective no-code tool, you can achieve those goals faster and more cost-effectively than you thought possible.

How No-Code Benefits Your IT and Development Teams

Friday, May 6th, 2022 by PerfectForms

 

No-code’s benefits can impact IT and Development teams

Your IT department and the end users it supports can sometimes seem like they’re at odds. After all, your techies know digital – the latest devices and apps and best practices for getting the most out of them. Your business users, in contrast, don’t always have the same grasp of technology – though they certainly depend on it to do their jobs.

So what happens when you throw no-code application development into the mix?

A no-code app builder allows non-technical employees to create their own applications quickly and easily. They can build interfaces, forms and workflows simply by dragging and dropping reusable software elements onto a digital canvas. The tool then automatically assembles a functional, stable and secure application.

Make no mistake: No-code is the future of software creation. Two-thirds of application development will be achieved through no-code/low-code (NC/LC) tools by 2024, Gartner predicts. And 82% of companies say “citizen developers” are increasingly important to their business, TechRepublic reports. But are IT pros buying in?

Easing the Pressure on IT

You’d think IT departments might not like ceding some control of application creation. But the fact is, IT is embracing no-code in a big way. A whopping 92% of IT leaders are comfortable with business users taking advantage of non-code/low-code tools.

There are several reasons for this no-code enthusiasm. First and foremost is that no-code alleviates the demand for professional application developers. And expert developers are in short supply – to the point that the dearth of developers is slowing down business.

In fact, 86% of IT decision-makers say the biggest impediment to digital transformation is a lack of developers. This supply-demand gap is delaying digital transformation projects by an average 8.1 months. As a direct result, NC/LC is becoming a priority for 96% of IT decision makers.

Expert application development remains crucial to many businesses, of course. Yet traditional development processes require months of coding, reviews and testing before even the simplest software is ready for use. And while methodologies such as DevOps aim to accelerate processes, even DevOps-enabled development involves many manual, time-consuming steps.

With no-code, citizen developers alleviate development teams from less-complex, workflow-specific application creation. Line-of-business (LoB) employees using no-code follow a simple, proven process to quickly assemble their own secure and stable software. There’s no need for extensive training, technical expertise or lengthy development cycles. Pro development teams gain the time and energy to focus on coding enterprise-wide, mission-critical software.

Empowering Application Developers

But your software development team can also take advantage of no-code. Developers use no-code to quickly create robust, secure interfaces, forms and workflows that underlie more extensive applications. The reusable components of no-code have already gone through quality assurance and testing for security. They’re reliable, they integrate with popular systems, and they scale for higher performance.

Without the need to manually code entire programs from scratch, developers have more time to create sophisticated, function-specific or industry-targeted software. That can help you digitize processes and differentiates your company from the competition. 

In fact, 2.57 million developers, or 11% of the development population, are now no-code or low-code specialists. It’s no wonder even the DevOps community is embracing no-code for its ability to “enable experienced developers to accelerate deployment and reduce IT backlogs.”

Making IT More Effective

As more citizen developers experience the benefits of no-code, it’s important for your IT team to retain ownership of software governance. Your IT function should vet the no-code platforms you deploy. IT should also make sure business users understand when an LoB-created no-code workflow provides the best solution, and when enterprise-scale software developed by your professional team makes more sense.

Yet governance is another area where no-code helps IT – especially when it comes to “shadow IT.” Shadow IT occurs when LoBs circumvent corporate policies to purchase their own software. Unapproved software can result in high costs, because one-off software purchases don’t benefit from economies of scale. Shadow IT can also introduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities that IT teams don’t even know about.

No-code helps IT departments limit rogue technology spending. When business users have no-code builders to create their own software, they’re less likely to waste money on shadow IT. And IT has less trouble trying to support unapproved applications.

Use of no-code and low-code technologies will nearly triple in the next few years, growing from 25% of new applications in 2020 to 70% of new applications by 2025, according to Gartner. Now, IT teams and business users have something they can agree on: No-code is good for everybody.