Why You Don’t Have to Rely on Your IT Team to Automate Workflows

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Your IT team is perpetually busy.

Team of programmers

The typical IT department today can’t spare a programmer to help design and deploy automated workflows.

Today’s IT professionals in the enterprise spend their time and mental energy dealing with cloud infrastructure, big data, virtualization, energy efficiency, and interoperability. Or else they’re dealing with a server that has broken or a network that has inexplicably slowed down. Or perhaps they are preparing for a software license audit. One way and another, IT work and maintenance never stop and hardly ever slow down.

Rare is the IT team, even in the wealthiest of companies, that has the time and expertise to design, program, and deploy automated workflows. The good news is that this is no longer necessary for most businesses.

How It Used to Be Done

In the old days, automating a process, or automating steps of a workflow was a major undertaking. While the people involved in using the workflow may have helped sketch it out on paper and make suggestions, there was always some question as to whether the type and level of automation was possible for a given workflow.

Companies that had their own IT departments may have commandeered a programmer to work on the workflow automation project, while others would hire a programmer from outside on a contract basis. Only after programmers learned about the workflow could they determine if automation was possible, how practical or impractical it was, and how big and expensive an undertaking it would be. The end product may or may not have matched what workflow users envisioned. 

Why End-Users Are the Key to Great Automated Workflows

One of the best starting points for improving efficiency and productivity is asking the people who do the work what would make their work easier. Maybe they don’t want to type the same data into multiple spreadsheets or databases. Maybe they resent having to track down superiors to find out the status of a process. What if you could ask workflow end-users what would make their work easier, and then could implement those things without having to hire a programmer?

Hands drawing a flowchart

Workflow software should make it easy to translate ideas into solid, automated processes.

The closer workflow end-users are to the design and creation of automated workflows, the more closely the final workflow will live up to their expectations. Without the layer of opacity that even the most highly skilled programmer brings to the workflow automation process, end-users can gain control over how they do their work, and eliminate many inefficiencies and work-arounds.

The Right Workflow Software Makes It Possible

The key to creating workflows that deliver what end-users expect is having the right workflow software. Today you can use on-site or cloud hosted workflow software that does not require the services of a programmer.

User interface designs have evolved to where workflow elements can be created on a screen, dragged and dropped into place, and then connected into sleek, functional workflows. Practically, this allows workflow end-users to put their ideas into practice more quickly and easily. Workflows can be designed, created, tested, and deployed on a much tighter time scale, so ROI can be realized sooner.

PerfectForms is the workflow software you have been looking for if you want a powerful, flexible way to create automated workflows without having to hire a programmer. PerfectForms’ user interface is intuitive and easy to learn, allowing users to drag and drop workflow elements into place. Anything from the simplest form-completion workflow to the most complex workflow going across multiple departments is possible, and end-users can have a greater say in how those workflows are designed. The learning curve is easy, deployment is fast, and ROI shows up in record time.

PerfectForms invites you to browse through some of our many case studies, which cover a range of industries. Learn how taking the power of automated workflow design into your own hands can improve efficiency, boost productivity, save resources, and increase revenues.

Workflows Help Ensure Effective, Efficient In-House Recruiting

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The two main ways companies fill vacant job positions are partnering with a recruiting agency and doing recruiting in-house.

Interviewer shaking the hand of a employee candidate

In-house recruiting makes sense for many businesses. Automated workflows make it efficient.

In-house recruiting teams act as an extension of the HR department and may include people from multiple departments, including the departments with unfilled positions and often the company’s marketing department as well. Doing in-house recruiting effectively requires strong coordination, and automated workflows help this coordination take place. 

Advantages: United, Consistent Employer Branding Throughout

One of the main advantages of recruiting in-house rather than using an agency is control over the process. While agencies may be necessary for filling highly specialized positions (where candidates can be hard to find), in-house recruiting often works well for the majority of front-line employees. 

Another advantage of in-house recruiting is that the entire process can be imbued with employer branding elements. In other words, from the first time a potential applicant learns of the open position, they are also learning about the company itself, as well as its values and goals.

Sourcing and Selecting Candidates

Automated workflows for sourcing and selecting candidates must incorporate necessary advertising of open positions, as well as gathering information from interested parties, and receiving completed job applications. 

Coordinating these activities is more complex than many people expect. Posting job ads, for example, can change as the team discovers which job boards are most effective at reaching qualified candidates. Later, candidates who express interest can be funneled into the application system, and ones who actually fill out applications can be separated from those who don’t. Keeping key recruiting team members apprised of these developments is done more accurately and efficiently with automated workflows.

Applicant Tracking and Interview Scheduling

Once an applicant submits their application and other necessary materials, like their resumé, tracking them is critical. “Lost” applications can let great candidates slip through the cracks! Automated workflows can ensure that applications are processed, and can issue alerts when recruiting team members fail to act on a submitted application in a timely manner. 

Business man looking confused

Recruiting workflows can send out automated notifications
when nobody acts on submitted applications within a set time period.

Likewise, interview scheduling must be coordinated. Automated workflows can gather necessary information from both the applicant and the recruiting team to schedule interviews that work with both the interviewee’s and the recruiting team’s schedules.

Delivering Offers and Coordinating Onboarding Especially Important

It is the latter stages of the recruiting process that are perhaps most important: delivering offers and completing the onboarding process. Both of these can be accomplished through automated workflows that ensure that no steps are missed and no time is wasted. 

Once a workflow creates an offer based on input from the recruiting team, it can either deliver the offer via email or compose a formal offer letter that the leader of the recruiting team can deliver. Once a candidate accepts a job offer, the automated onboarding workflow can begin.

Excellence in the onboarding process is essential to keeping new employee turnover to a minimum. New employees, who are already anxious about their new job working out, can easily become disillusioned with a new employer if the onboarding process is disorganized or needlessly outdated. Automated onboarding is one key to getting new employees up to speed and part of the group as quickly as possible.

Doing recruiting in-house requires a strong recruiting team and workflows that support both the team and the job candidates. There is no place for disorganization or for processes that are needlessly cumbersome or manual when they can be automated. 

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes it easy to create the online forms and automated workflows you need to inspire and empower your in-house recruiting team to find, interview, and hire the best candidates for your open positions. 

With its no-programming interface, PerfectForms allows users to drag and drop elements in place, creating perfectly customized online forms and automated workflows that are uniquely tailored to their needs, and that incorporate their company branding elements at every step. Take a look at the PerfectForms demo video and learn how it can help you create the perfect in-house recruiting workflows, as well as workflows that streamline and accelerate a range of other business processes.

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No-Code BPM: Don’t Think of It as ‘Less-Than’

Friday, February 1st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Blue sneakers.

There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to business process management (BPM). 

Analyzing business processes from end to end involves knowing how each step connects to the next, making improvements, testing, and monitoring to ensure quality, consistency, and efficiency. These steps are done differently by different organizations. 

Likewise, the BPM software that makes sense for one company may be wrong for another. As BPM grows and specialized BPM niches break away, businesses have much to consider when choosing a BPM solution. One popular solution, especially among small and medium-sized businesses is what is known as “no-code BPM.” But don’t be fooled. “No-code” does not mean inferior or limited.

What Is No-Code BPM?

No-code BPM is done through BPM software that does not require software users to know how to program. It requires a user interface that is easy to grasp and allows the person or team creating the workflow to bring elements into place and connect them without writing programming code. 

As you might imagine, software that empowers no-code BPM is faster and easier to use. Consequently, companies that make good use of no-code BPM software can see a faster positive return on their investment. Frequently, these businesses are inspired to create BPM use cases that they may never have considered before.

Putting Creative Power in the Hands of Process Users

BPM software that requires no programming puts creative power into the hands of process users, and that typically leads to solutions that make sense in their everyday context. In earlier eras, when a programmer had to be hired for building BPM workflows, the addition of that third party added a layer of opacity between the process users and the software powering the workflows.

No-code BPM leads to greater transparency, because often, the very people who create the BPM workflows are the ones who will be using those workflows in daily operation. In other words, they can custom-tailor their workflows to meet their needs exactly – all without having to bring in a programmer.

Small and Medium Enterprises Benefit Disproportionately

No-code BPM makes particularly good sense for smaller businesses. Custom BPM programming doesn’t come cheap, and newer or smaller businesses simply may not have the resources for it. But with the right BPM software, they can take advantage of the many opportunities business process management offers, all while maintaining the agility that smaller enterprises are known for. 

The key is finding BPM software that is built with workflow creators and users in mind, and based on their needs. With the right no-code BPM solution, process users can drag and drop workflow elements into place, easily test them out, modify them, and get them just right before deployment. And should those processes need modification, doing so is simple and straightforward. 

PerfectForms is BPM software that requires no programming, yet allows creation of custom workflows from the very simple to the highly complex. It has a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy for process experts – the ones who use processes every day – to automate and streamline them, without having to write a single line of programming code. 

PerfectForms offers both the power and the flexibility companies of any size need to create custom workflow solutions in any department, for a nearly unlimited range of uses. From creating online HR forms that automatically funnel employee information into necessary forms and databases to designing complex workflows with multiple steps and branches, PerfectForms can deliver. Best of all, you can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial. Sign up today and experience the power of no-code BPM for yourself. 

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Manage Office Safety with Online Forms and Automated Workflows

Friday, January 25th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Welder working.

Your business may not involve dangerous equipment, but safety hazards exist in every work environment.

In some work environments, it’s obvious why safety training and procedures must be extensive and frequently updated. 

Heavy equipment, potentially hazardous chemicals, and tools that operate at high temperatures necessitate extensive and constant attention to worker safety.

But even if your business takes place in an air-conditioned office where the only “heavy equipment” is a copy machine and the only “high temperature tool” is a coffee pot, it’s important for everyone to be mindful of safety. Creating specific online forms and workflows for ensuring safety and documenting safety-related incidents can help ensure your workplace remains injury-free.

Examples of Potential Safety Issues in Offices

Fire danger exists to some degree everywhere electricity is used. Frayed electrical cords, the use of space heaters, and clutter that impedes access to fire doors can turn the most innocuous office dangerous. 

Slip and fall hazards can be created by something as minor as a spill on the floor of the office kitchen that nobody bothers to clean up (or block off while they go get cleaning supplies). It may be faster to stand on a rolling office chair rather than fetching a stepladder to reach something on a high shelf, but the dangers are obvious.

And if your office has marble or tile floors, they can become surprisingly slippery in the few minutes it takes your commuters to come inside on a rainy morning. Think about it: there are many potential safety hazards in the typical office environment.

Why You Should Create a Safety Workflow

If someone is injured at work, the first priority is assessing the situation and getting help if necessary. Beyond that, however, it’s important to document what happened, determine what caused the accident, and take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Online forms and workflows are ideal for this task.

Broken cup on the floor with liquid.

Documenting minor safety incidents helps put safety at the front of everyone’s mind and helps prevent future incidents.

Documenting office accidents right away not only helps you take steps to prevent future problems, it gets everything recorded while everyone’s memories of the incident are fresh. Should the incident need to be recalled (say, by a doctor treating the person injured), documentation can show clearly what happened. 

A Workflow for Monitoring Potential Safety Issues Is a Good Idea

In addition to creating online forms and workflows for documenting safety incidents, it’s wise to create a workflow specifically for checking the workplace for potential safety issues on a regular basis. With a mobile-friendly safety checklist form, a designated person can go through the workplace in an orderly fashion, check for potential hazards, and document issues that should be addressed, like a stack of boxes that impedes visibility. That way, some problems can be prevented altogether. 

If you invest in additional safety training, such as CPR training for your employees, you can create online forms for them to sign up and to verify that they have completed training. And if your workflow software has the capabilities, you can create quarterly or annual reports on safety inspections, safety incidents, and safety training with ease.

PerfectForms is online form and workflow software that makes it easy to create the online forms and automated workflows you need, whether for documenting office safety procedures or just about any other business process. From onboarding new employees to equipping field workers necessary forms on their tablets to ensuring expense accounts are always up to date, PerfectForms allows you to do it all, with a user-friendly interface that requires no programming. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video. It only takes a minute, and you’re sure to come away with many great ideas for ways you can use online forms and automated workflows to streamline and improve your business processes.

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Automated Workflows Help You Maximize Preventive Maintenance Benefits

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Person working on fixing a copier.

Maintaining the equipment your business uses is an excellent way to reduce waste and extract the most value from your equipment.

Yet we can come up for any number of excuses not to practice preventive maintenance – excuses mostly related to “not having the time.” But in reality, practicing preventive maintenance frees up time over the long run, because there will be fewer emergency repairs disrupting work. 

For many businesses, automated workflows are the answer to the excuses for neglecting preventive maintenance, because they can be set up to follow schedules, send notifications, and collect valuable data.

Sometimes a Cultural Shift Is Needed

Investing in workflow software and creating maintenance workflows is a key step, of course, but sometimes organizations have to educate everyone on the importance of preventive maintenance. It’s not always easy. Strong leadership and commitment to accountability from every team member in every department are necessary to building a culture in which making the most of resources is ingrained.

The workflow software is there to help you “walk the talk” by reminding key personnel when it is time to examine equipment, perform routine maintenance, and document equipment condition. This also allows budgets to be more accurately projected when it appears that old equipment will have to be replaced. 

Preventive Workflows for IT Equipment

Many preventive maintenance tasks are built into IT equipment, as you are aware if you use Windows and are occasionally reminded of an automatic operating system update. But there are many other preventive steps that keep IT equipment in sound working order, such as routine verification that server backups work, checking disk usage versus disk capacity, and assessing system security regularly. These tasks can often be scheduled outside of normal business hours so that disruption of operations is kept to a minimum.

Preventive Workflows for Other Business Equipment

As paperless as we like to believe our offices are, most businesses still have copiers that get regular use. Simple tasks like cleaning the glass platen can be scheduled frequently, while more complex tasks like cleaning dust and toner residue from paper rollers can be scheduled on a less-frequent basis. It’s not easy to know when to replace toner cartridges, but keeping records can help you predict how long a cartridge usually lasts. Inspecting drum units for wear quarterly or semi-annually can ensure worn ones are replaced before they break. 

And all of this can be scheduled and documented with automated workflows. The same can be done for other office equipment like laminators, scanners, and cash registers.

Even if your “fleet” is only two or three vehicles, devoting time to regular maintenance pays off impressively.

Preventive Workflows for Your Transportation Fleet

Even the smallest transportation fleet benefits from automated workflows for routine maintenance. Workflows can schedule regular oil changes, tire rotations, fluid level checks and other preventive steps, ensuring you’re ready to roll at any time and minimizing the chances that a team member will experience vehicle breakdown while working off site. Taking preventive maintenance steps may require an investment of time and money now, but it can prevent much bigger expenses and time waste later on.

Another great thing about automated workflows for preventive maintenance is that they can document and record steps taken and repairs made. Over time, you’ll learn which products tend to last and which don’t, so you can make wiser replacement purchases when the time comes. The old aphorism “A stitch in time saves nine” is remarkably apt in the twenty-first century office environment, and the right workflow software helps you get those “stitches” in and save time and money.

PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming. Hence, you and your team can create preventive maintenance workflows that are perfectly tailored to your equipment mix and their recommended service schedules. PerfectForms also has outstanding reporting capabilities, so at the end of the year you can see how much you have spent on preventive maintenance and compare it to the costs of neglecting and replacing equipment. 

Preventive maintenance workflows are just one way that PerfectForms saves organizations time and money. We encourage you to read through our case studies and discover the huge variety of ways businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations use PerfectForms to streamline procedures, keep processes on track, and save significant amounts of time and money.

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4 Common Workflow Automation Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Thursday, January 17th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

If you’re new to workflow automation, you may be eager to get started as soon as possible.

The right workflow software will help you get to work quickly, but even so, a little planning is wise. Most organizations start by automating a simple work process, trying it out, maybe fine-tuning it a bit, and then moving on to automating other processes.

Organizations that have used automated workflows for a while have the benefit of hindsight, of knowing when great workflow intentions can go astray. Here are four of the most common workflow automation pitfalls. They’re easily avoidable, and they can help you get your workflow automation right the first time.

1. Too Many Notifications

One of the best things about good workflow software is that it allows you to create workflows that notify users of status changes and completion of workflow steps. It can be all too tempting to create notifications at every step, and for every workflow user. The problem is, once the workflow is in regular use, users of it may be inundated with notifications and reminders. Coping with a flood of workflow notifications usually means ignoring them, which can mean ignoring a single notification that matters along with all the others. Try to build in notifications and reminders only where they matter, and only for people who need to see them.

2. Prevention of Manual Error Manipulation

Suppose your input into a workflow isn’t needed until a few steps into the process, but you notice that someone before you has made a mistake. Maybe they obviously put a decimal point in the wrong place. Yet you can’t do anything about it except petition someone to start the workflow over, or let the workflow run to its conclusion with the error intact. Neither of these is ideal. It would be better if authorized users could fix obvious errors then and there, so the workflow can continue correctly. You need checks and balances to make sure people don’t change entries maliciously, but this can be done through specific user authorizations and other security measures.

3. No Transparency into Workflow Status

Automated workflows are wonderful in that some information goes in and something with added value comes out. But that’s not to say that workflows should be “black boxes” with mysterious inner workings. Being able to check up on workflow status is important. You need to know, for example, that your expense reimbursement form is awaiting the department head’s approval before payroll can cut you a check. Workflows should offer enough transparency that authorized users can assess workflow status easily and know at a glance whether things are moving ahead as expected, or whether something has gone wrong.

4. Lack of Documentation

The person responsible for automating a workflow should also be responsible for documenting it. How does it work? What does each step do? Why are the steps in a certain order? This information should be shared with workflow users and other authorized personnel. Otherwise, if the person who designed the workflow leaves the company or is out on vacation, problems can be much harder to fix than anticipated. If someone retires or otherwise leaves, you don’t want to be in a position of having to re-create the workflow due to lack of information about how the workflow they designed operates. 

PerfectForms is workflow software that allows you tremendous flexibility and power for creating a nearly unlimited range of automated workflows. It also requires no programming, and allows for automatic notifications, visibility, transparency, authorized error correction, and mobile friendliness. PerfectForms also has powerful reporting capability so you can measure and track the outcomes of your automated workflows. We encourage you to watch the demo video and see for yourself how easy it can be to create sleek, well-documented, automated workflows that take efficiency to a higher level. 

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Don’t Listen to These Myths About Online Forms and Automated Workflows

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms and automated workflows are standard business practice today, but that doesn’t mean that everyone uses them.

Particularly with smaller businesses, it can be hard to see why the effort to overhaul how business processes are completed would be worthwhile. But rest assured: automating processes and converting paper forms to online forms offers benefits that are hard to envision until you’ve tried it.

Myths about workflow automation still abound, and that’s too bad because it’s hard to think of a business that wouldn’t benefit from it. Here are several lingering myths about online forms and automated workflows, along with exactly why you shouldn’t believe them. 

Automating Workflows Is Too Expensive

There was a time when this was true. Before cloud computing became normal, companies that wanted to automate workflows had no choice but to install workflow software on their own IT infrastructure. This was both time-consuming and expensive – particularly if IT upgrades were necessary.

Today, however, the cloud makes it easy for businesses of every size to access workflow software without the need for on-premises servers and their upkeep. The cloud also makes it easy to scale workflow software up as a business grows, minimizing disruption.

Only Big Businesses Need to Automate Workflows

On the contrary, smaller businesses probably have the most to gain from online forms and automated workflows. Smaller businesses find it easier to be agile and respond to market and customer needs quickly, and automated workflows help them do this. Customers generally like working with smaller businesses because there are fewer layers of management and bureaucracy to penetrate to get the services they want. And when those smaller businesses operate efficiently and quickly, they can command the kind of loyalty that huge enterprises can’t always match.

We’ll Lose Visibility Over Processes if We Automate Them

Automated workflows shouldn’t be regarded as black boxes. Workflows designed so that authorized users can assess status at any time actually increase workflow visibility. In the old days, finding out the status of a workflow involved tracking people down, playing phone tag, asking questions, and hoping for a timely answer. With automated workflows, however, assessing workflow status is largely a matter of logging into the process and checking instantly. Rather than spending most of an afternoon finding out whether a purchase order has been approved, an authorized workflow user can pinpoint the exact status of a workflow in an instant. 

Automating Workflows Is Too Hard

Automating workflows used to be hard, because it used to require programming, and extensive back-and-forth between programmers and workflow users. That is no longer the case, however. Today you can access cloud-hosted workflow software that does not require programming due to advanced user-interface design. 

One of the main benefits of today’s workflow software is not only that it’s easy to use, but that the ease of use makes it more practical for workflow users to assist with design. When the end-users of a workflow have input into how a workflow is designed, it can address needs far better.

One other great benefit of easy-to-use workflow software is that getting workflows designed, tested, and in use is a much faster process than it used to be. The result is less disruption in the workplace, along with a swift, positive return on investment. 

PerfectForms is workflow software that has been used by very small businesses, big enterprises, and everything in between. It can be either cloud-hosted or run on-premises, and it allows creation of custom online forms and automated workflows without the need for programming. 

PerfectForms’ drag-and-drop interface means that workflow end-users can have more influence over workflow design, and that the time from concept to daily use can be far shorter than it used to be. Did you know you can try PerfectForms for free? Simply sign up for a trial and you can see for yourself why the old myths surrounding online forms and automated workflows no longer apply. 

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Top BPM Trends to Watch for in 2019

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 by PerfectForms Editors

No one expects the pace of business to slack off in 2019.

Employees in an open office

Excellent processes are necessary to step up to the challenges of a busy, fast-paced new year.

The fast pace of business has made agility a key business asset, and to be agile, a company must have excellent processes. Business process management (BPM) is how many of them streamline and automate processes – particularly back-office processes that allow more people to spend more time on core business objectives. 

Outstanding BPM software is the key to innovating processes in 2019 and beyond. Here are five top BPM trends you can expect to see in the coming year.

1. BPM for Customer Service

Customer service has become an increasingly important differentiator, and companies are beginning to realize that they can’t solve customer problems effectively and efficiently if employees are faced with roadblocks when they try to handle customer service tasks. With BPM software streamlining the back end of customer services, employees are empowered to work smarter and be more responsive to customers. The end result should be a more loyal and enthusiastic customer base.

2. Increased Role of Digital Process Automation

Ordinary digital workflows automate many parts of business processes, but digital process automation (DPA) elevates automation to a new level. Repetitive, rules-driven business processes that do not require human intervention are processes that are ripe for DPA. Robotics are not the only route to DPA, but you can expect robotic machines to play an increasingly evident role in BPA in 2019.

3. Apps and Mobile Continue to Increase in Importance

Ordinary automated workflows free employees from the drudgery of things like filling out forms by hand and hand-delivering them to their intended recipients (or relying on intra-office mail to do so). BPM ascends to a greater level of functioning by adding mobility to the mix. Fewer employees spend their entire workday behind a desk, and mobile friendly, app-powered BPM ensures that they can offer their input from phones and tablets, even if they’re working off-site.

Man using a tablet

Mobility makes automated processes faster and more convenient, helping businesses remain agile.

4. Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things

With artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and logic enter business process automation. As just one example, temperature sensors attached to workspaces or products can be used to automatically record data as products are processed, or as workspaces are used to accomplish tasks. A product that for whatever reason exceeds the safe temperature range can be automatically routed out of the process, while supervisors can be notified to check and correct conditions as necessary.

5. Analytics to Drive Process Action

BPM often generates extensive amounts of data that can be used to further fine-tune processes and to influence other processes. Proprietary data is an extraordinarily valuable business asset, and BPM not only helps businesses collect and analyze it, but also turn it into actionable information that can drive or improve processes. BPM software that includes reporting capabilities already uses process data to inform and drive improvements, and companies should take full advantage. 

Without outstanding BPM software powering processes, it’s hard to take advantage of the many adjunct technologies that are poised to improve business processes in 2019. PerfectForms is BPM software with a unique drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create and automate business processes without programming. PerfectForms integrates with spreadsheets, databases, Salesforce CRM, and other office systems, so putting BPM to work is straightforward and delivers a swift ROI. 

Best of all, you can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial. What better time than the new year to resolve to improve and automate business processes so your daily operations deliver maximum performance?

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How Online Forms and Workflows Help You Focus on Core Competencies

Thursday, December 13th, 2018 by PerfectForms Editors

When your business hires a professional specialist such as a nurse, engineer, designer, or analyst, you want them to spend the bulk of their time doing tasks related to their role, not doing paperwork.

Architect with plans and laptop

Don’t make your specialists spend excessive time on clunky, paper-based bureaucratic processes. 

While it’s probably impossible to eliminate bureaucracy and still maintain the records necessary to successfully and legally run a business, it’s certainly possible to streamline and automate processes to keep time spent on them to only what is necessary. 

Online forms and automated workflows are the keys to ensuring that necessary recordkeeping and accounting of time and resources are done thoroughly, but efficiently. Taking the time to automate and streamline workflows ensures not only a cleaner, leaner operation, but that your employees can focus more fully on putting their unique skills to use. 

Here are some of the ways online forms and workflows help your business focus on core competencies.

By Ensuring Consistency

When you create an automated workflow for, say, creating a purchase order, you ensure that whoever starts the process will complete all necessary steps, in the right order. That means that the person who approves the process will always have a consistent set of information to consider. 

Furthermore, automated workflows ensure that every user knows exactly what is expected so that over time, they’re able to do their part of the workflow with increasing efficiency, benefiting everyone.

By Minimizing Error-Tracing

Online forms can be designed to minimize input errors and ensure that exceptional situations are handled consistently. Suppose that purchase orders over $1,000 require departmental approval before final approval can be granted. When someone submits a purchase order over that amount, the form can flag it and trigger an automatic sub-process that sends the information to the department head for approval before it rejoins the workflow for further processing. What’s more, online forms themselves reduce errors due to poor handwriting or mistakes in transferring handwritten information into spreadsheets or databases. 

Woman at a desk with a pile of binders

Finding, tracing, and correcting errors with paper processes wastes time that could be better spent on other tasks. 

By Creating an Audit Trail

Few things disrupt business operations like an audit. Fortunately, you can create automated workflows that add time and date stamps to process steps, ensuring you always have an accurate and complete record that all necessary steps in a process were completed. You can also design automated workflows so that only authorized users can access them, and so that their participation in the workflow is automatically recorded. That way if an audit does occur, there’s no frenetic scrambling to collect records and proof, because it’s all already there. 

By Eliminating Paper Shuffling

Finally, online forms and automated workflows eliminate one inefficiency that plagued businesses for generations: paper handling. Online forms won’t be lost, damaged, or coffee-stained, and they won’t disappear under a pile of mail on someone’s desk. There’s no taking completed papers to someone’s office for signatures, or accidentally leaving originals on the copy machine. The elimination of physical paperwork alone represents a tremendous efficiency gain on the part of most businesses. 

PerfectForms is online form and workflow software that is user-friendly, powerful, flexible, and that requires no programming. The drag-and-drop interface ensures that the people who actually use the forms and workflows can have influence in their design, which is valuable because these are the people who know where the bottlenecks can occur, and which steps need to occur in which order. 

If you’re ready to maximize time spent on core business competencies and reduce the time and resources required to handle necessary business processes, we invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo video. It only takes a minute, and you’ll see for yourself how online forms and automated workflows can transform day-to-day business operations.

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Revamping Online Forms for 2019? Consider These Trends.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms must function perfectly, or else they can actually slow down business processes.

Unfortunately, we’ve all dealt with malfunctioning, slow, or just plain ugly online forms.

But once you have your online forms working flawlessly, are their aesthetics important? While not strictly necessary, good looks put form users at ease and make the experience of completing them more pleasant. For most businesses this is a worthwhile aim whether the online forms are used internally by employees, or externally by customers. 

A new year is a popular time for making changes, and many companies may choose to reevaluate or upgrade their online forms at the start of a new year. For customer-facing forms in particular, periodically revisiting forms to make sure they collect what is necessary, route data correctly, and look appealing to users is a good idea. If you’re considering a makeover for your online forms in 2019, here are some web design trends to consider. 

Bright Colors and Pastels

One of the best things about online forms is that they don’t have to be as dull as the paper forms of old. Websites are crucial marketing tools, and keeping a website appealing and fresh often requires making changes. Bright colors and pastels have been on-trend for a few years now, as people realize they don’t have to give up aesthetics for function.

Even if your web properties are designed with your company colors and logos as constants, a talented web designer can show you how to skillfully incorporate energetic brights and pastels into your online form designs to freshen up the look and make pages more memorable.

Imagery with Organic Shapes

Custom illustration is becoming a differentiator of sorts, helping websites and the forms on them stand out from those built without imagery, or with dull imagery. Illustrations that are created by hand add a note of authenticity to web form designs, and organic, natural-looking illustrations offer web users a break from what they see everywhere else on the web. 

There’s no reason why online forms have to be “all business.”

A great online form typically has plenty of blank space to make it easy on the eyes, and the addition of “organic” illustrations, without taking away too much of the blank space, can boost aesthetics while setting your online forms apart from everyone else’s.

Bold Typography

There is simply no excuse for online forms that are hard to read. Sure, there are plenty of fancy fonts that aren’t necessarily designed to be easy to read, but among easy-to-read fonts, you still have plenty of scope for creativity. Bold typography conveys a sense of confidence and transparency, that you have conviction and believe in the message. 

But what if your brand is based on a “natural,” or “artistic” style? No worries. There are plenty of bold fonts that convey these attributes while still being clear and easy to read. If you’re not sure what to pick, a professional web designer will know how to steer you in the right direction, and it can be money well spent if it brings in more traffic to your site.

Outstanding Function Will Never Go Out of Style

One thing you can’t forget with your online forms is that they must work correctly every time. PerfectForms is form software that empowers you to create custom online forms with drag-and-drop convenience. It’s great for both internal and customer-facing forms, and you have an almost endless scope for customizing them to suit end-user needs. 

What’s more, PerfectForms is mobile-friendly and interfaces easily with databases, spreadsheets, and other office systems that power your business. If creating beautiful, perfectly functional online forms with easy-to-user form software appeals to you, PerfectForms invites you to watch the demo video. You’re sure to be inspired as to new ways online forms can help make 2019 your best year ever.

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