Some aspects of business are still enigmatic to decision makers. While PerfectForms offers peace of mind through creating a more efficient Workflow Process and better reporting systems, things like effective marketing strategies still confuse people. What’s actually working? How do you know?
In order to sift through a world of almost endless digital marketing tools, PerfectForms caught up with Sahil Parikh, founder of Brightpod, a web-based project management software for marketing teams. Through his online writings and social media conversations, Parikh has given readers a glimpse into his online marketing strategies, and he elaborates with PerfectForms here:
Some months back, you wrote a blog about your experiments with site re-targeting for Brightpod. At the time, you were still uncertain as to whether it was the most efficient use of your marketing dollars. Did you ever come to a final decision on whether you would continue to pursue it or not?
We pushed pause for a couple of months and have since pursued it again. Recently, we have been getting a steady stream of conversions with re-targeting. Personally, I like re-targeting (even if people don’t convert immediately) because it lets you remind people about your product since they showed an interest by visiting your site.
Note: Re-targeting is a process where companies single out their most likely customer online (people who are already visiting their websites). Then, once the customer leaves their website, the business will continue to put ads in front of that user no matter where they’re working online.
So you use re-targeting as traditional branding? Like a billboard planting a seed where possible conversions can take place at a later date?
Yes, this is exactly why we are using re-targeting. There is always a problem with attribution (you really don’t know if they have seen your ad and converted), but at least we can remind them that Brightpod exists if they need to use project management software for marketing in the future.
What marketing methods have seen the greatest ROI for Brightpod?
We drive more than 50% of our traffic via organic search, a.k.a. SEO. Last year, we setup landing pages for keywords pertaining to our business and what we thought people would search for. This investment is paying wonders today. This traffic is niche, well-targeted, and actively searching for what we can offer them.
For example, search for:
-“alternative to trello”
– “marketing project management software”
SEO traffic is evergreen, inexpensive to acquire, and qualified.
Besides SEO, our Twitter conversations are also helpful, as is being reviewed on blogs and participating on Quora. These all have high conversion rates (people who sign up) on our site.
Your Twitter handle reads “Kicking $aa$.” That’s clever! How would you describe SaaS technology to someone who isn’t familiar?
First, they should go to Amazon and buy my book: The SaaS Edge. SaaS refers to software that is accessed via a web browser. Here, the customer does not have to worry about setting up, configuring, or even hosting the software. That is done by a SaaS vendor. I often ask people if they use Gmail. If they nod, then I explain to them that they are already using SaaS, since Google maintains Gmail and all they do is use the browser to login and check their mail.
On your personal website, you state that your motto is, “Life is short. Work smart. Have fun.” What does working smart mean to you?
Working smart means working efficiently and productively. This way, you save time and can plouw that time into the things you love doing. Working smart also means minimizing distractions, not wasting time, and focusing on getting things done. This translates to using productivity tools, minimizing email notifications, and just being smart about how you spend your time.
As a writer, company founder, and start-up builder, how do you find time to “have fun?” What outside hobbies or passions do you pursue on your free time?
I play a round of golf every Saturday morning. On the other days, I either play tennis, go for a swim, or take a brisk walk late in the evening.
Does pursuit of those passions make you more proficient in your professional endeavors? How?
Absolutely. I feel energetic after any exercise. This helps me focus and get stuff done quickly. Plus, working, playing sports, and spending time with my family (including my 4-year old daughter) balances my week really well. This is the “have fun” part of my motto.
What three online tools have helped you in the business world, and why would you recommend them to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
There are quite a few tools I use for Brightpod, but for general business/productivity, I highly recommend these three tools which I use on a daily basis:
Google Apps: These are hassle-free and let me check my email from anywhere.
Intercom: This allows me to be in touch with my customers from anywhere.
HipChat: This allows me to be in touch with my remote team from anywhere.
Follow Brightpod on Twitter.
The rise of modern IT infrastructure has created huge opportunities for organizations and individuals of all kinds, but everything hinges on being as convenient to use as possible. Sharing data effectively is a core aspect of modern business efficiency and, when leveraged properly, can significantly streamline corporate processes. However, it is important that this data is available to everyone within the organization who needs it, when they need it, in order to make the countless tasks in progress flow more smoothly, as well as helping to ensure that information does not get lost or overlooked. One of the primary ways to set up such a framework is to implement database integration.
Virtual storage space has huge and ever-growing potential for making organizations more efficient and streamlining work for staff. However, with that power comes a wide range of competing programs and standards, making it difficult for the average person to understand how to approach the problem of integrating their data. When information is collected, some data may come in the form of spreadsheets and other data may come from totally different, disparate applications. It can seem like a daunting task to integrate it all into a single, informative report. A programmer might think of a way to do this, but what is simple to a programmer can be more difficult for a layperson. As a result, many employees simply copy the data manually, which takes hours or even days – time that could be better spent on other tasks. It is clear to see why programs designed to overcome these obstacles, and to make things as simple and streamlined as possible, are popular among all kinds of organizations.
PerfectForms is built around the idea that database integration is a central part of modern IT. Not only does the approach permit the integration of a variety of different standards, it accomplishes this without any need for coding. Thus, it becomes possible to extend the life of legacy systems, implement new programs and share data, regardless of that data’s origins. For example, the information collected in HTML forms can be integrated with a database as easily as that from workflow applications, but legacy data from an older system can be integrated as well, through open APIs and web services.
PerfectForms also offers several specially designed components to ensure flawless integration with:
- -Google spreadsheets
Through perfect compatibility with these channels, PerfectForms ensures these especially common sources of important information can easily be integrated with other data. Additionally, the fact that PerfectForms can be installed on local computers or accessed via the cloud helps to further improve convenience and utility for end users.
Database integration is a vital part of designing software. When interaction with outside groups is necessary, these requirements can be compounded further. PerfectForms ensures a smooth transition, easy database integration and the utmost convenience for staff. By eliminating the need for coding, it becomes easier for organizations to achieve effective, efficient processes.
The break between semesters is the perfect time to evaluate your school’s policies regarding student and instructor safety. While sovereign immunity statues do protect school districts from most litigation, the failure to protect students from preventable injuries, through negligence or an unsafe environment, lifts the immunity and exposes the district to a lawsuit. Using form creator software, you can put together a checklist for every classroom in your district to assist teachers and principals in addressing potential safety problems. Though manual creation of safety checklists is an option, you conserve time, reduce costs and achieve greater control over compliance when using online form builder software.
Saving Time and Money
At a time when schools are trying to cut costs at every opportunity, it might seem counterintuitive to believe that spending money on form creator software can actually lower expenses overall. With a manual process, you have to pay someone to spend hours typing and editing the forms for each campus, all while they wait for approval from the administration. Add to that the cost of physically printing the forms and you’ve spent a small fortune.
Online software eliminates the majority of these costs. The drag-and-drop builder tools provide the form-builder with the basic framework for the school safety checklist in a matter of minutes. Then, instead of printing and distributing the form, the administration can send links either via email or directly to a mobile device. Further simplifying matters, the form creator software can then send periodic reminders to instructors and administrators to complete their safety checklists before students return to class.
Because of the importance of safety on your campus, it is vital that you are able to analyze instructor compliance. If you use a manual form, all of the data must be collated and analyzed by hand. It’s easy for information to fall through the cracks and for bad behavior to go unnoticed. Form builder software allows the administration to get a better overall picture of safety concerns across all campuses by analyzing instructor and site compliance.
Reports show you which instructors consistently follow the rules, as well as highlight those who are consistently lax in their commitment to staff and student safety. With this information in hand, you can coach instructors and point out unacceptable behavior before someone gets injured. In addition, as a school district administrator, you can compare the implementation of safety strategies across campuses and address principals whose instructors fail to meet expectations on a regular basis.
Not all safety issues are a matter of instructor neglect. Sometimes, they are a direct result of maintenance problems. Through the use of form builder software, you can integrate maintenance requests with the safety checklist to speed up the process of compliance. For instance, if nine of the 20 desks in a classroom have broken or missing parts, which would cause the classroom to fail its safety inspection, the instructor or the principal can immediately make a request to have the desks replaced. Instead of waiting for the data to be collected and analyzed before taking action, the people who are in the classroom are better equipped to address maintenance issues immediately.
Adopting online form creation tools eases the burden on your faculty, staff and administration to operate a safe campus so they can spend more time on the most important part of their jobs: educating.
Time is money and very few companies have all the time in the world to chase overdue and unpaid accounts. However, many businesses do just that, engaging in a tiresome marathon of attempted collections without managing to recoup enough capital to cover the cost of all that chasing. Fortunately, there is a better and more productive way to recover money from customers.
Virtual Solutions for All Businesses
Intuitive invoicing software provides companies with an innovative, virtual solution for managing billing issues. Business process management software can also offer simple solutions to workplace procrastination and task mismanagement. Using BPM software is like taking an exhaustive amount of analytics and metrics formulas, stuffing it all into a data blender and pulling out a beautiful answer to previous invoicing problems.
Online form-building software versatile enough to meet all types of A/R requirements is just what any business needs to keep invoicing fast, traceable and, ultimately, collectible. That is precisely why workflow software is necessary- it provides customized invoicing software that can patch all of those issues.
Invoicing needs are incorporated into the billing process through sophisticated, automated software. The software is built on a platform that naturally assesses workflow, addresses the inconsistencies, and eventually gives the user a form that is effective for productive billing and collection. The user-friendly system allows billing information to be all-inclusive and available to pertinent parties, including billing and collection representatives, as well as other companies for commercial transparency.
The Billing and Collection Process
BPM software helps businesses expedite A/R functions by offering form-building programs that can create accurate and effective invoices in a snap. Billing problems can arise from myriad sources, yet most people can follow a similar process to optimize collections. Bills should be sent out quickly, invoice forms must be readable, customers need to be encouraged to contact businesses in the event of payment difficulty, and notices regarding overdue balances should be issued in a timely manner using plain, polite language. However, many companies get lost in commercial translation and the effectiveness of bill collection takes a beating.
A billing system drawn from a multitasking workflow management program takes the confusion out of the equation because companies can take the software and create an invoicing system that is
Change comes hard for some people – especially when it comes to business. Companies that have been around for a while are especially tough nuts to crack, as they tend to have an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. But when it comes to adopting business process management (BPM) software, things do not necessarily need to be “broken.” BPM software just does everything better – giving you plenty of reasons to make the switch.
Seven Reasons Why You Should Immediately Switch to BPM
- To make more money – Businesses that embrace BPM software are better positioned to make more money. The gains in efficiency and information tend to lead to higher-quality output and better decision-making, which in turn benefits the bottom line.
- You are tired of needless mistakes – The first time a manager misses an important detail, you can let it go. People make mistakes. The third time, it starts to get frustrating. While it could be the fault of the employee, it could also be an issue with the system, especially if the problem is happening in multiple areas. BPM software ensures that all info is in front of the people who need it. This cuts down on needless mistakes, and saves you from blowing a gasket.
- You’d rather be on vacation – Keeping a company running is often the equivalent of two full-time jobs, which makes it pretty hard to take any time off. However, this does not have to be the case. A more efficient system tends to cut down on the need for micromanaging. If you want to have enough time to better your golf game, first you will have to better your business.
- You have a need for speed – Would you like to see just how fast a product can be made from start to finish? Sometimes, especially if you are invested in the company, you enjoy doing a good job as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. BPM results in faster processing times from start to finish.
- You are a control freak – BPM gives you better control over your corporate operations. By embedding business rules into the system, you know that everything is happening according to the rules you put in place.
- You always want to get better – Introducing BPM is the beginning of a systematic improvement process for your business. It is a starting point on a path of endless betterment.
- You want to leave others in the dust – The only way you can remain competitive is to use the best systems available. If you want to beat the other guys, BPM is a must.
There are businesses out there that may never use BPM software, but yours should not be one of them. There are simply too many good reasons to take your company to the next level.
There seem to be two constants with college students: They like to change their minds, and they leave it to the last minute to get things done. In the United States, most college students will change their majors at least once during their academic careers, and they love to wait until the end of the semester to file a change of major request. This generates a significant amount of paperwork, clogs administration offices with concerned students and puts a strain on academic counselors. Automation of the major change procedure with online forms eliminates many of the headaches administrators face.
Traditional major-change request forms need to be printed in large numbers and made available for students in the administration office. A small school needs hundreds of copies, while a large college or university has to provide thousands every year. At a time when institutions must save every available penny, it’s impractical to pay for printing. Additionally, colleges save on labor and administration costs when they evolve past the paper-based process because they do not need to have as many employees on hand to take care of accepting and processing the change of major paperwork.
In a college administration office, everything seems to move at a snail’s pace. Students expect to wait in the office just to ask a simple question and more complicated matters might take their entire days. Change-of-major requests are particularly time-consuming, especially at the end of the semester when the system is overloaded. Part of the problem is that these forms require approval by several different people, some in the administration office and at least one in the student’s new major field area, and students have to wait for professors or administrators to pick up the documents, sign them and return them to the office before approval. Online forms can be approved in bulk and sent instantly from one office to the next. Instead of waiting days or weeks for notification about their requests, students can know in a matter of hours or minutes.
Ease of Use
Online forms are simple and easy-to-use for students. The forms can be completed in a couple of minutes from the comfort of the student’s home or dorm. Dropdown menus ensure students always enter the right college or major codes on their forms, reducing stress on administrators. Colleges can modify forms to meet their own unique needs, so they can better evaluate the requests and aid students in their quests to graduate on time.
Online change-of-major forms are beneficial for both students and administrators, saving time, energy and money. With these forms, a major change doesn’t have to be a major pain.
Understanding the difference between workflow optimization and business process automation is important in pinpointing the right software for your organization. The differences between these two types of software are often poorly understood, even by IT professionals.
The major difference is that BPM encompasses much more in terms of facilitating activities of an organization while workflow directs activities between individuals. BPM is an entire series of different functions that can be addressed apart from specific applications. BPM not only handles workflow processes but is also capable of creating them through its capacity to model and optimize workflow.
BPM and workflow are similar in that both are responsible for maximizing operational efficiency by automating core processes. An important aspect of both BPM and workflow is eliminating bottlenecks from core processes that hinder progress in carrying out necessary activities.
Organizations use workflow to automate business processes, but workflow management software does not test whether automated models maximize efficiency or even get tasks done adequately. Rather, this solution will send documents and assignments to a particular user. It keeps track of files and makes sure projects are completed on time. Overall, workflow maps out processes and facilitates their completion.
Business Project Management
BPM software goes much further in facilitating organizational processes than pure workflow software. In fact, workflow features are only one of about 10 different features offered in a BPM software package. While BPM software may handle the tasks addressed by workflow solutions, it enhances workflow processes by adding modeling and optimization features to the automation and management of business processes offered by simpler workflow software.
BPM software will integrate itself with diverse systems, various business rules, recipients, templates, and data at an organization, carrying out tasks such as modeling processes, creating an integrated business rules engine and forms designer, simulating processes, optimizing methodologies, and monitoring and reporting on organizational activities.
BPM workflow software offers a more holistic approach to handling business processes. The solution takes into account all resources used, including people, data, machines, and systems. This contrasts with workflow management technologies, which generally only address the interactions between individuals and software. While BPM software handles workflow tasks, it does this in a fundamentally different way than workflow tools, seamlessly integrating workflow tasks with many other technologies, such as BAM, UI generation, and an environment that offers graphical authoring.
PerfectForms software offerings
PerfectForms offers both workflow management software and BPM workflow software. While there is some overlap between the functions, these two different software programs offer different focuses and capabilities.
PerfectForms workflow software:
- Streamlines workflow processes
- Carries out tasks such as automation, web form design, and real-time reporting
- Can be used to carry out business processes in many different types of organization departments, including human resources, marketing, sales, and more
PerfectForms BPM software:
- Offers flexibility to accommodate organizations operating in a wide variety of industries
- Improves business processes through modeling, automation, and optimization
- Can be tailored to meet the unique needs of an organization thanks to the option to custom-create applications
Determining your software needs
Now that you understand the difference between workflow and BPM software, you can determine which solution is the best fit for your organization. Once you implement the software that’s right for you, your company will go from 50 shades of confused to humming with efficiency in no time.
Has your company recently experienced rapid growth and is now struggling to scale to meet the new demand? Are you used to a workflow management process that’s stayed the same for years and aren’t convinced it needs to change? While companies can greatly benefit from business process management software to help manage their workflow, many have yet to embrace any sort of workflow software. Three warning signs that your company may be in need of a new workflow solution include your legacy software no longer meeting your requirements, an old server wasting your resources, and little transparency into who is working on what project. If you find yourself relating to any of these indicators, it may be time for your company to invest in a reliable workflow management system.
Relegating Legacy Software to the Past
Nobody likes change, right? Older software typically does not provide the level of automation and simplicity that comes with newer BPM software. Instead of getting rid of your legacy software consider choosing a platform that works well with what you already have. PerfectForms offers both on-demand and on-premise deployment options for easier and faster integration.
Avoiding Local Server Maintenance
Does your company have to keep a local server lying around to maintain its current workflow software, while burying your IT department in support tickets? For many firms, IT resources are a precious commodity. Local servers can go down, copies of BPM software need to be installed and maintained on several different devices, and expenses can grow out of control if you need to update your server to accommodate additional users. Tying up your staff’s time and resources maintaining a local server when it’s not necessary can be costly and inefficient. All the heavy lifting can be done on our servers, reducing both your costs and the burden on your IT staff.
Addressing Poor Employee Transparency
As a manager, you know that two of the keys to any successful process are efficiency and accountability. Both you and your employees need to know who is assigned to which tasks and when these tasks are expected to be completed. Once you start to lose track of this, projects become delayed, inefficient, or even grind to a halt. Imagine a project that requires multiple teams of employees to coordinate several interconnected assignments. If one team makes a change to an assignment that impacts the work of another team, it is vital the second group be informed of the changes. If they aren’t, the work they are doing could be negatively affected.
Situations like this obviously present major visibility and efficiency issues if not handled correctly. Using BPM software, managers can oversee the progress of individual processes and update the workflow accordingly to prevent problems that arise from lack of visibility. BPM software can pay for itself by eliminating potential costly inefficiencies.
BPM Software Could Solve Your Problems
If your legacy software’s capabilities leave much to be desired, your local server is more trouble than it’s worth and your projects are suffering from a lack of transparency, consider upgrading to BPM software and save time, money and manpower.
Developing a more consistent approach toward tracking and organizing financial information is an excellent way for any business to improve efficiency. Getting bogged down by paperwork involving capital expenditure forms or tax documents can take up precious time and resources. However, with the right workflow software, it’s easy to keep track of capital expenditure forms or tax data, allowing you to focus entirely on growing your business instead of staring at a mound of documents.
Easily Organize and Store All Capital Expenditures
CapEx workflow forms can improve the transparency and accuracy of all your tax information, ensuring there are no lost records or confusion. Accessing and reviewing capital expenditure information is made much simpler through customized automation processes and more intuitive organization of data. Also, since CapEx workflow forms can be stored on servers, you will never have to worry about misplacing a single invoice or receipt. No more scrambling to find one specific receipt or document when tax season comes around. By using the right workflow software to calculate and store your capital expenditures, you can rest assured there won’t be any accounting surprises. Today’s best capital expenditure workflow forms can do the organizing for you.
Reduce Overhead Costs
Save money by reducing paper waste with digital CapEx workflow forms. Considering how much is spent on printing documents and tax papers, businesses may enjoy reduced overhead costs by utilizing CapEx workflow forms in a digital format. The money otherwise spent on printing, materials, or organizing all the paperwork can be used to provide pay raises for employees, perform renovations to your business or purchase new equipment.
Automated Updates and Invoice Notices
The best CapEx workflow forms should allow you to receive automated emails within voice receipts or the payment statuses of purchases. This way there is little margin for error and any potential issues can be immediately brought to your attention before they become bigger headaches.
Online workflow forms for capital expenditures provide in-depth spending analytics versus revenue to help your business identify areas for improvement. Find out exactly where your money is going and easily track every single invoice or utility bill. Evaluate precisely what products or services are producing the most income and what inventory may no longer be needed.
If you would like to approach capital expenditures in a new, more intuitive way, PerfectForms may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Leave a paper trail without any annoying paper by utilizing workflow forms engineered to make your workplace operate much more proficiently.
These days, office space is treated like valuable territory in some kind of new real estate crisis. With space at a premium, you could find your office transformed into a modern-day western with showdowns between stapler-bearing gunslingers. But not all is lost in trying to keep your employees focused on the job at hand despite their cramped quarters.
Simple office solutions do exist to help you find ways to save space. Many times, this could be as simple as rearranging the furniture. However, in some cases, moving things around won’t be enough to solve the problem, and you’ll have to find other alternatives.
Maximizing your office space does not take a rocket scientist; it just requires ideas that come together. One way to get this ball rolling is to utilize workflow software, which can allow for a collaborative meeting of the minds among the office staff.
The No. 1 issue at hand should be to determine what works for your employees and staff. Ask yourself what kind of office culture you want to develop. Once you get these issues aligned, there should not be a problem moving forward.
Utilizing freestanding cubicles opens up much-needed office space. If you choose this route, the question then becomes what kind of cubicle would be best for your company?
Many cubicle designs come with wall height options. If you are looking for an open and collaborative atmosphere, you should consider structures with lower walls. However, if you have operations that require employees to be completely uninterrupted and engaged in the tasks at hand, then the solution may be a cubicle structure that is almost entirely enclosed, with the walls extending above seven feet in height.
Cubicle designs are compact, space-saving and are designed to maximize workspace efficiency, ensuring there is no wasted worker movement when it comes to accessing office equipment and supplies.
This option has been gaining popularity not only among management, but workers as well. It is an indirect way of maximizing office space by simply not occupying it. The approach has the advantage of allowing you to develop your operations without necessarily having to expand the workspace available to you.
Telecommuting is cheap and gives employees the freedom to develop personal solutions that work for them, including working from home. Another popular option of which telecommuters are taking advantage is finding a good coffee joint with Wi-Fi access. Rent can be paid for the price of a cup of coffee.
There is another space-saving solution to add to the equation – the integration of workflow software into the workplace. The primary benefit of using this kind of software lies in reducing the amount of paperwork stashed in bank boxes and filing cabinets.
PerfectForms workflow software can be integrated with your other software systems, so there’s no need to deal with an expensive overhaul of the existing system via coding.
Of course, you can never eliminate the valuable nature of a filing cabinet, but let’s get real about this: Do you really need all that paperwork stuffed inside a space-robbing box? By integrating workflow software solutions for your office, you can certainly open up some space.