In their own words...
Read on below for some quotes from the podcast.
[00:39] Bob Larrivve (AIIM): Hey Dustin, glad you could join us. So, Dustin, you are a Business Process Analyst and you're going to be talking with us about Customer Insights and, I love this, saying goodbye to paperwork and email requests with no code BPM tool for Office 365. I love the idea of saying goodbye to paperwork and email requests! Absolutely love that.
[01:02] Dustin Ray (McKinley Irvin): So, we are in the legal industry here at McKinley Irvin, and sometimes that paperwork is still very literal paperwork. So, the more we can get rid of that, the better we're all gonna be.
[01:20] Dustin: We are a family law firm, in the Pacific Northwest. And we're definitely one of the big players around here in this market. And that really is our goal, you know - how can we adopt this technology to really be a market leader? To spend less time on items that really don't generate revenue, or value for our clients, and really focusing in on what can. So that's the challenge - how can we utilize these tools to grow and be smart about it while we're doing it.
So as we talked about a little bit, you know, there's a lot of paperwork to be done. There's a lot of standardized requests that have to be processed, just for the standard legal timelines. That means there's a lot of communication going back and forth between our 120 employees, so a lot of requests - and sometimes those requests just land in inbox. That presents a risk, you know, if someone is busy or their inbox gets backed up, you know, who's to say that these essential requests get noticed and get actioned appropriately. So really that is the goal - how do we make sure that we get these things right every time.
[02:37] Dustin: We found that we've been experiencing a lot of success, not only relying on the Office 365 platform, but also partnering with FlowForma. So FlowForma presents a fantastic no code process automation system. It's handled a few things for us: it's taken the user requests out of email - you can still get notified via email, that's fantastic, but you're not relying on that inbox as your source of truth for what still needs to be done out there.
[03:08] Dustin: So the two examples I'm going to be talking a little bit about are employee onboarding and payment approval. These are items that just about any kind of office can relate to. You know, we're always bringing on new people in our efforts to grow and we have a relatively complex and robust onboarding process. It involves a host of different departments, as I'm sure it does in most firms, and there's also a very substantial amount of technology work that needs to be done on the back end in order to bring these folks online, up and running. And that means a lot of opportunities again for missteps, if we're not carefully managing this process as we go.
[03:48] Dustin: So, that as well as the process for approving payment flows for our clients. So that's also a very common exercise that we engage in here. And we want to make sure that this gets right every single time. So what we were able to do was to stand up those two as our first two automated process flows, using FlowForma. And I can tell you that our accounting department was extremely happy once we did so.
They were always running into the same issues - ensuring that those requests didn't get lost in an inbox and making sure that we were getting those back in a timely fashion. The ability for our folks on the requesting side also, to see exactly where in the process that the requests are. Sometimes, and maybe we can all relate to this a little bit, part of the frustration that we have as people that are requesting items is that we just don't know where something sits. Someone might be working very hard on an item, but if we don't have visibility to that, that can still leave a bad taste in your mouth.
[04:49] Dustin: but FlowForma gives us the ability to log in and easily see what status our request is currently sitting at. So folks can see exactly what they can expect and the time frames involved, and it really smooths out that communication process for them.
I can say that Office 365, SharePoint and FlowForma solution for us was fantastic because most of it was already in place, so we were already utilizing 365, we were just starting to utilize SharePoint, and FlowForma, you know, very straight forward and get up and running was big seller for us.
[05:32] Dustin: I can wholeheartedly recommend folks give FlowForma a shot, there is a very easy trial available. If you've got your Office 365 up and running - download here.
[06:02] Bob: Dustin, couple of questions for ya - so you're using FlowForma to generate documentation for data capture in your processes, right?
[06:17] Dustin: Absolutely.
[06:18] Bob: Okay, can you explain a little bit more about how you're doing that? Maybe pick a process in particular?
[06:27] Dustin: Yeah, so we'll work on the accounting process, because I think that would be the easier one to explain. So, what existed beforehand was our folks would request certain allocations of money that would be spent on our clients' behalf. It's very standard for paying court fees for example.
So that is a request that would usually be wrapped up just in an email and then sent off to our accounting department. There, we discussed the risks of those items a little bit going into an email inbox. So what FlowForma allows us to do, once installed, I was able to generate a form that would replace that email. So all of our internal folks would simply need a link to that form, and then with that link they could then access that form and type in only the relevant information required. These could be some straight forward items, such as the amount of money involved, the particular account... And then the real magic happened after the form was submitted - we were able to run those requests automatically through the approval process that would normally require our accounting department to forward that requests numerous times amongst the different approvers.
Whereas FlowForma allows that process to happen sequentially and automatically, as soon as the user submits the relevant details. Depending on the dollar amount, it's gonna be routed to different approvers in the firm, and they they're able to either approve or pass back that requests, oftentimes asking for more information or verification. And then once that process has been routed, the cutting of the cheque can begin, and we've made sure that we didn't miss any critical details as part of that process.
[08:22] Bob: Sounds interesting, what have you got planned next?
[08:24] Dustin: So our big next step is, we're starting to get into SQL for Azure, to handle some of our bigger data sets. So FlowForma's working with us on that. And we're also excited about getting this really into our production side of the house as well, so the ability for us to generate legal documents, in addition to our back-end accounting documents
[08:49] Bob: I'm curious, are you using it for e-discovery at all? Cause I hear a lot of people wrestling with e-discovery and that whole animal?
[08:58] Dustin: e-discovery is a very big animal. I certainly hear a lot about it, I know it's something that AIIM is really interested in. Right now, we're not, but I would be shocked if in the future we didn't start to take a look at it.
[09:17] Bob: What's your advice for those that want to enhance Office 365 with a workflow solution?
[09:24] Dustin: I would say - jump in! I think it's easy to look at the requirements of a system like this and feel like, it's maybe a little daunting. And you know what, there are gonna be details to work out, there's always gonna be a decent amount of data to manage. But it's really not that bad once you start taking little bites at it.
So if you find yourself an excellent system that's gonna work for you - Office 365 platform is going to treat you very well, and I would totally recommend just taking one process, try a demo and really get to it. I think that once you get a taste of that success in your firm, and your place of business can see what it looks like, once you got 'one in the tank', I think you're gonna see some excellent results.
[10:14] Bob: So, pick something, go at it and don't be afraid of it!
[10:20] Dustin: Yup, you've got it!
[10:23] Bob: Thank you so much for joining us today Dustin, we really do appreciate it. Thanks for sharing all of the things that you're doing with us.