FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is FORMVERSE?

FORMVERSE is an Enterprise Automation Platform (EAP) that allows corporations and government agencies to configure and deploy highly-functional yet easy-to-use applications for a very broad set of uses.  FORMVERSE can support both internal users (employees and consultants) and/or external users (customers, prospective customers, vendors, partners, suppliers, regulators, etc.).  Users have the ability to access and interact with FORMVERSE applications in multiple ways, including via a browser, using a mobile device, and directly from within their existing email system.

Customers can configure FORMVERSE applications without the need for developers or engineers by using the FORMVERSE Template Editor.  It allows for the configuration of both simple and very complex applications.  All data created with these applications, as well as all metadata, and attachments, are automatically captured in the SQL Server database.  From there, the data may integrated into and out of your other enterprise applications (ERP’s, CRM’s, HRIS, SharePoint, or other database applications).

Using FORMVERSE allows customers to automate business processes quickly, and results in high user adoption rates.  FORMVERSE provides the functionality required of large corporate and government customers, at a low cost.

My organization already uses an enterprise application that has “workflow” capabilities (i.e. ERP, CRM, BPM, or Microsoft SharePoint).  What advantages are there to using FORMVERSE?

Our customers tell us there are four key advantages of using FORMVERSE in lieu of (or in conjunction with) other enterprise systems:

1. Sophisticated Functionality

FORMVERSE can be used to automate virtually any simple or complex business process.  Many FORMVERSE customers are global corporations or large government agencies.  Given the nature of these organizations, the architecture of FORMVERSE lends itself well to the more sophisticated needs of these organizations. We invite you to contact us to see FORMVERSE in action.

2. Ease of Use/High Adoption

Customers tell us that one big advantage of FORMVERSE is that the user interface can be used for any business process throughout the organization. This results in your staff having a single user interface for any business application.  Additionally, for customers that wish to use their existing email system as an interface to these applications, the user adoption rate is extremely high, since email is the single business application used by virtually 100% of employees.

3. Time to Implement

Implementation of FORMVERSE applications can be completed in days, instead of the months or years required to implement other business process management tools. For customers desiring a fully-hosted solution, FORMVERSE can be implemented in minutes.  For on-premise, customer-controlled cloud, or hybrid deployments, customers can be up and running within one day.   FORMVERSE applications can then be created internally by your staff, or our FORMVERSE team can provide the design and configuration services for you.

4. Low Cost

While most Enterprise systems offer some level of workflow functionality, often implementation of these systems requires significant engineering and development efforts.  This makes use of those systems for workflow cost-prohibitive.  Our customers often find that the cost of providing their staff with licensing to such systems can quickly become staggering.  With FORMVERSE, business users can create applications themselves without the need for any engineering involvement.

Can FORMVERSE help me migrate from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange or Office 365?

Yes!  Lotus Notes has workflow functionality natively integrated into the product. Microsoft Outlook does not have that same kind of native capability. FORMVERSE provides the missing workflow capability to Outlook/365 making it much easier to recreate (and oftentimes combine) those Lotus Notes workflow applications in Outlook/365.

What kind of business processes can be automated with FORMVERSE?

Customer’s use FORMVERSE to automate a very broad range of business processes in all departments.

A few examples include:

  • Purchasing/Procurement Approvals
  • Tracking Regulatory Requirements
  • Employee Onboarding/Offboarding
  • Equipment Inspections Compliance
  • Capturing/Automating Routing of Incoming Email
  • Manufacturing- Identifying/Rectifying Parts Shortages
  • Managing Employee Attestation Compliance
  • Project Approval & Tracking
  • Contract Management

The types of business applications that can be automated with FORMVERSE are limitless! Anything from simple administrative processes like office supply requests to multi-level, mission-critical tasks such as Capital Expenditures approvals and justifications are just a few examples.

Do I have to use FORMVERSE integrated into my email system?

No. Many FORMVERSE customers opt to use FORMVERSE solely in a browser on a PC/Mac, Smartphone, or Tablet.  Likewise, you can use FORMVERSE solely for internal staff or allow external users (i.e. vendors, partners, suppliers, customers, regulators, etc.) to interact with the applications based on your specifications.

How long does it take to implement FORMVERSE?

Implementation of FORMVERSE can be completed in days, instead of the months or years sometimes required to implement legacy business process management tools.  Implementation of FORMVERSE consists of the following tasks:

1. Software Installation. For hosted configurations, you will be up and running in minutes.  On-premise configurations are normally configured in a couple of hours after your environment is configured.

2. Configuration of applications. This is highly variable and dependent on the specifications.  As a general rule simple applications having a few steps and without integration to and from your other applications normally will take 1-3 days.  For highly functional, highly complex, many step applications with one or more integration points may require several weeks.

3. Roll to Live Environment. Prior to launch, your applications will be tested internally (User Acceptance Testing) to identify and correct issues, if any are identified.  Once testing is complete the application will be migrated to the live production environment.

How is FORMVERSE priced?

FORMVERSE is offered as a subscription and is priced by the number of Workflow Templates used, not the number of users. Forget about individual user licenses!  With FORMVERSE you simply subscribe to your desired number of Workflow Templates (in packs of 5) and pay a monthly subscription fee (regardless of the number of users)!  Additionally, for customers desiring a fully hosted solution, you may also subscribe to FORMVERSE hosting services which includes all the other licenses required to run the software.  Whether you have 100 or 100,000 users, the cost remains the same.  In addition to your Production Environment, you may also run non-Production Environments, such as QA, Development, or User Acceptance Testing. Licenses for those non-Production environments are included with your FORMVERSE subscription!  You may then create new “Workflow Templates” yourself or have FORMVERSE staff create them for you.  Customers are not tied to FORMVERSE for creation of Workflow Templates or changes to existing workflow templates.

What is Active Structured Email™?

Active Structured Email™ is FORMVERSE’s patented technology which adds structured forms and workflow capabilities to Outlook/365, transforming corporate email from an informal, unstructured medium to a highly structured one. Using this technology, customers can easy capture data from within email-based forms into the FORMVERSE SQL Server database. Once there, that data can be integrated with your other Enterprise applications using the optional FORMVERSE PASSPORT software module.

How much IT support is required for FORMVERSE?

Once initial configuration is complete, FORMVERSE empowers business units to automate processes without requiring support from IT. Workflow Templates are easily designed and published by business users.  Those users can be internal or external to the organization.  Additionally, FORMVERSE offers a fully-hosted deployment option, which eliminates the need to install the software and database(s) in your data center.  Access to FORMVERSE is provided to users no differently than an on-premise deployment.

Can FORMVERSE integrate with my current enterprise applications?

Yes. FORMVERSE is often used as an effective way to securely collect data, which can then be extracted based on recipient defined processing rules and integrated bi-directionally with your other Enterprise applications and databases.

Data collected through FORMVERSE uses XML as a neutral data interchange format. Through the creation of FORMVERSE PASSPORT tasks, automated functions can allow a variety of tasks to occur.  These can include monitoring a database for specified triggers.  Once the triggers occur, FORMVERSE will then carry out the task(s) defined within FORMVERSE PASSPORT connector framework.  This can include an automated extraction of data from the FORMVERSE database and creation of a new record or perform an update to an existing record in the destination system.  FORMVERSE PASSPORT tasks can provide automation for simple as well as complex tasks which take a variety of actions across multiple enterprise systems simultaneously.

What IT environments are supported by FORMVERSE, and what are the system requirements?

Please review the technical requirements here. In general, FORMVERSE is available 1. as a fully-hosted configuration, 2. on a customer’s own public or private cloud environment, 3. As a hybrid deployment (with FORMVERSE software components hosted and the database(s) are on-premise in your data center) or 4. On-premise.

For on-premise configurations you will need to install the FORMVERSE software components on physical or virtual servers running the Microsoft Windows Server Operating System.  You will provide access to an SQL Server instance where the new database(s) will be created during the installation process.  For on-premise configurations customers may choose to deploy a second instance of the FORMVERSE server software components configured in “Shadow Mode” on a DMZ location of your network. This approach provides restricted access to external users, such as vendors, partners, suppliers, customers, and other external users.  Additionally, the web-based components of FORMVERSE (the FORMVERSE Web App for users and the FORMVERSE Web Admin for administrators), run on Microsoft IIS on the same Microsoft Windows server as the FORMVERSE server software (FORMVERSE Registry Server).

Am I reliant on FORMVERSE to create and modify my applications?

No. Customers can create and modify their own applications. As a part of the implementation process, FORMVERSE will provide training services to your staff to become proficient in the use of FORMVERSE.  However, FORMVERSE can also provide Professional Services to customers in the areas of Form Design, Workflow Design, Custom Training Services, and Database Integration Services, if desired.

What mobile devices are supported?

Since the use of FORMVERSE on a mobile device does not require a mobile app, any modern browser-based smartphone or tablet is supported. In addition, your staff that uses Outlook Web Access (OWA), Mac’s, or Linux devices are supported using the same mobile platform.

Can mobile and web access be disabled?

Yes.

How do users access reports?

Your staff will select the desired report through the FORMVERSE Web App, using a PC, Mac, mobile device, or from the menu within their Microsoft Outlook or Office 365 email.  Reports can be configured to allow real-time queries to be made on any form field and other metadata. There is no need for a user to log into yet another system, since reporting is done right within their existing email or the FORMVERSE Web App.  However, other reporting tools are supported (i.e. Microsoft Power BI).

Is FORMVERSE a Cloud-based solution?

FORMVERSE can be configured as a fully-hosted cloud solution as well as on-premise, hybrid, or running on the customer’s own cloud environment. The deployment of FORMVERSE is based on your preference.

Can an individual department or business unit at a company use FORMVERSE as a stand-alone application?

Yes. While customers use FORMVERSE to automate a wide variety of business processes across the enterprise, customers commonly choose to start with the automation of a single application for a single business unit or department.  These applications can include internal users only or can include both internal and external users if desired.

Can FORMVERSE be restricted to use by internal staff and only while connected to our organization’s network either directly or through a VPN?

Yes.  FORMVERSE applications can be configured to your organization’s specific requirements.

What if we need to include external users such as vendors, partners, customers, etc. in our applications?

External users are fully supported via the FORMVERSE Web App.

It doesn’t matter which venue is used (Outlook, Microsoft Office 365 email, FORMVERSE Web App on a PC or Mac), or which mobile device is used (smartphone or tablet), all data is stored in the same SQL Server database.  External users can participate at any step in a workflow.  This method allows for a great flexibility for a diverse and mobile workforce.

Please contact us today to arrange a live demonstration of how FORMVERSE can improve operational efficiency within your organization.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is FORMVERSE?

FORMVERSE is an software application that is installed at your site or hosted by FORMVERSE (through a Tier 1 Cloud provider) that leverages your existing investment in Microsoft Outlook, Exchange, Office 365, and SQL Server technologies. FORMVERSE enables your staff to access and complete any form right from their email, route those forms throughout the organization for action (such as approvals, denials, deferrals, recommendations, etc.), based on your specific business rules. Then capture all of that data which is then stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database that you control.

This data may then be integrated into and out of your other Enterprise applications such as ERP’s, CRM’s, HRIS, SharePoint, or really any database application.

Why do I need FORMVERSE?

Due to the cost of implementing forms and workflow solutions, the majority of business processes in organizations are performed using paper forms, fax, and electronic forms attached to emails. If a BPM solution is being used, employees have to switch applications to participate in processes (e.g., from email to an ERP/CRM module, or to a workflow application) which is inefficient, resulting in wasted time/resources/money, and poor responsiveness. FORMVERSE and our patented Active Structured Email™ technology replaces these inefficient methods by leveraging the familiar email environment. User adoption is high, since staff is familiar with Outlook or Office 365 email.

I already have a large enterprise application like an ERP, CRM, Microsoft SharePoint, and other applications that have “workflow” capabilities. What advantages are there to using FORMVERSE?

FORMVERSE customers tell us there are four key advantages of using FORMVERSE over or in conjunction with other systems:

Low Cost

While many Enterprise systems offer some level of workflow functionality, often implementation of workflow in these systems requires significant engineering and development efforts, which makes use of these systems for workflow cost-prohibitive. In addition, additional software module licensing may apply. With FORMVERSE, business users can create forms and workflows themselves without the need to any engineering involvement.

Ease of Use/High Adoption

Customers tell us that one of the strong advantages of using FORMVERSE is that since the interface to FORMVERSE is their existing Microsoft Outlook email, the user adoption rate is extremely high as compared to managing forms and workflow in other systems. In addition, the low rate of user satisfaction with workflow functions in other systems is very well documented. Please contact us so that we can share sources.

Time to Implement

Implementation of FORMVERSE can be completed in days, instead of the months or sometimes years required to implement legacy business process management tools. Using FORMVERSE, organizations can emulate the paper based forms and workflow already being used. FORMVERSE leverages the already-existing Microsoft Outlook and Exchange or Office 365 environments, and does not require extensive infrastructure as many other products do.

User Adoption is High since your staff already uses Outlook/365

Microsoft Email ties more of your staff together than any other single enterprise application.  Your users will access forms, complete these forms, have the forms routed, and take action on forms right from within the same email system they use every day.  This results is a very high adoption rate as compared to other Forms and Workflow solutions – which is often viewed as an afterthought in many IT projects resulting in failed IT projects.

How does FORMVERSE help me migrate from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange?

Lotus Notes has workflow functionality built into the product. Microsoft Outlook does not have that same kind of native capability. FORMVERSE provides the missing workflow capability to Outlook/365 making it much easier to recreate those Lotus Notes workflow applications in Outlook/365.

What kind of forms can I automate with FORMVERSE?

The types of forms and workflow that can be automated with FORMVERSE are limitless. Anything from simple administrative processes like office supply requests to multi-level, mission critical tasks such as it capital expenditures, to processes built around regulatory compliance. With FORMVERSE the degree of process complexity depends on the organizations imagination. Forms in any department may be automated.

How long does it take to implement FORMVERSE?

Implementation of FORMVERSE can be completed in days, instead of the months or sometimes years required to implement legacy business process management tools. Using FORMVERSE, organizations can emulate the paper based processes already being used. FORMVERSE leverages the already existing Microsoft Outlook and Exchange environments, and does not require extensive infrastructure as many other products do.

How is FORMVERSE priced?

FORMVERSE is offered as a subscription and is priced by the number of Workflow Templates needed, not the number of users. Forget about Client Access Licenses (CALS)!  With FORMVERSE you simply subscribe to your desired number of Workflow Templates (in packs of 5) and pay a monthly subscription fee regardless of the number of users!  Additionally, for customers desiring a fully hosted solution, you may also subscribe to FORMVERSE hosting services which includes all the licenses required to run the software on the backend.  Whether you have 100 or 100,000 users, the cost remains the same.  In addition to your Production Environment, you may also run non-Production Environments, such as QA, Development, or User Acceptance Testing. It’s up to you and is included with your subscription license!  You may then create new “Workflow Templates” yourself or have FORMVERSE staff create them for you.  Customers are not tied to FORMVERSE for creation of new Workflow Templates or changes to existing workflow templates.

What is Active Structured Email?

Active Structured Email™ is FORMVERSE’s patented technology which adds structured forms and workflow capabilities to Outlook/365, transforming corporate email from an informal, unstructured medium to a highly structured one. Using this technology, customers can easy capture data from within email-based forms into the FORMVERSE SQL Server database. Once there, that data can be integrated with your other Enterprise applications using the optional FORMVERSE PASSPORT software module.

How much IT support is required for FORMVERSE?

Once initial setup is complete, FORMVERSE empowers business managers to automate processes without requiring support from IT. Workflow Templates and forms are easily designed and published by business users for use within the Outlook application. Adoption is fast and easy, since no “new application” is introduced, and your staff already knows how to use email.

Can FORMVERSE integrate with my current enterprise applications?

Yes, FORMVERSE emails can be used as an effective way to securely collect data, which can then be extracted based on recipient defined processing rules and integrated with Enterprise applications and databases. Data collected through FORMVERSE email forms uses XML as a neutral data interchange format. The FORMVERSE processing engine, as defined by the business process rules, extracts the data contained in a FORMVERSE e-mail and applies the processing rules defined for that particular process; such as routing the email to the appropriate recipient(s), or inserting form data into a database.

What IT environments are supported by FORMVERSE, and what are the system requirements?

Please review the technical requirements here. In general, FORMVERSE is available as a on-premise, hybrid, or hosted solution.  For on-premise you will need Microsoft Outlook or Micsrosoft Office 365 email, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft .NET Framework, and Microsoft IIS. It is likely that you already have everything you need to run FORMVERSE.

How are the XML forms created and how are they used?

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) forms can be created using Microsoft InfoPath. Data collected through FORMVERSE email forms uses XML as a neutral data interchange format. The FORMVERSE processing engine, as defined by the business process rules, extracts the data contained in a FORMVERSE e-mail and applies the processing rules defined for that particular process; such as routing the email to the appropriate recipient(s), or inserting form data into a database.

Am I reliant on FORMVERSE to create and modify my Workflow Templates and forms?

No. Customers can create and modify their own Workflow Templates. As a part of the implementation, we can provide training services  to your staff to become proficient in the use of FORMVERSE. However, FORMVERSE can provide Professional Services to customers in the area of Form Design, Workflow Design, Custom Training Services, and Database Integration Services, if desired.

What mobile devices are supported?

Since the use of FORMVERSE on a mobile device does not require a mobile app, any browser-based smartphone or tablet is supported. In addition, your staff that uses Outlook Web Access (OWA), Mac’s, or Linux devices are supported using the same mobile platform.

Can mobile access be disabled?

Yes.

How can users get reporting for the forms they are participating in?

Your staff will select the desired report from the menu within their Microsoft Outlook or Office 365 email or through the FORMVERSE Web App. Reports can be custom-configured to allow queries to be made on any form field and other metadata. It’s even possible to allow data entry via the reporting function. There is no need for a user to log into yet another system, since reporting is done right within their existing Microsoft email or the FORMVERSE Web App.

Is FormVerse a Cloud-based solution?

FORMVERSE can be configured as an on-premise, hybrid, or as a hosted solutions, based on your requirements.

Can an individual at a company use FORMVERSE as a stand-alone application?

No, FORMVERSE is an Enterprise solution, but can be used by individual departments.

What if we need to include vendors, partners, customers, etc. in our forms?

External users are fully supported via the FORMVERSE Web App.  Regardless of whether users are internal or external and regardless of the venue used (Outlook, Microsoft Office 365 email, FORMVERSE Web App on a PC or Mac, or mobile device (smartphone or tablet), all data is stored in the same SQL Server database and the forms are routed to the next step in the workflow. This method allows for a greater flexibility for a diverse and mobile workforce.

Please contact us today to arrange a live demonstration of how FORMVERSE can improve operational efficiency within your organization.