We talked to Juan J Moreno of Flokzu Cloud BPM on how to unlock the future with a Cloud BPM and Cloud Workflow tool and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Juan J Moreno: We are having a pretty good time, as far as possible. Uruguay was very effective in stopping the contagion curve in the first ten months of the pandemic. We are working 100 percent remotely, and the children are going to school in shifts.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Flokzu Cloud BPM.
Juan J Moreno: I come from the technical track. I am a Computer Engineer with a Ph.D. in Software Engineering. At that time, my focus was on academic research, and professional work was always related to processes, automation, and management. Our first startup developed Uruguay’s first workflow product, called DocFlow, running over Lotus Domino Notes, back in 2003. Beautiful and challenging times! Then I turned to the Business track, completed an MBA, and dedicated myself entirely to entrepreneurship. In 2015, with a substantial customer base using our on-premise, corporate-oriented BPM Suite named INTEGRADOC, we decided to launch a new spinoff. We aimed to democratize these technologies and reach all companies worldwide that couldn’t afford corporate BPM Suites.
Thus, Flokzu Cloud BPM was born. In 2016 we launched the product to the market, with zero subscribers. Currently, we have more than 11,000 subscribed organizations in 6 continents and from more than 120 countries. Nowadays, Flokzu ranking is one of the top 3 no-code / low-code, cloud BPM Suites.
How does Flokzu Cloud BPM innovate?
Juan J Moreno: Flokzu allows to define processes and workflows graphically, and without programming or complex configurations, put them to work in the organization. It is called a cloud low-code / no-code BPM, and only a few years ago, it was unimaginable. It took organizations months to formalize and automate their processes and workflows. Flokzu allows this in hours/days instead of weeks/months.
To create and maintain a world-class product in this category, we need to innovate continuously. We have defined (and automated with Flokzu, of course) a formal process not to lose any idea, no matter from where it comes. The source of innovative ideas in a world-class product is a crucial part of its success. Evaluating is done, but only a few undergo incorporation into the main product.
Some tools used in the innovation process are one-on-one meetings with clients and Flokzu consultants. We also study the academic publications of the discipline and participate in congresses and specific lines of research. The internal engineering area also plays a crucial role in incorporating world trends and technologies into the product.
Wherever the idea comes from, it goes through a formal evaluation process. Its impact on the customer base, its alignment with the spirit of the product, and the competitive differential it provides, among several other aspects, are reviewed.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Juan J Moreno: The first months had a relevant, adverse impact, as some clients went bankrupt, and others reduced their operations significantly. As of June, we noticed a constant reactivation, and there were two effects.
First, everybody began to talk about hyper-automation, that is, automating everything possible. Many new customers appeared in this line, who realized that managing their workflows with spreadsheets, emails, and even papers was directly impossible in times of pandemic and teleworking. In these cases, a digital process in Flokzu allowed the people’s asynchronous work, vital to continuing the operation.
Second, many clients who already used Flokzu for some processes incorporated new ones. As they already knew the tool and the speed with which new techniques added could be used, they took advantage to digitize a much larger part of their operations.
We saw a significant advance in formalization and digitalization of administrative and production support processes. HR processes are a great example, where forms sent over the email were eliminated and implemented in Flokzu with all the subsequent workflow. We also saw spectacular manufacturing applications in processes such as designing new products or providing customized quotes for large clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Juan J Moreno: To be honest, our software industry was not the worst affected by the pandemic. We should be thankful for that. What we did do was support organizations that were in more complex situations. We released our technology for free to anyone who needed it to cope with the pandemic.
As an example, the city government of Quito, Ecuador, used Flokzu to register and provide the necessary infrastructure for over 5,000 low-income children to attend virtual classes (post here). The lessons learned were very humane. Standing shoulder to shoulder in these challenging times generates and strengthens long-term relationships based on mutual trust.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Flokzu Cloud BPM in the future?
Juan J Moreno: Despite not being one of the most affected activity sectors, anxiety and stress during the pandemic has been very high.
In the beginning, there was minimal certainty about how the company, and the world in general, would evolve. It was vital to have a team that continued to work with a very high level of professionalism at that time. We implemented some new ideas that worked very well, such as a 30-second video that each member sent to their team (between 5 and 8 people) summarizing what they did that day and what challenges remained for tomorrow. It allowed us to maintain the links and quickly unlock the problems. Also, the team dailies and weeklies were kept virtual. The HR team also took care of having personal meetings with each person to help in every way possible.
I focused my energy on the product, such as improving internal software production processes and bringing synergy to the teams. Outside working hours, exercising at home, with the fixed bike and videos of teachers proposing routines through Whatsapp or YouTube (thanks a lot!)
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Juan J Moreno: Our main competitors are cloud-based BPM and Workflow Suites. Some of these tools, which are very good indeed, are too simple for real organizations whose processes are sometimes complicated. In these cases, Flokzu balances its simplicity and user-friendly interface with a mighty and flexible process execution engine based on standard BPMN notation. The latter is vital, given that BPMN is the “universal language for process modeling”.
There are also more traditional tools, powerful and flexible but have a high learning curve. In these cases, customers require specialized IT teams, which increases costs and application time-to-market. In these scenarios, Flokzu allows showing “quick-wins” that help to win sponsors within the organization. This way, digital transformation is accelerated but driven by the business users themselves (and not from IT)
Your final thoughts?
Juan J Moreno: There is a universal agreement that the post-Covid era will not be the same as the pre-covid era. The new normality is here to stay. The talents of the organizations will continue to work (some days?) remotely. Organizations will have to provide them with the context to do their work asynchronously. Performance measuring is by objective indicators (KPIs) and not by “office hours”. Technology professionals are and will be increasingly scarce, so business users need autonomy to improve their operational processes.
All these elements (and several more) are fundamental pillars of the Business Process Management (BPM) discipline in general and Cloud BPM products. My vision is that these technologies will continue to grow in their importance for organizations’ competitiveness and that those that do not embrace them in all dimensions will have trouble surviving.
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