by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 23 September 2013
Despite the variety of applications within the Google Apps ecosystem, one of the commonly required functionality is the ability to create workflows.
This week, let's take a look at KISSFLOW an application that does just that. In this KiSSFLOW review, we will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
There is always some amount of confusion when it comes to products under the "Workflow" category. If you are looking for simple task management, or ad-hoc ways of assigning work to small group of people then KiSSFLOW is probably not the right tool for you. However, if you are looking to fix the chaos of cumbersome business processes in your organization and turn them into streamlined workflows then you hit the right solution . KiSSFLOW is ideal for automating all the internal business processes and approval requests that are spread across Finance, Administration, Purchase and Human resources departments.
One of the ways by which KiSSFLOW differentiates itself from its competitors is by providing deep integration with the apps in the Google Apps Suite. Let me start out with user provisioning. Users in your Google Apps Domain are automatically considered for user provisioning in KiSSFLOW. This saves tons of redundant work for Google Apps Admins and completely eliminates the root cause of inconsistencies.
Next, groups created in Google Apps domain is used as roles in KiSSFLOW. This allows admins to manage user subscriptions to roles right out of their Google Apps Admin console. By this time you would have guessed that KiSSFLOW uses Google's Open ID and OAuth for Authentication and Access control - of course yes! KiSSFLOW also provides a "Single Sign On" experience.
This means that there is neither a need to remember yet another set of username/password, nor is there a need to re-authenticate, when they are already logged into their Google Apps account.
One of the striking theme across different modules of KiSSFLOW is its simplicity. It is a solution for organizations that are looking to empower their business users to automate their processes on a Self Service Basis. According to Dinesh Varadharajan, Director of Engineering at the company, "customers have abandoned competing products and switched to KiSSFLOW because of its simplicity". He points to KiSSFLOW's #1 rating in the Google Apps Marketplace and excelent reviews and ratings (by verified users) as proof of its popularity.
KiSSFLOW is commonly used to automate the business process in Finance, Administration, Procurement and Human Resources departments.
Here are some example processes that have been automated using KiSSFLOW: Employee, On-boarding, Vacation Requests, Loan Request, Travel Request, Travel Claim & Reimbursements, Purchase Requisition, Purchase Order, Vendor Registration, New Employee System Access & Provisioning, Budget Approval, Capex Approval, Issue Tracking, Change Request Approval, Sales Order, Sales Invoice, Sales Receipts. This is a sample of the long tail of business processes automated using KiSSFLOW.
Building your workflows in KiSSFLOW is simple and consists of five basic steps. First name your workflow, then design your form. The form supports various UI widgets like text, date, sections, drop down choices, tables and more. You can also define mandatory and optional fields and approvals for the process.
The application already comes equipped with template processes for human resources and finance department. These templates have workflows that are commonly created using KiSSFLOW giving the new user a head start.
KiSSFLOW has a sophisticated security and access control capability that enables fine grained permissions as the form progresses through the defined workflow steps. As part of the workflow, you can also attach documents from your Google Docs that can be routed through the workflow steps.
The biggest plus is that you can leverage the power of Google and KiSSFLOW to power your business applications. I also liked the simplicity and ease-of-use associated with creating workflows in KiSSFLOW. Quite simply, you can configure awesome applications for your business within 15 minutes. The application's designers have thoughtfully included details such as security permissions and workflow customizations to help you design customized processes using the application.
However, there are areas for improvement. Using Google as a default application for your needs confines your options to integrate with other on-premise solutions. In addition, the user interface, although simple and user-friendly, does seem a little intimidating when performing advanced customizations. Expanding the list of integrated applications helps you expand your list of associations.
The best things in life are free. KiSSFLOW has a free version as well as two premium tiered versions. The free version is ideal for small businesses while the two premium tiered versions are perfect for mid-market and enterprise companies. The mid-market version has fixed pricing that is based on number of users while the enterprise version has variable pricing based on number of users.
This is definitely a solution worth looking at. Try the free version (which, incidentally, the company states is perfect for startups and small businesses) and upgrade to the premium version for advanced features like data export and sophisticated analytical reporting.