Nintex forms and workflows for SharePoint provide streamlined business processes that have the capability to great reduce ineffective methodologies. We demonstrate with three sweet spot business scenarios.

The Nintex offering is a comprehensive set of products that covers the vast majority of workflow, business process management and forms-related scenarios for SharePoint. But, as is the case with any significant technology, the key question is “Would this be valuable to my organization?” 

This post will dive into a few real business scenarios that truly warrant a Nintex deployment. These scenarios are broad enough that you should be able to determine if there is a direct or indirect relation to your organization. 

First off, let’s briefly cover the core Nintex offering. There are three major areas:

  • Nintex Workflow
    • Flagship workflow product, available for SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013 and Office 365
    • Powerful workflow designer with an excellent user experience
    • Very strong support for workflow templates and reuse
    • Very good lifecycle support – from development to testing to production as well as workflow versioning
    • Many out-of-the-box connectivity and integration options
    • Very rich reporting/analytics
  • Nintex Forms
    • Comprehensive form building, deployment and runtime available for SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365
    • Powerful forms designer
    • Very rich and seamless integration with Nintex Workflow
    • Strong integration with SharePoint
    • Fully supports mobile forms
    • Anonymous and authenticated access
  • Nintex Live
    • Web service gateway to provide extranet, cloud service functionality to workflow and forms
    • Provides abstraction away from the complexities and risk associated with integrating with cloud services from within workflows
    • Hosted on MS Azure

Keeping those points in mind, let’s dive into the key business scenarios.

Project/Case initiation and closure

In many medium to large size organizations, projects or cases play a major role in the day-to-day business. This is true in everything from legal firm cases to construction projects, from IT consulting projects to special event management and everything in between. Nintex products can be used to build a project/case management around SharePoint or supplement an existing project/case management application. Initiation and closure of these more complex projects/cases typically involves many aspects:

  • Comprehensive forms and workflow logic to collect information and determine how to initiate/close the project/case
  • The process often requires multiple levels of approval and many notifications
  • It requires many system integrations (e.g. adding project Id to time tracking system, adding project info to ERP system, etc.)
  • It needs process visibility and traceability to ensure nothing “slips between the cracks”
  • The process requires oversight and governance to ensure any changes are in-line with company policy and/or legislation

Take the special event management suggestion for example: the roll out for a large-scale event like a book tour or a charity ball will require various levels of approval for everything from social media engagement to copywriting and printing. Nintex allows the project lead to strategize, maintain and govern all of the related decisions in a timely and organized manner, and their integrations with a number of web services and social media platforms makes it easy as well. The table below highlights those key aspects along with the corresponding Nintex capabilities: 

Scenario aspects  Nintex capabilities
Comprehensive forms and workflow logic to collect information and
determine how to initiate/close the project/case 

• Powerful forms designer for creating and deploying complex forms with many controls and dependencies between controls (e.g. choosing country limits state/province list, ability to dynamically show/hide parts of the form)
• Powerful workflow actions to determine path of project/case initiation/closure
• Rich integrations to pull form data from other systems (e.g. pull customer lists from ERP/CRM to show in form) 

Requires multiple levels of approval and many notifications 

• Powerful workflow actions for sending/managing approvals and necessary notifications through email or whatever means necessary
• Rich and secure mobile support for providing forms and sending approval requests to the appropriate users even when they are mobile

Requires many system integrations

• Out-of-the-box and/or partner integrations for many key systems: SAP, MS SharePoint, MS CRM, MS Exchange, MS BizTalk, MS Lync, Facebook, Yammer, etc.
• General web service (SOAP and REST) capabilities for connecting to other systems or custom services 
• Powerful workflow actions to push data and perform actions in other systems (e.g. add project/case ID to ERP and time tracking system, add project metadata and create project workspace within SharePoint) 

Needs process visibility and traceability

• Comprehensive reporting and analytics around workflow processes and actions can provide current and historic analysis
• Provides ability to measure effectiveness, uncover issues, etc. 

Process requires oversight and governance

• Capabilities to manage deployment of new workflow processes (i.e. approval of the workflow itself before deploying to production)
• Provides versioning on workflows as well as built-in documentation functionality 

Problem reporting – asset management

Many medium to large sized organizations have a significant need for managing assets and reporting problems associated with those assets.  This is particularly true in industries like utilities, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture. Nintex products can be used to implement an asset management application within SharePoint, or supplement abilities for other asset management applications. Problem reporting can involve many aspects:

  • Rich forms and workflow capabilities to capture all the necessary information for reporting problems (e.g. lookups of asset lists, uploading photos from mobile devices, attaching to notification workflows, etc.)
  • Comprehensive notification abilities to expedite action in high-severity situations
  • Integration with other systems for lookup of form data, writing problem data, adding requests to service management applications, etc.
  • Rich reporting and analytics to measure responsiveness and provide additional visibility into high severity problems

For example: an industrial sized potato farm requires any number of agricultural machines to churn out our favourite root vegetable. These machines are considered "assets" and will eventually require maintenance, repair and replacement. By incorporating a Nintex workflow into the way you manage those assets, you can efficiently track inventory and monitor issues. The table below highlights those key aspects along with the corresponding Nintex capabilities: [table id=3 /]

Travel/expense request

At some level, all medium to large sized organizations must properly manage travel and expense requests. Nintex products can add significant value to this business activity, both in situations where the request process is completely managed within SharePoint, and also where SharePoint/Nintex are used to supplement the process within other systems. Travel/expense request processes typically involves many aspects:

  • Comprehensive forms and workflow logic to collect expense information and determine how to route the request
  • Approval of requests often requires multiple levels of approval and many notifications
  • System integrations are usually required for cost centre lookups, billing codes, organization structure, etc.
  • It needs process visibility and traceability to ensure requests get the necessary response based on request urgency
  • The process requires oversight and governance to ensure any changes are in-line with company policy and/or legislation

In keeping with the focus on corporate transparency in today's business world, expense claims tracked through Nintex can ensure proper channels are followed and will increase the efficiency through which claims can be made and approved, ultimately resulting in faster turn around times. As an added bonus, its easy to use interface encourages employees at all levels of the company, regardless of their experience with technology solutions, to adopt the methodology. [table id=4 /] Does your organization fall into any or all of these three business scenarios? Are they streamlined in any way? Let us know in the comments.

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