Workflow Ninjas: A Conversation With Nintex’s Ryan Duguid

Whether they need to share, store and collaborate on documents, or manage projects, customer accounts, billing, contracts, and so on, many businesses rely on platforms like Box, SharePoint and Salesforce as a part of their everyday operations. For many of those businesses, the platforms have evolved from “useful tool that helped us grow our business” to “critical business system that we can’t live without.”

Over the years, these platforms have introduced workflow automation technology so their customers can further optimize their business processes. But according to Ryan Duguid, Nintex’s senior vice president of technology strategy, workflow automation capabilities found in such platforms don’t go far enough.

Nintex’s Ryan Duguid at Xchange 18
Nintex’s Ryan Duguid at Xchange 18

“I was always conscious that the technology was never going to be enough,” said Duguid. He said that while such platforms might be able to handle basic document writing approval, collect feedback and some signatory-type processes, there’s a lot more to workflow than that. “We do workflow for real. When you bring the forms technology to bear, the mobile technology to bear, the analytics to bear, the document generation, it’s a whole other game,” he said.

Breaking down Nintex

The Nintex Platform enables businesses to design intelligent, conditional workflows in an intuitive drag-and-drop environment, rather than with chunks of code. The solution integrates with Box, Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint (on-premise) natively, and provides a wide range of feature-rich connectors for DocuSign, Adobe Sign, SeviceMax FSM, Dropbox, Microsoft Dynamics, Twilio and Slack, and can connect with special-purpose or custom applications using Nintex’s Xtensions SDK.

Nintex offers a good deal of scalability, allowing customers to purchase whichever additional functionality they need up front or as business needs change. For example, the Nintex Hawkeye module enables businesses to monitor and analyze the efficacy of their automated business processes using dashboards — either pre-built dashboards users deigned. These help businesses filter and visualize specific process data that can be used to analyze how they are impacting the business so adjustments can be made accordingly.

Businesses can leverage Nintex’s DocGen functionality to automatically create documents. Administrators can tailor business processes that automatically change as they progress through a sales cycle, trigger approval routing, schedule tasks and more, while users can quickly draw up sales quotes, order forms, invoices, contracts, account summaries, service documents, statements of work, SOP documents, insurance applications and so on.

There is also a forms module that enables businesses to design dynamic forms with business rules and advanced logic baked in, as well as the business’s branding, logos and color scheme. In turn, businesses can automatically capture, standardize and integrate pertinent business information into workflows using simple forms.

The Nintex App Studio enables businesses to design customized applications for their mobile workforce to help them stay productive no matter where they are. Apps can be built to handle a single process across the entire organization (like an application that enables employees to request PTO) or something that a single department would use (like an accident report submission application for your warehouse staff), and can be built to run on Android, iOS or Windows Phone. And since apps are built in a drag-and-drop environment and can be updated and deployed via email, businesses can design and deploy apps in a matter of hours rather than weeks.

Duguid says that Nintex has found a sweet spot helping people understand that they can achieve more than they could if they were trying to write custom code, with a workflow design paradigm that is simplified to a point where the people who actually understand the business processes, and not the IT department, are designing the workflows.

Ultimately, the solution can integrate with virtually any existing business application, from a business’s legacy systems to their most recent SaaS deployments, so they can automate their processes from end to end. And with optional modules that integrate with their workflow automation solutions, businesses can add more functionality as the business grows and needs change. One thing we are pretty certain of — needs will continue to change, and it appears Nintex is ready to help.

Patricia Ames
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is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.