Over the past four years I’ve been asked many times “Why Nintex?”. After all, there are several ISV’s in the SharePoint workflow space. Additionally, you have several Microsoft solutions for creating SharePoint workflows like out of the box workflows, Designer Workflows and Visual Studio. So I thought I would give you my insights as to why I love Nintex Workflow and the value Nintex Workflow brings to the table.
To begin I would like to tell you a little bit about how I found Nintex:
One upon a time, in a far distant land, I managed Microsoft development projects, including those done on the SharePoint platform. I had a customer who was looking for a workflow solution that would empower their end users and developers. As you may be doing now, I asked for demos from all the major players in the SharePoint workflow space as well as examining the Microsoft stack of products like SharePoint out of the box workflow, Designer Workflows & Visual Studio. In the end, I chose Nintex because the product met all of my clients’ objectives while being relatively cost effective. I returned my results to my client, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
-The End… NOT!
The SharePoint workflow space is hyper competitive, with some amazing ISV solutions by very reputable companies. I consider all these vendors to be excellent companies with excellent products. That being said, I’m still a Nintex guy. Now Nintex Workflow isn’t perfect, after all, we all have our flaws. However, I feel Nintex is by far the best solution for SharePoint workflow that I have found to date.
For those of you who don’t know much about myself or my background let me give you a brief overview. I’m not a programmer, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I faked my way through 6 months of programming many years ago with the help of the Internet and some excellent books. I have a programmers mind, however cannot speak syntax. I’m very business centric and very logical. I have been working with and instructing on SharePoint since 2001. I’ve found a niche as a Nintex consultant, business process expert, and Nintex instructor. So not only do I work with Nintex on a daily basis on consulting projects, but I also teach others how to use this product. That’s pretty much it… oh, and I love to kayak!
With my background in mind, this is why I love Nintex Workflow:
Power to the People- Nintex provides a very easy-to-use no code solution for business users, analysts and programmers to create workflows. Simply drag and drop and configure. As an instructor, I can quickly ramp up students with little to no Nintex/SharePoint experience to build basic linear workflows in two hours or less. This includes using dynamic workflow data for messaging as well as basic business logic like conditional statements.
Workflow Designer in SharePoint- The Nintex Workflow designer works directly in SharePoint without the need to install client software to build workflows. This is a huge win as it eliminates client software as well as the IT control and governance required to deploy this software. So this is a big win for everyone from end users to IT.
Programmers Love it! No joke, how many programmers like a no-code solution? No-code solution and developer is like oil and water. However, Nintex provides a level of complexity and sophistication that developers eat up. When I first started selling Nintex I thought my purchases would be driven by IT management, but I was very wrong. Over the past 4 years I would say that 60% of my purchases are driven by developers! Developers love this product and the time it saves them. You can create workflows that typically would need to be developed in Visual Studio in Nintex in a fraction of the time. And let’s face it, if we can knock out a workflow in 2 hours v. 2 days… how many more YouTube videos could we be watching! Yeah, it’s that great!
Leverages SharePoint Workflow- SharePoint has a pretty well equipped workflow engine. Sure, it has its quirks, but it is rather reliable and it’s already there, so why not use it. Nintex leverages the SharePoint workflow engine as well as many other SharePoint objects like Lists and Libraries. This means that by installing Nintex you really don’t need to add any more resources to your farm than what you would to run say Designer workflows.
Site Workflows- I must say, I love site workflows! I use site workflows like timer jobs to do many tasks like sending notifications and data manipulation. Nintex provides a very easy way to create, manage, and schedule site workflows. If you are looking to build complex business processes you will undoubtedly need to create these types of workflows to manage items and tasks that need to happen on a regular basis.
User Defined Actions- Known in the Nintex world as UDA’s, User Defined Actions provide a scalable method to deploy reusable business logic across your workflows. They provide a single location for maintenance and can be managed at the site, site collection and farm level. The best part of UDA’s is that you can have your developers create some complex logic such as SQL queries and web services requests to integrate with external systems or line of business applications. From a workflow designer perspective you are presented with a single workflow action with simple input and output parameters to set. That’s it! Add to the fact that you can centrally manage the deployment of UDA’s and you have an amazing tool to take your workflows to the next level.
Constants- Nintex provides the ability to create constants and manage them at the site, site collection and farm level. Constants can be used in workflows much like variables with the exception that they are not variable… they are in fact constant lol. You can create constants for stored credentials, secure strings, as well as text/number values. This functionality can be very helpful and I’m always discovering new and creative ways to leverage constants in my workflow designs.
Building Solutions- As I stated earlier, I am not a programmer. Without a programming skill set it’s very difficult to create business solutions/business logic to create solutions on SharePoint. Of course you can create lists and libraries, views and general out of the box solutions, but what about business logic? Sure you could try to muster something up in Designer, but that takes time and a level of patience I no longer possess. Nintex provides the ability for me to create complex business logic that rivals a code solution ... without coding. I can Proof of Concept (POC) solutions very rapidly for clients… sometimes in an hour or less. Nintex is an empowerment tool, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Nintex ROI- Nintex is one of those types of products that offers a very aggressive return on investment (ROI). I have seen a single workflow return full ROI in as little as a few months. By streamlining processes, eliminating bottlenecks and increasing efficiency you can drastically reduce costs as well as liabilities. Additionally, solutions can be developed and deployed for a fraction of the cost of building traditional SharePoint workflows or custom developed software. An investment in Nintex is a no-brainer!
I could probably go forever, but I think this provides a pretty nice overview as to why I love Nintex Workflow. For those of you looking at Nintex I hope this has helped. If you have any questions please drop us an email or call 614-737-3743.