The benefits of automating business process.
An article on how SharePoint and Nintex forms can help transform business processes.
Many organisations have looked at SharePoint as a platform for improving collaboration and communications. This generally involves document management and publishing portals, otherwise referred to as Intranets. Over the last four years, one area that has started to grow on this platform, is the automation of business process.
So, what do we mean when we refer to automation of business process? Well how often have you been asked to print out a form, fill it in then get someone to sign this for authorisation. This can be anything from arranging some facilities or expense forms through to supply chain orders. In some of the worst-case scenarios I have witnessed, it can take hours out of the working week just by getting someone to sign a piece of paper.
Or looking at this from one regularly seen situation, do you want to be paying your high earners to print a form, attach some receipts and then to walk around the office trying to find someone with authority to sign off the form?
This is where the benefits of automating business process can start to help.
How can SharePoint help?
You don’t have to be using SharePoint now to support your business process but it can help to make the implementation a lot easier. So, you have moved to Office 365 or have an implementation of SharePoint being used by your organisation and want to consider how to use this to help make operations more efficient.
What are your options?
With SharePoint, you can build up a simple approval process with an easy interface to input the information, and for some organisations starting out this is enough to get them going on their roadmap to automating business processes.
But after a while questions get asked as standard forms become a limiting factor in the process. Questions such as:
• How do we change this?
• What extra features are available?
• What are the advantages if we do make changes?
• How do we know the changes have been made?
Other options now include an event triggered solution like Microsoft Flow working with Microsoft PowerApps but this is still in its infancy and doesn’t integrate well when we have a user base comfortable with working in SharePoint. No doubt over the coming years we will see improvements but as a user-friendly tool for various parts of the organisation, to build a process it still has some way to go.
So what are the alternatives?
The most common alternative that organisations are now considering is a third-party tool that works with SharePoint to automate that process. This does involve additional expense, either through a subscription pricing model or up-front cost with annual support. However, offset that to the savings these processes can make either invoicing your customers more quickly or allow your staff more time focus on their core role and this cost can rapidly become an investment.
By far the most accomplished tool available is Nintex Forms and Workflow which comes as an option either with your SharePoint 2013/16 environment or it’s available in SharePoint Online as a cloud hosted offering.
Nintex was originally developed by an Australian software provider who saw that there was a gap in the market for a user-friendly tool to help with electronics forms and automated workflows in SharePoint. Over the years this has grown to offering many more services but for organisations that have already adopted the software, Nintex Forms and Workflow is a valuable, key business application.
In fact, it has been reported that one global organisation is running 122,000 Nintex Workflows in their business and these won’t have all been produced by technical staff. Nintex is a tool which allows your business users to build their own automated business process or for more complex requirements provide a platform which reduces the development time for your technical team to implement a solution.
Nintex has grown in recent years and offers far more now than automating your business process, but if you’re looking to get started with improving process in your organisation then Nintex working with SharePoint can offer a compelling combination.
Free offer from Silversands.
Silversands has extensive experience in the SharePoint platform and the application of Nintex forms. We have already helped many business take advantage of this important business process and have a close partnership with Nintex.
If you would like advice or help in this is an area or you would like more information on Silversands and the adoption of Nintex, please fill in the attached form and we can book a free personal Skype session to take you through your business issues and make suggestions to help you adopt this powerful combination of applications.