Thank you to everyone who read my first blog post about the use of capture technology to reduce errors, lower the cost of processing documents, and improve the customer experience. In this installment, I will discuss workflows and process automation (powered by Nintex).
I believe that the widespread use workflows is a critical component to a company’s digital transformation. Automating manual processes continues to become more critical to a company’s ability to remain competitive. Like capture technology, the use of workflows and process automation will reduce errors, provide a better customer experience, allow companies to scale, and improve employee engagement. Despite years of effort, the majority of processes (as many as 68%) in business remain unautomated.
Many enterprise content management systems and business process management systems have built-in workflow capabilities and many organizations use those workflows to assist with the automation of some processes. While these processes work very well for what they are intended, they can be very expensive, time consuming to implement, and often require heavy coding and significant IT support. Often, these workflow tools are not agile. Workflow capabilities within these systems can be limited and do not always work with processes that fall outside of the system or when collaboration is required with customers, vendors, or partners outside the company. Many solutions are either too hard to implement, do not provide total visibility, or, if they are easy to implement, they only offer simple processes. Companies serious about digital transformation need robust tools that have a low cost of ownership, can be easily deployed at the line-of-business and end-user level, and are able to connect to company wide tools as well as external collaborators. Zia Consulting has partnered with Nintex to provide tools that meet all of the above mentioned criteria as we help companies with their digital transformation strategy.
I have worked at companies that leveraged workflows in some capacity or another, but I find myself asking, “Why doesn’t every company know more about the capabilities of Nintex and why don’t they take a very purposeful approach to finding ways to deploy workflows across their organization?” I know companies would benefit by creating an innovation team focused on discovering new process automation use cases—as well as evangelizing the tool to employees for use in their repetitive, day-to-day tasks. Thirty percent of Fortune 500 companies have standardized on Nintex automating thousands of processes. Fortunately, Nintex is modeled in a way to support organizations of any size and budget.
The Nintex use cases for end-user or team productivity are limitless. I want to talk on a high level about the capabilities and will do my best to sprinkle in use cases I have experienced or thought about. Coming from a telecom service provider background, my mind is reeling with the possible scenarios where Nintex could be deployed to improve cumbersome processes and help companies become more competitive.
Before I put my own spin on how Nintex could impact a company, I think it would be helpful to quickly touch on some of the capabilities as often cited by Nintex:
- Ability to map thousands of business processes to drive accountability and process improvement
- Utilize digital forms, mobile apps, workflows, DocGen™, and connectors to quickly automate processes across teams and systems
- The ability to leverage Nintex Hawkeye process intelligence and third-party artificial intelligence services to monitor, analyze, and enhance business processes
- Easily manage, quickly automate, and dynamically optimize processes across all departments, users, and use cases
- Flexible drag and drop designer does not require coding and is easy to test and change
- Extremely low TCO
- Highest overall satisfaction – Nintex has an industry-leading NPS of 70%. For those that follow NPS you will know that this is incredible and on par with companies like Apple, Amazon, and Nordstrom
Let’s move on to talk about why it works. First, the tool has to be easy to use. Employees that own or work with processes need to be able to easily create and change automation on the fly. I love the Nintex drag and drop tool for creating automation which can easily be done at the analyst or end-user level.
Second, because the flow of automation is so easy to change, some level of automation can be realized quickly with a basic deployment and improved over time with continued additions. Nintex call this, “simple to sophisticated process management and automation.”
Next, this tool connects to a wide variety of systems, repositories, and third-party applications to provide company-wide capabilities at a very sophisticated level when desired. External collaboration to email addresses allows for unlimited use cases like employee recruitment/onboarding, accounts receivable/invoice processing, contract management, and customer story gathering, to name a few.
Finally, system specific workflows usually only offer intelligence into what is happening within the system. With Nintex, you have a tool that allows visibility into every step of the process and provides companies with a unique opportunity to quickly realize where and why they are underperforming.
In thinking about my time running sales organizations at F500 data, voice, and cloud providers, I can quickly come up with hundreds of use cases that would have improved our sales processes and customer/partner experience while helping keep our sales team engaged. One example would be the contracting and pricing approval process. With Nintex, it would be very easy to build a simple workflow to automate and track the contract exception process all the way through to customer signature. A sales member or customer requesting changes could have the request automatically routed through the chain of approval with gates determining routing based on approval authority until the changes were rejected or approved. Once final approval was completed, the contract could be routed to the customer for electronic or wet signature. The completed contract could then returned setting off a completely new workflow that would include notifications to order entry, commissioning, sales management, etc. Let’s not forget about the last blog and the ability to use capture technology to validate and extract all critical data from the service order and then automatically feeding it into provisioning and commissioning systems. Using this process automation will significantly reduce order briefcase time and eliminate an order being overlooked at one step of the process. The analytics tool will identify bottlenecks and the need for more automation or additional resources
Another use case would be the partner on-boarding process. Ensuring that a partner is approved, the contract is completed correctly, they are loaded into the commissioning system, training is complete, they are included in marketing notification, and that they were properly welcomed could all be automated. This would provide a consistent and professional experience while freeing up channel management to drive sales and more partner acquisition.
The contract cancellation process could be automated to notify sales, partners, and commissioning teams of the cancellation. Many service providers pay one-time spiffs to partners for new customer sales. These spiff payments often fall outside the normal commissioning system, and often companies do not have a great process for recovering these payments when a contract is changed or cancelled. Many times, the contract is cancelled and partner residual payments continue for a period of time and result in a significant chargeback to the partner. With Nintex, a workflow could be set up to immediately notify all the relevant parties, stop the commissions, and verify if a spiff was paid that needs to be recovered.
In the beginning of the blog I talked about all the benefits of automation. Most people get how the deployment of Nintex would result in error reduction, scalability, and improved customer experience and why this is a good thing. Employee engagement is something that is less thought of and often overlooked. I believe that companies must find a way to keep the emerging workforce engaged in order to stay ahead of their competition and satisfy their customers. Would you be surprised to learn that only 34% of US employees are considered engaged? Engaged means those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace. Even more concerning is that 16.5% of employees are actively disengaged, meaning they are miserable at work. The remaining 53% that are not considered engaged are not cognitively or emotionally connected to their work. I was shocked to learn that 34% engagement was an all time high in 2016 according to Gallup.
Think about what a competitive advantage there will be for companies that are able to break these engagement trends. I believe providing tools that allow end users to automate their processes in a way that works for them will certainly improve employee engagement. Using workflow and process automation within teams, across departments, and with external collaborators will help employees focus on what they consider to be high-value activity. Most everyone has felt the frustration of loss of productivity due to broken processes or reliance on manual processes with strained resources outside their control. A tool that is simple for an end user but complex enough for sophisticated company processes will help users offload and automate some of these tasks while providing the company with visibility and the ability to quickly make changes to keep employees engaged at the highest level. If you are a technology decision maker or line of business owner, please read the Gallup article referenced above. It goes on to say that engaged employees have fewer accidents, higher productivity, less turnover, and lead to about 21% higher profitability.
With Nintex, any business user has the ability to visualize and map out processes and, after they are done, they can be shared across the enterprise. The analytics tool will identify bottlenecks and which parts of the process are still highly manual. The repetitive task can be automated without writing a single line of code. I have mentioned a couple of times in this blog that the use cases are limitless. Nintex is robust enough that sometimes you will want to do more with the platform. Nintex has many out-of-the-box extensions, but for companies that want to extend to systems not OOB, Zia Consulting can help orchestrate those scenarios across the organization to almost any system. The system is designed for an end user to automate a three- to five- step personal productivity flow quickly while allowing for deep application and system integration. When compared to coding, Nintex is ten times faster, and to any other third- party platform, Nintex is more than five times faster.
I encourage you to contact us for a demonstration and overview of this powerful tool. Once you see how easy it is to own and operate, you will quickly realize the ROI.
I hope that you have found this blog informative. If you are an executive responsible for data management at your company, or a key stakeholder for a line of business that could benefit from the technology outlined in my blogs, please do not hesitate to contact me with feedback or questions.