The Value of Connecting Office 365 Forms to External Apps and Data

Office 365 forms are a valuable tool for helping employees use Office 365 to its fullest. They let staff fill in essential information which can be recorded in SharePoint Online – anything from vacation requests to metadata input to employee satisfaction surveys.

However, Office 365 forms require extensive development if they are to do anything but the most basic tasks, making them expensive and inefficient to build. What’s more, native Office 365 forms only interact with other tools within Office 365, and in a world where most enterprises use a range of cloud-based apps, Office 365 forms offer limited functionality.

There has been a huge growth in enterprise apps in recent years which are designed to fit around the specific needs of your employees.

Very often, these tools are only used by one department, and getting business information into these tools from across the company can be critical. It doesn’t make sense to give all your employees user names and passwords to applications in which they only need to upload information occasionally.

So, if staff could use Office 365 forms to send information to those tools, that would make the process of storing information in the right places much more efficient.

The only snag here? Standard Office 365 forms do not offer easy connections between Office 365 and external products. And this is where Nintex can help.

By using Nintex for Office 365 and Nintex Workflow Cloud, which provides connectors with many third party tools, you can radically extend your forms and the workflows that support them.

Connecting Office 365 Forms with External Apps

By connecting Office 365 with external apps leveraging Nintex Forms and Workflow, you can significantly improve efficiency, productivity and cut costs.

Let’s explore what this might look like with an example:

  • Staff at a supermarket use a Nintex Form in Office 365 to report on stock levels
  • This information gets stored in SharePoint Online
  • However, one field in the form triggers a workflow in Nintex Workflow for Office 365
  • The Nintex Workflow for Office 365 connects to Nintex Workflow Cloud
  • Nintex Workflow Cloud then updates Slack, the team collaboration tool that the stock control department use
  • They receive a notification to their smartphones that one of the supermarkets is short on a product and can act instantly, putting out an order for replacements right away

This is, of course, a simple example of how Nintex Forms can be used to connect with third party apps.

What it highlights, however, are the benefits of connecting your information to tools outside of Office 365. Where in the past that information would only live in Office 365 and may not be acted on, the option of connecting to more immediate tools like Slack by using Nintex Forms means the information can be acted on the moment it is reported.

This enables companies to understand what is happening and react in a faster, more agile manner.

The Benefits of Connecting Office 365 Forms Externally

Behind every form is a workflow. And, by connecting these workflows with Nintex Forms in Office 365, employees can input information and ensure that it will be sent to the right place and be seen by the right people. Staff won’t need to remember to chase up colleagues and will avoid all the risks of paper forms.

Information is stored in the correct environment

Nintex connects Office 365 with third-party platforms to automatically enter information into external locations. Whether this information is a new lead for your CRM, an email address into your marketing automation tool, or simply data stored in a non-Microsoft data center, connecting your forms with external environments gives you more flexibility and choice.

Employees don’t need to think about tech or platforms

If staff can enter all the information they need into a Nintex Form in Office 365, they do not need to open different tools and platforms themselves and upload the information. Instead, Nintex can be designed to move the data to the right place and this is stored where people need.

Improve compliance

A final benefit of connecting Office 365 with third party platforms is that they improve compliance. Forms can be designed in such a way that they require the people who enter information into them to fill out certain fields. This means that whenever data is entered it will include all the information you are legally required to collect.

Forms and Workflows in the Cloud

More and more businesses are using cloud applications to support the needs of specific teams and departments. By and large, this is a positive step. Staff can use tools which fit around them and their tasks better, saving them time and boosting productivity.

However, when these tools fail to connect, problems can arise.

By extending Office 365 with Nintex Workflow Cloud, you enhance the power of all the platforms you use by improving how information is shared. You can get all the benefits of your various platforms, without the drawbacks of creating information silos.

 

To try Nintex Workflow Cloud free for 30 days, click here

Euan Gamble

Euan Gamble is passionate about forms technology. He joined Nintex in 2015 and is currently a Nintex Product Manager based in Melbourne, Australia.