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The Evolution and Future of Workflow Automation

The goal of workflows has always been the same: to bring people the right information, to make the right decisions and to get work done more efficiently and productively.

What’s changed however, is the way in which improved technology empowers workflows to achieve this goal much more powerfully than in the past.

Nintex has always been the leader in easy to use, rapidly configured workflows. However, we’ve seen workflows evolve rapidly from having quite a specific use case in businesses, to something much broader. In future, we expect workflows to evolve even further and more profoundly than they are today. Let’s see how.

How Workflows Started Out

The original concept behind our workflows was pretty simple. We used SharePoint as a basis for automating document approval in organizations. For example:
Using Nintex forms was an easy way of ensuring documents were seen by the right person and approved on time.

  • You want a document approved, and so would fill out a form
  • Nintex would send the document to the right person
  • That person could respond to the email by approving, rejecting or delegating
  • If they delegate the task to an assistant – that person receives an email with the task
  • Once they have completed the task, you get a notification of your document’s status

Nintex was pretty flexible – it could be applied to a huge range of situations, from vacation approval to staff onboarding. However, in the modern enterprise, where most employees use multiple apps from many different providers, a platform that only works in one on-premises environment doesn’t offer the range that’s needed.

Nintex Workflow Cloud

Ever more businesses are moving to the cloud and drawing on the benefits it offers as the chart below shows. However, connecting business processes across all those platforms is problematic. You use multiple apps, based in various cloud, built by different providers. All the same, that original goal of workflows is just as – if not more – relevant than ever: to bring people the right information, to make the right decisions and to get work done more efficiently and productively.

Nintex Workflow Cloud lets you connect to multiple different cloud providers to build even more sophisticated workflows. Say you are a manufacturer:

  • A client is carrying out an inventory of products in their store
  • On realizing that a new product is needed, they fill out a Nintex form on your website to trigger a workflow
  • This makes a case in Salesforce and tells the client that your order has been received
  • In the meantime, the workflow proceeds to check your SharePoint Online list to find out how much of the product you have in your warehouse
  • This can then alert one of your employees that you are currently low on stock yourselves, and need to produce more of the product

By connecting multiple different cloud environments, the Nintex Workflow Cloud makes it possible for users to seamlessly work with information across their different cloud environments. This breaks down those organizational silos, and boosts customer satisfaction.

The Future of Workflow Management Tools

This is where we are today, but we’re constantly looking into how workflows can be used to make people even more productive and even more efficient. Until now, workflows have only been possible because people know two things:

  1. That they need a workflow-many people simply aren’t aware that their processes could be made so much faster and efficient with a workflow
  2. That a workflow automation tool can automate the task they’re doing

Nintex Workflow

But what if workflow tools could use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help discover workflows in your organization, tell workers that their processes could be automated and help users design them? This is where we expect workflows to evolve in future.
Let’s see how.
Machine learning will potentially revolutionize workflow technology, helping discover many of the underlying processes that businesses depend on.

  • Imagine a scenario where your employees are emailing copies of a document to one another, back and forth
  • The same individuals seem to be involved in the same document emailing and editing process once per fortnight
  • They seem to include the same kind of content in each email
  • Powered by AI, Nintex could spot this kind of process happening in your organization and actually suggest to the participants that this may be a workflow
  • Such an advanced tool could even provide a basic workflow template that the AI tool has estimated the process to be
  • The participants could then edit and improve this until it fits perfectly around their specific process

By discovering processes that your employees didn’t even know could be automated, AI-enhanced workflows will be capable of providing your employees with even more powerful ways of boosting productivity and efficiency.

Workflows have always been about bringing people the right information to make the right decisions to allow them to get more work done more efficiently and productively. Want to join us on the journey to even better workflow automation?


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