Introducing a Visual Workflow Designer into Your Workplace

If your organization uses SharePoint and you plan on building anything beyond the most basic of workflows, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Workflow Designer is normally the first solution you will turn to. However, creating a workflow project in Visual Studio involves intensive planning and a familiarity with coding. And, in the end, you just get one single workflow, which can only be used in a single instance.

If you’re ambitious about what workflow automation can do, a visual workflow designer makes a big improvement on Visual Studio. This kind of automation software aims to make life easier for your users, allowing anyone to create a workflow that mirrors their daily tasks.

A visual workflow designer aims to remove the complexity involved in creating business workflows. In this post, we’re going to explore the benefits of a visual workflow designer, and how you can successfully implement the software into your organization.

Get More from a Visual Workflow Designer

With a visual workflow designer, simplicity stems from a drag-and-drop interface for intuitive and rapid workflow creation. This adds a visual aspect to help users create workflows more in tune with the way your company works. With a visual representation of how a process will unfold, you can better understand how it will work in your organization, and how it will improve business efficiency.

With a visual workflow designer, workflows become easier to create, and users can do more with them.

So why isn’t everyone using them?

Change is a Challenge

Creating lasting business change can be a real barrier to an organization’s transformation. End-users and even executives will often neglect the process of change as they are already ‘set in their ways’—they are familiar with current processes and how they should use them. This is natural, but it’s also a problem.

An affinity to current processes can do two things:

  • Overshadow the fact there may be better options available
  • Overpower a user’s willingness to do something different, as it requires ‘too much effort’

Successfully implementing technology change is, therefore, a real challenge, even when the benefits are plain to see. SharePoint workflows are a good example of this. The majority of users looking to build SharePoint workflows will do so through SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio, despite their limitations.

So how can you successfully introduce a visual workflow designer into your workplace?

How to Introduce a Visual Workflow Designer

Inspire and inform staff

The biggest factor in effective change is making sure your users are informed of the benefits. To stick, though, these benefits need to be directly related to their real-life business processes:

  • For workers on IT help desks, explain how workflows can route requests to the correct technician and set notifications to keep requests prioritized.
  • For administrators, explain how workflows can add or delete user accounts for employee on- and offboarding, and keep an audit trail of account access.
  • For all IT workers, explain how workflows can create a single portal to view and manage all pending tasks and notifications.
  • For financial workers, explain how workers can handle additional approvals and processes based on approval amounts.

Once your users are aware of the tangible affects they can expect from automated workflows, their willingness to begin trying them out should shoot up.

Training

User training is also a must if you want any new solution or software to stick. Your users need to be well-educated with the tool, preferably before it has even been deployed, so they can feel comfortable and confident when they start using it. If not, it will feel too different and they will neglect to use it, a clear backward step on your investment.

A visual workflow designer focused on simplicity and able to integrate straight into your SharePoint environment minimizes training. You can begin showing them how to schedule repeatable processes, delegate workflow tasks to users, deliver notifications via email or annotate diagrams with ease and minimal prior training, so they can get straight into utilizing the platform.

A True Visual Workflow Designer for SharePoint

Nintex Workflow for SharePoint takes the power of a tool like Visual Studio and adds a drag-and-drop interface to provide users with the visual representation of their business processes. The software offers more than 200 workflow actions for flexibility from simple to sophisticated workflows. This allows workers to take on anything from basic business functions to company-wide processes with a few clicks. As the software is integrated directly into SharePoint, workflows become much more approachable tasks, making your users more comfortable with creating them.

When workers are fully aware of the benefits visual workflow designer can bring, and they can begin using the software almost instantly, you can overcome the barrier to implementing change.

 

For more information regarding the impact of visual workflow designer software, or how you can start to deploy workflows into your business, sign up for a live demonstration of Nintex Workflows today. 

Vadim Tabakman

Nintex Technical Evangelist Vadim Tabakman is a Nintex developer with 20 years of development experience and more than nine years' experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies. He understands how SharePoint, business process automation and forms can successfully join forces in numerous industries and business scenarios to drive business adoption and success in SharePoint projects.