Enterprises of all sizes are using third-party solutions in conjunction with Nintex Workflow Cloud to create high-value offerings for intelligent process automation. In this blog post, we explore how Beezy, a provider of enterprise collaboration and communication software, developed a solution that complements Nintex Workflow Cloud to help enterprises cope with the explosion of digital workplace software.
The Problem: Outdated Workplace Collaboration Tools and Processes
Many organizations are decentralized and their workplaces are disconnected from each other. Many have not kept pace with trends in workplace digitization. Their tools range from network folders, files on PCs, email and email attachments, and often old-style intranets that are updated infrequently and fall into disuse. The result is that employees become frustrated, which can lead to disengagement and demotivation.
Creative workers who recognize this paralysis often find their own tools and create their own digital workplaces to keep business processes moving. While such initiative is commendable, ad hoc approaches to collaboration and sharing result in processes that are not structured or consistent throughout the organization. This makes it difficult to optimize processes, can compromise security, and can contravene company IT policies and governance. Ad hoc approaches also can give rise to legal problems with regard to data ownership and privacy.
Who and What is Beezy?
Beezy, founded in 2013, addresses such problems by creating an intelligent workplace on top of Office365 and SharePoint. It augments what Office365 offers out of the box, including SharePoint and AI platform technologies such as Cognitive Services and the Bot Framework. Beezy’s customers include FC Barcelona, Vodafone, BASF, ZF TRW, the U.S. Treasury, Daimler, and Bank of England.
Beezy found that by building features on top of SharePoint and O365, clients could make their workplaces more transparent and facilitate extending and sharing knowledge throughout the organization. Essentially, what Beezy does is add and enhance collaboration and communication capabilities in O365 and SharePoint, and provide a consumer-grade UI.
More than 20 partners extend Beezy through its RESTful API. Each customer can have a unique solution that connects their business apps with the digital workplace.
Nintex Workflow Cloud
This is where Nintex Workflow Cloud comes in. Nintex Workflow Cloud is Nintex’s next-generation, cloud-first workflow platform that supports intelligent process automation regardless of the underlying information source.
Anyone in the business (not just IT) can use the intuitive, drag-and-drop design canvas in Nintex Workflow Cloud to create workflows that orchestrate complex business logic involving disparate enterprise applications, services, and systems of record, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
Nintex Workflow Cloud has a number of extensibility features, including External Start and the Nintex Xtensions framework, that allow designers to create and implement highly customized workflow solutions. The Xtensions framework allows partners and customers to define any RESTful API they might need and import it as a custom action in the workflow design canvas.
How Beezy Works With Nintex Workflow Cloud
Beezy built several custom actions using the Nintex Xtensions framework. The connector between Beezy and Nintex Workflow Cloud was easy to create; the hardest part was learning OpenAPI (formerly Swagger). Once the first action was working, it was easy to extend and add more actions.
It took five to ten developer days to learn the OpenAPI Specification, five more to develop all eight custom action methods including operations such as “Create a community,” “Comment on a post,” “Create a task,” and “Create an event.” It took a further 10 developer days to integrate the Beezy Bot™ with the Beezy custom actions and ensure production-readiness. Collaborating with Nintex over six to seven weeks, including weekly progress calls, Beezy went from first conversations in August to an announced partnership with Nintex and working connectors in September.
The collaboration was announced at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando.
The video shows two scenarios where Nintex Workflow Cloud and Beezy work hand in hand to enable automated enterprise workplace collaboration.
The first scenario is a leave approval process. Beezy has a bot (Beezy Bot™) that is based on O365 Bot Framework technology. When the bot has collected the required fields to commence a leave request, it triggers a workflow via Nintex Workflow Cloud’s External Start capability. (External Start lets you trigger a workflow from any application capable of making an HTTP POST call.) The workflow uses the Beezy connector to post an actionable card, which effectively brings the leave request process into the Beezy newsfeed and interface. The Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow orchestrates communication between Beezy, SharePoint, and Workday, with workflow branches mapping back to Workday approvals and rejections, so employees can apply for leave without ever having to go into Workday.
The second scenario involves a customer whose Salesforce.com account is configured to trigger a Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow. When an opportunity reaches an 80% probability, the workflow posts the cross-referencing Salesforce Opportunity ID into SharePoint Online, and—using the Beezy custom action—creates a new community in the Beezy UI where a team can assemble and start collaborating to close the opportunity.
The Power of Complementary Solutions
Using complementary technology platforms in creative ways leads to innovative and elegant solutions to solve business problems. By combining the strengths of Beezy in enterprise workplace collaboration and Nintex Workflow Cloud for process automation, users enjoy a seamless experience for collaborating on and completing everyday business processes.
Visit the Nintex Community today to learn more and engage in conversations with fellow Nintex users!