We interviewed Chris Ellis, Nintex Technical Director, about the workflow templates he has authored in the Nintex Solution Accelerator Gallery that help new and existing customers utilize the power and ease of the Nintex Process Platform.
1. Tell us a little about your involvement in the Nintex Solution Accelerator Gallery.
Like most cool things happening at Nintex, I heard about it from Dan Stoll our Director of Technical Product Marketing. He ran the idea past me (as the team lead for presales here in APAC) to create workflow templates and bribed me with a free backpack for every 5 solutions uploaded.
Outside the free backpack, I think reusable intellectual property is a massive gain for anyone considering Nintex – whether a prospect or an existing customer. It also dovetails nicely as the next step for our Process Excellence Workshop Series.
Even if a solution is a 70% fit for an organization, there are a considerable time and delivery dollar savings. It was a no brainer for me to get started on some quick-win solutions.
I think I’ve authored around 7 or 8 solutions now… but I’m still waiting for that backpack.
2. When did you create the Work from Home template? Did you expect it to have so many downloads?
I created the Work from Home template when COVID-19 escalated here in Australia and our Nintex office moved to remote work around mid-March. Along with much of the rest of the world that was impacted by the crisis, we signed our own version of a Work from Home agreement.
By the end of March, I’d been asked by a half dozen customers to demo something similar. Some requests for the form were in very granular detail, and some that essentially just confirm employees are set up to work from home – but they all followed a common theme.
At that point, I realized I’d done 4 or 5 cookie-cutter demos of the same concept and it might be worth sharing as a reusable solution.
I’ve misplaced my crystal ball so I didn’t know if it would be a popular download, but I certainly hoped it would be. Workplace safety laws are in place to ensure the safety of employees whether in the traditional bricks and mortar sense or if they’re at home. It’s a sensible thing to do to ensure employees are safe.
3. As the author of the Work from Home template, what can you tell us about its features?
The template is pretty simple in its execution. You can tailor the self-service form which acts as a certification that you are compliant against your company’s work safety requirements.
If there are any special dispensations for injuries (such as a medical certificate) they can be easily attached. The form adapts nicely on mobile, tablet, or desktop and has a signature option. The form can easily be amended to include a company’s own requirements – I had one customer require you knew where a first aid kit and fire extinguisher were.
From there, the workflow will automatically identify an employee’s manager and assign a task to them with conditional logic if the employee didn’t comply with the requirements (or had an exception).
The template is finalized with an auto-generated certificate of compliance to be stored against the employee record and for external auditing purposes.
4. Are there any template ‘hacks’ you can share with us or other uses for a template?
Using the shortcut ‘Import workflows directly into your Nintex Workflow Cloud tenant’ takes the Nintex Solution Accelerator Gallery to a whole new level! There are over 40 Nintex Workflow Cloud templates alone and it takes seconds to add them to a tenant using the shortcut.
One thing I always try to articulate when showing the Nintex Solution Accelerator Gallery is to think a little beyond the use case as described. It may say ‘Vendor Onboarding’ but think outside the vendor space and apply the core concepts of the solution to something else.
That’s the bonus of a flexible platform like Nintex, it’s really easy to make these changes quickly.
5. Can you tell us about another template you’ve authored or other templates that you suggest?
There is a template that’s quite personal to me, and that’s the JobKeeper Employee Nomination template I created. My wife has been stood down from her job due to COVID-19. She works in the airline industry and there isn’t a happy horizon for those folks right now.
JobKeeper was a wage subsidy the government introduced for those hardest-hit. The government offered some standard templates as employers had to nominate employees into the program and to have employees acknowledge it.
When I saw the process on the Australian Tax Office website, it was quite clunky in its use of either Word or PDF. The administrative burden for any organization would be significant. As well as working on an assumption that most people could navigate downloading forms locally, completing, and then reuploading.
The solution I built is fully mobile, contains only the required fields, and should hugely reduce the admin headache. And can be easily repurposed for other uses.
6. What’s your favorite “template” to enjoy personal time? Such as favorite dish to cook, a favorite series to binge, or activity?
I found my pasta maker in the back of my cupboard recently, so lockdown has given me a bit of extra time to make pasta from scratch. I’ve been playing with a few recipes and think I’ve nailed my dough.
Last weekend I did a Cacio e Pepe (which translates to cheese and pepper) and my biggest critic (wife) said it’s the best pasta she’s ever had.
I don’t think we have enough time for my ultimate Netflix playlist but I’m just very happy to have the Formula One back – and on a weekly schedule at that! Monday mornings can be a bit tough when the race finishes at 1 am but I can’t go a full day risking the spoilers!
7. Many of us are daydreaming about a vacation. Do you have a highlight from a past vacation or favorite destination?
I’ve been incredibly lucky with the work I do and having a wife in the airline industry to visit some incredible places. We went to Santorini, Greece for my honeymoon last year and is absolutely head and shoulders above anywhere else I’ve visited (which is saying something because the trip started with the Monaco Grand Prix). I’d love to get back there once ‘the new normal’ is established and we’ve all got flying cars!
8. If you were in another line of work – other than a Process Template Author and Nintex Platform extraordinaire – what would it be?
Leveraging the Nintex Process Platform, Chris recently turned the paper-based Victorian Worker Permit into a fully-digital, mobile experience. Read how Melbourne-based employers and employees can now access a free, downloadable workflow automation solution to help them more easily and safely secure a work permit during COVID-19 stage four restrictions.