Home|Nintex Blog|Q&A with Provoke Solutions COO Brendon Ford – Nintex vs. Microsoft Flow

Q&A with Provoke Solutions COO Brendon Ford – Nintex vs. Microsoft Flow

Recently, Nintex partner Provoke Solutions created a valuable video series as a step-by-step comparison building an automated onboarding solution using Nintex Workflow Cloud and using Microsoft Flow and PowerApps.

We sat down with Brendon Ford, Chief Operating Officer at Provoke, to learn more about the project and its value to those looking to leverage no-code workflow software in their enterprise.

1.  Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Provoke Solutions and your role there?

Provoke solutions is a software development company that focuses on delivering technology solutions built on Microsoft Office 365 and Azure.  We’ve been a Nintex partner for about 12 years, so we have a lot of history to draw on in the process automation space.

I am the Chief Operating Officer at Provoke, based in Bellevue Washington.  Provoke also has offices in Wellington & Auckland in New Zealand.

2.  What was your goal in creating this video series?

Our goal in producing the video series was to capture the strengths of each product. We’re often asked by customers which is a better solution, Nintex or Flow. Unfortunately the answer is not binary.

In watching the videos, I hope that folks can gain an understanding of the strengths of each solution and how we look at the ROI.

3.  Why choose managed service provider onboarding to compare these two solutions side-by-side?

We wanted to select a scenario that was common and did not require a lot of “back story.” We also wanted a scenario that was common to a lot of businesses.

I would recommend when watching the video series that you think about other onboarding processes as a lot of the steps are common.

4.  What were some discoveries you and your team made in the creation of the same process in two different platforms?

I’m not sure I would call it a discovery, but more a true realization. For example, Flow & Power Apps are extremely flexible – that’s a strength, right?  Yes, but it has an impact on productivity, as you can spend a lot of time picking the right approach, rather just getting it done.

Also, in watching the videos, Nintex feels more like one product, which I feel is a productivity booster.

5.  Ultimately, your message is that Nintex and Microsoft are taking unique approaches towards process automation. Tell us more about your take on that.

When we think about process automation at Provoke, we put the customer at the center of our approach.

We strongly believe that there are situations based on skill set, cost, and completeness of the offering where Nintex is the only real option for a customer. But we also acknowledge that there are situations where Flow and Power Apps could be the right solution for a simple problem.

The old saying of if you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail, rings true for me and therefore Provoke and our customers need options.

6.  You used Nintex Promapp® as the initial starting point for your videos. How do you see process management as being part of an overall process automation initiative?

I hope everyone can agree developing a process in a vacuum is not a good thing. When I think about Nintex Promapp®, I’m excited about the ability to bring business and technology folks together to design, collaborate on, and improve business processes. Promapp® truly provides this opportunity.

Business processes change and having a solution that empowers ongoing process development and documentation is great!

7.  You call out Nintex Analytics Process Intelligence as one of the benefits of Nintex technology when compared with Flow. Can you explain in further detail?

The reason we call Analytics out is because in order to understand success, you must measure what you are doing, Analytics makes it so simple to drop a beacon into a workflow process and allow for the collection of telemetry. Once you have the data, you have insights into how your process is working to drive future decisions.

8.  What kinds of skills would be necessary for someone to be successful in the automation of processes in both platforms?

At Provoke, the people who perform our automation projects have a range of skills. Our employees are consultants with a deep technical skillset, but it’s always key for the process to fit the business.

From experience, we know that if the person building out the solution understands the “why” behind the “what,” the solution is a lot more successful.  Understanding the business impact of the solution you are delivering really helps to shape the overall solution.

9.  The videos also break down pricing models in detail. What were your findings there?

Pricing is often hard to understand, and Microsoft has a history of having complex pricing approaches. This is often due to the complexities of a huge global customer base, I’m told.

Nintex, on the other hand, has a simple and easy pricing approach that can scale as a business scales with process automation. For Provoke, Nintex has a far better ROI if you want to empower all of the organization with process automation.  The per-user model that Flow and Power Apps uses adds up really quickly.

10.  In your opinion, what is the best feature of the Nintex Platform?

I find it hard to call out one feature – I love that the platform is truly one platform. I really like the combination of DocGen® and the new Nintex Sign® feature. Together with the power of Workflow, you can really make a business impact.

I also love the power of Nintex Xtensions®. This capability to create your own integrations to the systems your business already uses feels like an unsung hero.


Watch the full Provoke video series here. 


To learn more about the Nintex Platform and how it can help improve your business processes, contact a Nintex representative today. 


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