No two businesses are exactly alike. In fact, in today’s digital workplace multiple combinations of applications are fueling our companies.
That is because digital transformation has given birth to a magnificent and diverse industry of cloud-based SaaS solutions designed to empower lines of business to enhance just about every business process across sales, legal, finance, HR, and more.
Whatever combination of apps a company is using today will likely evolve tomorrow or in the near future. This every changing environment makes it nearly impossible for IT to keep up with business requests, let alone create deep connections between a company’s primary systems of record or engagement.
True value is realized only when these modern business apps are connected and working cohesively inside and outside of an enterprise.
Creating Connections in the Modern Workplace
The Nintex platform contains key capabilities of an intelligent process automation (IPA) portfolio which help automate, orchestrate, and optimize simple to sophisticated business processes. This means creating connections between applications through advanced workflows to eliminate the need to manually log in to pull information and complete tasks in different systems.
Nintex has created easy drag-and-drop connectors for many common business apps that companies use today, including SharePoint and Office 365, Salesforce, Box, DocuSign, AdobeSign, ServiceMax, and many others. However, given the vast combinations of SaaS and cloud apps companies can now utilize, we can’t possibly create every connector that every business is going to need.
So, we created an easy way for companies to create those connectors themselves with Nintex Xtensions.
I recently had a chance to present a session at Nintex xchange last month in San Diego alongside Nintex product gurus David Fitzpatrick and Rick Di Marco on Nintex Xtensions, a “developer” framework for creating new connections to virtually any piece of software a company uses, all with easy drag-and-drop capabilities that customers and partners of Nintex technology have been accustom to using.
I say “developer” in quotations. This is because technically creating a connector means having a basic understanding of JSON and RESTful APIs, but the reality is that this is one of the lightest ‘developer’ solutions on the market.
To emphasize the simplicity and ease, David created a connector while he presented at xchange. At the end of his 30-minute demo, everyone (developers, IT pros and a few business pros) in the room had their hands up saying let’s go build one now.
How to Get the Most out of Xtensions
Here are a few of the more common processes where a little bit of work using Xtensions can create a lot of success for an organization:
1. Human Resources: Recruit Management and Onboarding
Most recruiting professionals are using some sort of recruiting management software today, both to search for and screen potential hires, and to manage recruits during the screening, interviewing, and hiring process. Solutions such as Workable and Greenhouse provide these services, and adding them as connectors to a drag-and-drop workflow designer will make it much easier to automate the hiring process – and its countless follow-ups for candidate feedback by hiring managers and stakeholders.
2. Finance: Budget, Accounting, Asset Management
From QuickBooks and NetSuite to Samanage, the finance and accounting departments are typically managing multiple applications to keep the books up to date, accurate, and data compliant. With so much structured and unstructured data to report, track, and store, these lines of business are ripe for automation. By creating a few Xtensions connectors, finance can automate budget approvals, expenditure authorizations, and automatically organize documents in a way that provides a clean and clear audit trail.
3. Retail Sales: Point of Sale Systems
Detailed and timely sales data is the lifeblood of direct-to-consumer organizations, but that data often has to be compiled from multiple sources and dashboards. With Xtensions, many of these systems can be integrated together – along with CRM systems – via advanced workflows and automated document generation, allowing companies to automatically generate and share sales summary reports at any time.
4. Human Resources: Employee Management
Revisiting Human Resources, once employees are hired and onboarded, employee management systems such as Workday and PeopleSoft serve as a one-stop shop for employees, handling everything from performance reviews to benefits. Creating connectors to these with Xtensions makes it easy to automatically update employees about benefit changes, handle leave request approvals, and kick off and manage employee evaluations.
5. Marketing: Social Media
Of course, connecting with stakeholders is core to a company’s sales and marketing efforts. Creating connectors to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools makes it easier to create and share the results of social media campaigns, automate social activities around events, and communicate relevant social content across the organization.
6. Internal Systems
With so many business applications out there, companies may also take advantage of systems they create internally. In many cases, Xtensions can make it easy to connect with these native systems, allowing an enterprise to automate a business process that connects Salesforce and Box with something unique to their organization.
These examples are just a few of the ways that Xtensions can be used to connect the applications businesses use today. If an application you’re using provides a RESTful API (and most do), there’s a good chance you’ll be able to create a connector and start automating many of the manual tasks you deal with today.
For more information about using Xtensions to create these important connectors, check out the Nintex Xtensions SDK here: https://help.nintex.com/sdk. If you missed my Nintex xchange session on Xtensions, click here to view it on-demand.