There’s nothing virtual about the Nintex virtual Technical Evangelist (vTE) program. It’s a very real part of the process of getting automation into customers’ hands. virtual Technical Evangelists literally evangelize Nintex products, represent the company to customers, and contribute to the Nintex Connect community, where people turn to find answers to questions about our products.
virtual Technical Evangelists – like Tom Castiglia of DocFluix – work for Nintex partners. Tom is the Microsoft Practice Director there, and he sees being a vTE as a way to share his knowledge and passion for the products.
What does Tom do as a vTE?
“Anything that is proactively getting Nintex’s name out there,” he says.
Nintex customers and people considering buying Nintex products benefit from the vTE program because virtual Technical Evangelists have proven themselves to have deep knowledge of Nintex products, and they have relationships with Nintex insiders like Technical Evangelists. They get early insight to new products, and because they drive usage of Nintex, they’re extremely adept at implementing solutions with those products.
virtual Technical Evangelists are easy to spot on Nintex Connect because they have a special badge next to their name that indicates their recognition as a Nintex expert.
How does the vTE program work?
The vTE program kicked off as a pilot at Microsoft Ignite in 2015. It’s an invite-only program vetted by Technical Evangelists. vTEs are required to stay on the cutting edge, and demonstrate their continued proficiency by contributing to Nintex Connect, being available for conferences and other events like SharePoint Saturdays and taking part in pre-sales demos and discussions.
If a vTE moves to a different partner company, that person retains the designation. At the moment, vTEs must work for Nintex partners. While they need to have technical knowledge, they don’t have to be a developer.
In January, the program will start fresh, with vTEs serving 12-month roles and up for renewal each year – similar to how the Microsoft MVP program works, says Dan Stoll, Nintex Manager – Technical Product Marketing & Evangelism.
Technical Evangelists locally manage the virtual Technical Evangelists in their region.
What qualities do you need to be a successful vTE?
Tom considers his role as a Nintex vTE as integral to his customers’ success and he takes that role seriously. Here’s a few of the qualities he considers important – and embraces – for the vTE role:
- Technical competence with Nintex products – “knowing how to support and take advantage of them”
- Willingness to speak at SharePoint Saturday events, write blog posts, answer questions on Nintex Connect, conduct webinars
- Assist with demos of Nintex products at events
What are the benefits for virtual Technical Evangelists?
“It’s a designation for us, a formal recognition, that I can put on a business card or put in a proposal,” he says. “It makes me perceived as more technically competent. If we’re in a competitive situation with clients, it’s a benefit.”
At Microsoft Ignite in 2015, Nintex invited vTEs to a lunch, Tom recalls. While social, the lunch also gave vTEs an exciting first look at the Nintex roadmap across the different products – and an opportunity to share feedback on what they’d like to see in the future.
He also cites early access to beta programs like Nintex Analytics and Nintex Workflow Cloud as a big perk for vTEs.
“I enjoy staying on the cutting edge of [Analytics] and NWC,” he says. “I will speak at InspireX on NWC. Basically everything I did on beta testing I built out into a full-fledged demo.”
Andrew Glasser, a vTE and SharePoint Team Lead for Intellinet in Atlanta, has had a similar experience since partnering with Nintex in 2011.
“It’s being a part of not just the community, but the whole package at Nintex,” Andrew says. “There are new things like Nintex Workflow Cloud. We get the first introductory access to new products coming. We have direct access to people like (Nintex Technical Evangelist) Brad Orluk, who will get on a phone call. It’s connections and communications we get that are a bit above and beyond what an everyday partner would get.”
Andrew manages several teams of SharePoint consultants for Intellinet. He says being a vTE has helped him build relationships with key Nintex employees like Brad and Dan, as well as other vTEs. And that improves the work his teams do.
The vTE program is “always there and reliable” and helps him build great relationships, Andrew says.
“We can have good communication with them to make what we do better,” he says. “And same goes with other vTEs. Those folks are all in it for seeing the success of product and our projects. We all help each other out, whether it’s in the community or over email. A lot of guys I work with are on the other side of the world. That kind of camaraderie is what makes the program work so well.”
How does the work of vTEs benefit Nintex?
The approximately 50 vTEs around the world are beneficial for Nintex, too, Dan says.
“They are the first people I turn to on a weekly basis to bounce ideas, ask questions and garner honest and reliable feedback,” he says. “They may not realize it themselves just how much influence they have.”
The program is expected to grow in 2017, Dan says. As long as vTEs continue to demonstrate the passion they have, the program can benefit Nintex and the partners’ businesses.
“vTE’ show a passion for not just Nintex but also for technology, which I find to be a fantastic quality,” he says. “They genuinely want to help, whether it be through the Nintex community, Nintex user groups (which a number of them run), or just being out in the channel helping customers realize the potential of solving one workflow at a time, and how transformative that can be to their business.”