About 32 partners and customers filed into a conference room at ARIA before Nintex’s InspireX conference and were separated into focus groups.
The purpose? Give them a first look at Nintex Workflow Cloud, which CEO John Burton announced in his keynote the following day, and get their feedback on the new cloud platform that John calls “workflow for any platform and any content, anywhere.”
“We brought in teams from across the organization to take notes and engage with them,” says Nintex Director of Product Management Zoe Clelland, who heads up the product management efforts for Nintex Workflow Cloud. “What they need. What excites them. It was an incredible deep dive into their vision for what a solution from Nintex for the future would be. It was amazing. It was fun. It was really hard work.”
Nintex Workflow Cloud was exciting news for the customers and partners personally invited to the private preview. So exciting that many couldn’t keep it private for long.
“The session ended at noon,” she says. “By the time of the reception at 6, the news had spread like wildfire. ‘Hey, you’re working on this new thing. How can I get involved?’ I thought I’d drop into the reception for 15 minutes. I was there till it closed because so many people wanted to talk about how they’re using Nintex Workflow today and how they want to see it evolve.”
What’s the Purpose of Nintex Workflow Cloud?
Nintex doesn’t plan to launch Nintex Workflow Cloud until late 2016. Zoe, who’s responsible for getting customer feedback during and after its development and leading the product and project teams, knows that her InspireX experience was just the beginning. The buzz is only going to get louder.
More than two years in the works, Nintex Workflow Cloud is the company’s way of giving customers yet another way to run their workflows, with or without SharePoint and with or without Office 365.
“That does not mean in any way, shape or form that we would change what we do for SharePoint or Office 365,” John said during his InspireX keynote. “As a matter of fact, what we’re talking about with Nintex Workflow Cloud is an extension to what you have. What we want to be able to do is lead the workflow collaborative unstructured agile process automation for you and with you, regardless of where you are.”
The launch of the Nintex cloud also means we can address more customer use cases and “expand the value of your investment in a very radical way,” John says.
InspireX attendees took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the big announcement:
- “Nintex Workflow Cloud: workflow as a service. As a partner w/ clients across platforms & technologies, this is a game-changer,” Tweeted Christopher Johnson ~ @CJohnsonO365
- “Nintex Workflow Cloud will have a big impact on the industry. Watch this space,” Tweeted Randy Perkins-Smart ~ @SharePointRandy
How’s the Development Process Work?
The old-school way that companies collected product feedback from users was to gather all the requirements, build to those requirements, release the product and then see what happens, Zoe says.
With Nintex Workflow Cloud, Zoe took a different approach. Her background includes a PhD and a master’s degree in Human Factors, Experimental Psychology from Texas Tech, and she has long focused on the combination of product management and user experience to build world-class products. Instead of waiting until Nintex Workflow Cloud’s release to get feedback, Zoe and her team has been gathering that feedback throughout its development.
One of the biggest lessons she learned in graduate school has stayed with her during her career in product delivery and user experience – “always remembering that whatever you’re building, there’s someone at the end of it who has to use it.”
When a product is highly useable, meaning it takes human psychology into account and meshes with the way people want to work, it possesses a kind of invisibility. Users can focus on the work they’re doing rather than focus on the product they’re using to do that work, Zoe says. Make something intuitive to use and by its nature, it’s easy.
“I can’t say enough about the ease-of-use trialing, design and optimization that’s going into the Nintex Workflow Cloud designer and our portal,” she says. “It can’t be oversold. That’s one of the things we validated with customers, partners and users of the system – the intuitive nature of the designer.”
All along in the development process, we’ve been getting feedback from the people who’ll ultimately use Nintex Workflow Cloud. As a result of that agile approach, Nintex developers can make slight adjustments to make sure they’re hitting the feature set of most value to users and Zoe’s team – in concert with all the other contributing teams – can help finetune the user experience.
What’s This I Hear About Workflow As a Service™?
With Nintex Workflow Cloud, Nintex has the ability to deliver Workflow As a Service™. In other words, a workflow created by a customer or partner becomes a stand-alone application that can be called from anywhere.
This will give our partners the ability to extend their workflows, such as by packaging and monetizing workflows they’ve created and building out intellectual property built in Nintex Workflow Cloud.
One example could be a partner who’s an expert in contract management for manufacturers. The partner builds a workflow that’s a hit with a customer and then can use that solution to share with other customers who would also benefit. The use cases for the reusable and dynamic workflows that Workflow as a Service provides are “truly limitless,” Zoe says.
“That’s a game-changer for the market, for us and everyone we serve,” she says. “It’s icing on the cake to what we do. Very groundbreaking and innovative icing”
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