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Microsoft drives operational efficiency across its global digital stores

Driving excellence in operations

With thousands of content updates and promotions to manage across global e-commerce sites, multinational technology provider Microsoft needed a more efficient way to manage content and promotion publishing across Microsoft.com and the Microsoft store sites.

After implementing Nintex K2 Five, the buying organization at Microsoft has increased employee productivity, reduced publication errors, and gained better visibility into the end-to-end publication and promotion process. K2 Software now plays a key role in streamlining processes across Microsoft’s entire e-commerce division.

30%

decrease in publishing errors

450+

eCommerce sites in over 240 markets

25%

time savings per merchandiser

Company
Microsoft
Website
Industry
Technology
Country
Capabilities Used
K2 Software

Who they are

Microsoft’s eCommerce team is responsible for selling Microsoft, as well as third-party, products and services from the company’s digital store.

What they needed

Microsoft’s eCommerce team needed a more efficient way to publish content and promotions to the company’s website and digital store.

How they did it

Using K2 Five, Microsoft automated its content and promotion publishing to reduce errors and ensure that strict publishing schedules are met across the website and digital store.

Reducing errors in pre-production publishing

Challenge: Manual publication management

As a multinational technology provider, it is critical for Microsoft’s eCommerce team to keep their global website updated with information and content for all product lines. The content publication process is very complex, involving many levels of approvals and collaboration between resources from several teams to keep hundreds of pages updated across more than 240 regions.

For many years, the publishing process was managed via Excel spreadsheets. Content, images, and other publishing information were tracked in different spreadsheets. In some cases, there were 200+ spreadsheets to track updates for a single page on the website. Content approvals were handled manually, often resulting in bottlenecks and delays in publishing timelines.

Furthermore, Microsoft’s legacy solution made it very difficult to easily track publishing tasks and provide visibility into publication statuses. “We needed to have a normalized publishing process where we could report, track, and automate publications across Microsoft.com,” says Jennifer Woolery, Program Manager, eCommerce.

Solution: An efficient, automated publishing process

Microsoft turned to K2 Software and its Professional Services team to deliver an automated solution to handle the Microsoft.com publication process for the global team. With Nintex K2 SmartForms and workflow engine, Microsoft has a streamlined publishing process that allows regional marketing managers to submit content via an online portal. Pre-production approval tasks are automatically routed to the right group based on region and content is automatically queued and scheduled for entry into the content management system (CMS).

Publishing errors have been decreased by as much as 30% in some areas by ensuring that the right content and asset information is captured as part of the initial request. Full auditing and tracking capabilities provide visibility into the process and ensure that strict publishing schedules are met.

“K2 Five offers us the ability to automate those business workflows and move them from person to person or team to team as appropriate,” says Woolery. “It also allows us to get reliable inputs and outputs from the system so that we are getting those consistently and correctly each time. You know what you’re delivering is going to be right 99% of the time. It’s all about the consistency.”

 

K2 Five has become a mission critical tool. Our buying organization continues to ask for more work to be put into it because it’s such a critical piece of the puzzle in making money for Microsoft. This is a big piece of our work and it’s really helping them be successful.
Jennifer Woolery, Program Manager, E-Commerce, Microsoft
A central workspace to handle promotions

Challenge: Time-consuming promotion management

More recently, Jennifer and the eCommerce team turned their sights toward improving their merchandise promotion process. Similar to the content approval process for Microsoft.com, publishing merchandise promotion information on Microsoft’s global online stores was a manual and time-consuming process.

Promotions for all of Microsoft’s product lines were tracked and managed via a series of Microsoft OneNote files, making it difficult to gain visibility into outstanding launch tasks. Errors often occurred due to the amount of double entry of data the Site Merchandisers were required to do for each promotion and campaign.

Due to the complex and global nature of the promotions management process, Microsoft was looking for a solution that would provide an easy-to-use solution while also being flexible and powerful enough to handle the complexities associated with the process.

Solution: Streamlined promotion management

Turning again to K2 Five and its Professional Services team, Jennifer and team were able to quickly deliver a unique, customized solution for handling the diverse number of promotions and campaigns managed by the Site Merchandisers across the globe.

Merchandisers are able to quickly submit promotional information, including product information, related campaigns, site and page placement and more, all via a centralized online workspace.

Since the solution has been in production, the number of errors related to publishing promotions has dropped significantly. In addition, the online promotions brief saves each merchandiser 25% of their time by eliminating time-consuming double data entry across multiple files.

Delivering solutions through professional services

Challenge: Building scalable solutions

Microsoft’s eCommerce team does not have a dedicated set of engineers. In order to meet the needs of the business, they needed to partner with a services team to help build the publishing and promotions management solutions. They were looking for quality resources they could trust to work closely with the internal Microsoft teams.

Solution: Quality resources from a trusted source

By utilizing the company’s Professional Services team, Microsoft has been able to scale their team and deliver new features and capabilities much more quickly.

The blended K2 Software and Microsoft team is providing a consistent track record of delivering quality solutions on time, resulting in happy users and higher user adoption. “Our adoption rate for the promotions tool was 100% out the gate,” says Woolery. “K2 Software is well-loved inside our company because they’re delivering what the users want to see.”

Not only does the team provide solution development support but they are also responsible for managing K2 Five. The team also manages and maintains the K2 Software installation in Microsoft’s internal Azure environment, providing upgrade and management support to ensure that the system maintains a high level of stability and uptime.

“The company’s Professional Services team are great resources from a trusted source,” says Jennifer, adding “they work closely with the users and really think outside of the box and stretch themselves to find creative solutions to our unique challenges.”

Microsoft continues to work closely with the company’s Professional Services team and are ramping up for their next big project, Global Launch, which will release later in 2020 and focuses on streamlining the product launch process for new products worldwide. In addition, they are investigating several different pilot projects, including integration with UiPath and other 3rd party technologies.

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