Podcast Episode #16 - The State of Workflows in 2016

Posted by Jenny Lynch on March 11, 2016

digital workplace podcast

On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk with a first time guest- Cat Norris, UX Developer at Portal Solutions. We discuss all of the latest news and updates regarding Nintex and workflows. A lot of exciting things are coming up on the workflow front, particularly with SharePoint 2016 coming out this year.

Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items we discussed. 



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SHOW NOTES

Kicking off with the Portal Solutions Moment of the Week

Jenny:

We hear so many times from perspective clients that they have Office 365 but are struggling to figure out how to use all of the advanced functionality. What do all the workloads do? How do they experience it? How do they get training on it?

I'm excited to say that just in the last couple of days the Office training team at Microsoft developed tutorials to address some of these pain points. They're going to be covering five core Office 365 scenarios, which is fantastic.

Check out Microsoft's blog post about the tutorials here, or go straight to the training tutorials here.

The World of Workflows: Nintex and InspireX

Jenny:

To kick things off, let's talk about InspireX, a recent Nintex conference. I know there were a lot of people in attendance, a wealth of experience. Cat, can you lay the foundation of what was the purpose of this conference? I think it was the first annual conference that they've ever had. 

Cat:

Absolutely. Something I noticed about the InspireX conference was lots of bright folks in attendance, lots of partners and it was really great to have direct access to the Nintex product team for the first time.

The purpose of the conference was to partially reveal some roadmap items, but many of the sessions were about how to work with what's already in place. I know they will posting the sessions soon online to their Nintex learning center for conference attendees.

Something that I noticed, there was lots of great questions in the sessions that I attended. I'd imagine there's lots of great questions in the sessions I did not attend so we'll have access to all those shortly. 

New Features on the Horizon

 Jenny:

Were any big announcements made at InspireX?

Cat:

Yeah, there was a lot of ground that was covered, lots of announcements, lots of exciting things coming for us. I can just go down kind of my laundry list of things that I was really excited about.

First off, better documentation. That was clear that they were paying attention to that. There was that feedback that they know that they need to be better in that area and they're like, "Yes, we are definitely going to have better documentation all around." From a high level, they're going to have improved hybrid support. This includes changing their licensing model so you don't have dual licenses for online and on-prem.

For on-prem, easier installation, configuration. That means more powershell commands and again documentation surrounding that.

For forms, by far one of the most exciting things is management of data for forms. Anytime this was mentioned in any of the sessions the crowd literally applauded. I think at one point there was somebody that gave a standing ovation.

Lastly, and I thought this was such a great idea is this thing called Exchange. I got the opportunity to talk to the guy that's kind of championing it. Very smart guy, very motivated to get this tool off the ground. It's basically a central repository for Nintex assets and it's partner driven. There are going to be some Nintex Solutions on there, but it's going to be mostly a tool for partners to add the developments that they have done. It's sort of the Nintex App Store and we're going to be able to package functionality that we've developed and share that with other partners and also pass that on to customers. I think that's going to be a great area for partners and customers to connect and I'm really excited for that to come out. 

Nintex 2016: What's the Scoop?

Jenny:

Nintex 2016- when is that slated to be ready?

Cat:

Typically they're pretty good at releasing Nintex Workflow and Forms as soon as SharePoint comes out with their version. When SharePoint 2013 came out I think it was something like four weeks until they were out with Nintex Workflow and Form 2013. The Toolbox is a part of Forms. It's like the Toolbox for Forms. It's more organized. The icons are smaller. The demo that they did of 2016 just seems like it's much better than the 2013 version. They're also rolling that back int 2013 as well.

Jenny

Educate us on Nintex and how the transition process works. Should people be upgrading from 2013 to 2016, or is the new version something mostly for new clients that are just starting to use Nintex?

Cat:

My guidance with any client that's looking to get the latest and greatest is the same as for SharePoint: if you have the budget for it, definitely upgrade because there's going to be so much more functionality available. You're going to get more efficient, better environment.

If you have a lot of processes in Nintex 2013 right now, maybe wait it out. See what the feedback is. Wait until the second round of functionality comes out. There will be some testing, they get the bugs out because there's always going to be a certain level of kinks that are worked out with the first release. That would be my advice around that.

Mobile-Readiness Getting a Boost?

Jenny:

Let me know more about mobile ready because I know it's all the rage, and for good reason. We're always on the go, we're remote, we're busy, we use our mobile devices all the time. Are there any enhancements for the mobile aspect coming?

Cat:

Yes, there are lots of really cool stuff coming out with that as well. The mobile app is now going to have a lot better offline functionality. Projects that really use mobile app like site visits, that's really important. You also have the ability to elect to post back only when connected to wifi so that will save you money with data usage.

Geolocation and signature capability for mobile app which was recently added, they did a demo on both of those and that's really powerful. Apparently this was a major item in the User Voice. I haven't known about it. I don't think I've really worked too much with Nintex mobile, but apparently a major feedback item was the ability to upload certificates so that your app is signed and safe. Privacy is always a huge issue for customers. The ability to upload certificate I could imagine how that would be a very important thing.

Also ability to scan QR codes and link directly to the mobile app. They did a demo on that. That was really cool. Some other mobile roadmap items are hybrid support and the ability to see submitted forms and tasks and having a dashboard for that. Forms-based authentication just for mobile app specifically extended branded and customization. Now they're going to do Bluetooth support and Office 365 task support. Another thing was enhanced device notifications so those right time notifications and line approval, just immediate pop ups. I thought that was a great idea.

Closing Thoughts

Jenny:

Is there anything else you would want to discuss? Any final thoughts for our listeners?

Cat:

I would just say that if you can, attend next year's InspireX conference because they did a great job of providing a lot of information, giving a lot of really great demos. Especially if you're a Nintex customer or a potential customer, they really did a lot of deep dives on how to use their product. They had an open session open all day so you can actually get in and use the product. They had that open all day on the second and third day. Somebody to guide you along and use the product. I know some of the partners had break out sessions in there where they worked with their customers to work and do demos sessions themselves. I thought that was really cool that they did that.

Listen for More…

Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Cat. We discussed InspireX in depth a bit further as well as a few workflow tips and tricks.

WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK

Jenny:

Well now it's time for our wishlist item of the week. Cat, I'm going to be directing this to you. This is our chance at Portal Solutions to swing for the fences. What is the thing you wish Microsoft would do next?

Cat:

This is actually for Microsoft and Nintex. I really really wish they would both address resource throttling for performance for Nintex Workflow, for SharePoint Workflows and Nintex Forms.

Resource throttling is how admins designate server resources in the cloud to site collection. With your plan you purchase a certain amount of server power so to speak when you get an Office 365 plan. They give you X amount of resources and you're able to go in and configure server resource quote per site collection.

Right now, honestly, in my opinion it's a pretty arbitrary number and we have had some issues with Workflow. I would like documentation guidance on what do these resources equate to.

THE PORTAL SOLUTIONS PS: SHAREPOINT FEST DC

Jenny:   

We want to remind you that our team will be at SharePoint Fest DC. That is at the end of April (the 27th to 29th). We're very excited. We have about four or five of our digital workplace experts speaking at this event, and we're also sponsoring as well. If you attend, please come out and say hi. Would love to meet you!

DON'T FORGET...

If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with Jill Hannemann and special guest Adam Levithan about how Office 365 can benefit your organization (and is a little bit like strawberry shortcake!). In the podcast prior to that, we talked with with COO Dale Tuttle as we talked about our recent Roadshow Events with Microsoft

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

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Topics: SharePoint, Workflows, Nintex, Podcast

Designing A User-Centered Intranet For SharePoint Online

Jenny Lynch

Jenny Lynch is Director of Marketing, Microsoft Solutions and Services, at Withum. Jenny brings more than 15 years of experience in the marketing and sales industry with an emphasis in developing highly targeted marketing, public relation and social media campaigns.

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