An Insider’s Review of the 2016 InspireX Conference
If you didn’t attend Nintex’s recent InspireX conference in Las Vegas, you missed out on an event that was…well, inspiring.
Fortunately, we went there on your behalf.
Over the course of 2 ½ days, we witnessed powerful keynote speeches, attended content-rich workshops, and had eye-opening discussions with people from the Nintex team. When it was all over, we were more fired up than ever before about Nintex.
Although we learned a great deal about how to get the most out of Nintex software as it exists today, we felt especially privileged to gain some first-hand insights into their future and company culture.
We’re eager to share some of our key take-aways so you can share our excitement.
Reason #1: Nintex is growing fast but remains a small company at heart.
At the end of day one, we had our first opportunity to hang out with other attendees and see some of the faces of Nintex.
One of those faces belonged to Brett Campbell, a Nintex co-founder and the current Vice President of Corporate Development.
We expected some stiff, serious executive stereotype.
Instead, Brett was brimming with enthusiasm, shaking each of our hands vigorously as he introduced himself.
Since Brett had been there since the beginning, we had to ask, “Why Nintex?”
As soon as he heard this, Brett’s eyes lit up and a huge grin spread across his face as if he was a kid in a video arcade with a pocket full of tokens.
Right away it became clear that Brett and co-founder Brian Cook didn’t start Nintex with the intention of making money. They simply recognized a problem: SharePoint’s workflow-building capabilities didn’t meet their needs, and they wanted to develop a program that would give them more freedom. Nintex Workflow was born.
Ten years later, Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms have attracted customers in over 90 countries in over 6,000 companies, hundreds of which are part of the Fortune 500.
Yet Brett is as excited about Nintex today as if he had just come up with the idea yesterday.
And with good reason.
Reason #2: Nintex actually listens to their customers.
Brett was one of about 70 Nintex employees floating around the conference. When they weren’t delivering speeches or hosting workshops, like Brett, they sought every opportunity to talk with their customers and partners.
Because they wanted to know what we thought of them.
The InspireX event included an hour-long Ask the Experts session: 21 tables; each hosted by an expert in a particular Nintex-related product, technology, or business need. We divided and conquered, each moving from table to table, bombarding the Nintex pros with our questions and suggestions. In response, our hosts scribbled away furiously on their notepads and gave us candid, in-depth responses.
Later in the conference, an employee from one of our larger clients got to spend some one-on-one time in a room with their sales rep from Nintex…that is until half a dozen other high-ranking Nintex employees joined them, including Nintex’s CEO. Our client had a captive audience of some of Nintex’s most influential players as he shared in great detail both his team’s successes with Nintex products and services and improvements they’d like to see.
Conversations like this will no doubt influence how Nintex serves their customers in the future.
But what about all the people who didn’t attend the conference?
The Nintex team emphasized the many communication channels they provide to all Nintex customers. In addition to enabling us to open support tickets through with Nintex Support and participate in discussions in the Nintex Connect community, Nintex offers two other platforms not as many people know about:
- User Voice is a site where users can submit new, or vote on existing, ideas for product improvements. If there’s something you wish Nintex products could do, this is the place to share your idea.
- Nintex Xchange (coming soon) will provide a space where community members can share ideas, templates, and other materials to help expedite our efforts to build solutions using Nintex products.
Reason #3: Nintex’s road map is in our hands.
Several of the InspireX sessions provided us an in-depth look at recent advances and future plans for their current and upcoming products.
We were thrilled to hear that the milestones on their road maps are selected and prioritized almost exclusively based on customer feedback through User Voice and other channels.
Here are some of the changes you can look forward to:
- Nintex Insight: We’ve always felt Nintex Workflow’s reporting capabilities were one of their few shortcomings. Nintex Insight will provide a huge leap forward by allowing you to create powerful dashboards that will answer numerous critical questions including…
- Where do all my workflows reside?
- Which of my workflows are the most error prone?
- What kind of ROI (using hard numbers from their research with Forrester Consulting) am I getting on my workflows?
- Nintex Workflow in the Cloud: Nintex will be offering its own hosted service where you can build workflows independently (no SharePoint required) in their cloud environment and have those workflows interact with your data wherever it resides.
Nintex is building many new features for both SharePoint 2013 and 2016 to help us build solutions faster and with greater flexibility:
- Online Help means help content will always be up-to-date and will provide links to supporting content on the discussion forum, blogs, and other resources.
- Nintex Workflow’s designer will be fully compatible with all popular modern browsers.
- A better Workflow toolbox design will allow workflow designers to find actions more easily.
- New PowerShell commands will allow us to create scripts for faster, more consistent Nintex product deployments.
- A better Central Admin experience will provide a better configuration and troubleshooting experience.
- New workflow actions will continue to pop up in future releases, including the ability to interact with a wide array of third-party applications.
Ongoing progress on the online products
After working extensively with Nintex’s products for both SharePoint on-prem and online, we’ve become spoiled by several features available on their on-prem products that haven’t made their way to Online.
Nintex reps agreed that their online products had some limitations, but explained that this was mainly due to vast differences in the Office 365 architecture.
For example, one popular feature of Nintex Workflow is their “Lazy Approval” option that allows people to respond to requests for approval by simply replying to an email notification.
Unfortunately, unlike on-prem SharePoint, SharePoint Online doesn’t have a way to receive emails. This meant Nintex had to develop a custom external solution to intercept and process emails. They did, and we now have Lazy Approval for Nintex Workflow online.
Nintex will be bringing many other valuable, creative solutions to their online platform:
- Nintex hosting locations will cover a wider geographic area so users in different parts of the world can experience better performance.
- Workflow history will be more detailed and include a more visual layout similar to the graphical view available in the on-prem version.
- New workflow actions will be added frequently.
- External Start will allow workflows to be started by external applications and code.
- The Print to PDF feature will be available for online forms.
- Forms will support Managed Metadata – This announcement resulted in applause from the audience.
- Forms will be able to be built in a multi-page format for easier navigation.
- A Save as Draft option will be available on forms so users can come back to them later.
When we look at the value Nintex provides today, the groundbreaking plans they have in store for us, and the volumes of feedback they gathered from everyone at InspireX, we can’t help but be excited to work with such an amazing company and watch them evolve with us.
If you’d like to chat with us about our experience with Nintex and how we use their products and services to help our customers, call or email us.