The Connected World - Takeaways From InspireX

 Written by Chris Ben, Product Lead at Provoke. 

Some would say we already live in a connected world.  We all have  devices in our pockets to consume and sometimes create content.  Soon our connected world is going to get a whole lot more connected, which was a prevailing theme at the Nintex InspireX conference held in New Orleans last month.  Here are four key takeaways from the conference and why they all link back to the connected world.


Connected IoT Enhances Your Business Processes

The Internet of Things is providing more internet connected devices and cloud services then you can poke a stick at.  Each product individually adds a little bit of value to your life, which is OK – they’re doing something worthwhile.  However, imagine if they were connected to each other. They could add so much more value. 


Alexa is cool – she can order you products from Amazon, she can play you music.  Imagine if Alexa could do more, like provide a vocal alert when the temperature sensor in your commercial fridge triggers that it is too warm?  At the same time as Alexa alerting you, wouldn’t it be better if the system was also making a request to your maintenance department to investigate and communicating with other fridges that you might have to see if they have free space? 


If we connect the silos of internet devices, applications and data, we can automate so much more.


Alerting you is one thing, automating the hand-off is challenging.  That’s where Nintex Workflow Cloud (NWC) and its new extensibility framework comes into play.  It only takes three lines of code to provide an interface to any web-enabled system and now NWC can be used to orchestrate communications between those systems.


We also saw a lot of other examples of this during the conference.  Hyperfish solves the age old problem of cleaning up out-of-date and incomplete Active Directory data.  They use bot technology, available in the cloud, to achieve this.  They provide a basic approval process but if the customer wants something more advanced, they will hand off to the Nintex Workflow Cloud.  That’s brilliant.  NWC is the glue the internet needs to make the Internet of Things useful.

Get In The Flow and You’ll Be Instantly More Productive

Peter Coffey from Salesforce postulated that we’re only in ‘the zone’ a small percentage of our time and we are most productive when we’re in the zone.


In a connection-poor world, it is hard to stay in the zone.  We spend more time making the connections and sorting the items necessary to work rather than actually working and doing the productive stuff.  As an example, think about what it was like to correspond with someone years ago (fill up the ink well, get a feather, find or make some paper, put it in the envelope, address it, find a stamp, post it).  Those are a lot of tasks that detract from writing the actual letter.


Due to a legacy of standalone systems, a connection-poor world gave us silos of data and code.  Now these systems might be in the cloud, but they don’t really talk to each other that well.  For instance, Your CRM is great at being a CRM andyour SharePoint is great at being a CMS.  Sometimes they talk to each other, but not coherently.  They duplicate data and you have to work hard to get them to communicate.This needs to change. Cloud is helping with this change, but we stillhave a way to go.


Peter concluded that a fully connected cloud computer doesn’t just relocate the silos – it merges them together.


Nintex Forms Is Due For A Major Upgrade

Codename Zinc was announced.  It’s a major revamp of Nintex Forms and provides a single interface to create responsive forms across all devices.  Personally, I didn’t mind the current implementation where there are separate layouts for each type of device.  Each layout inherited all properties by default so it’s minimal effort to create one.  However, the trends have spoken and in response, thedesign is in reducing the forms design workload even further.


It also provides a snap-to interface.  If you wanted to add a new field in the middle of your existing fields, they automatically make space.  That resonated very well across the attendees because it’s actually a task we perform quite often and can be a bit fiddly with the current version of Forms. The Nintex App Studio will also enable us to provide more than forms to the end users.  Now the mobile app will surface documents such as PDF’s and render HTML making that user experience even more customised.


Forms will therefore be very easy to deploy across the entire Nintex platform and it’s going to be easier to create them to work on any device whether that device is running a web browser or a native app.  How’s that for connecting up people to the processes and data that they need?


SharePoint Is Here To Stay But…

Yes there will be another on-prem version of SharePoint and it will be more connected than ever.  Our friends at Sharegate will also make sure that Sharegate is right there migrating between versions and when you’re on a version, managing the content and permissions.


On the other side of the Microsoft fence, cloud services such as Box, Dropbox and Google are still going strong. While I think Office 365 is a superior product to the Google suite, the team at Google disagree and so do their customers.  If a customer has all their documents in Google, who am I to come and tell them to put it in SharePoint just so they can work with our workflow product?  They’ll either ask me to use Sharegate to migrate them to Office 365 or they’ll more likely tell me to go away.


We at Provoke recognise people have a choice of provider, Nintex recognises this too.  That’s why they have increased the number of cloud partners they work with.  Nintex really wants to be that glue in the Internet of Things.


If you’re interested to learn more about Nintex, Hyperfish or Sharegate or any of the topics discussed above, then please feel free to get in touch.


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