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Applying Nintex Workflow Automation to Your Business

How to Apply a Single Nintex Workflow Automation Engine Across Multiple Applications

Workflow automation is an area of increased focus for businesses looking to improve efficiency and productivity. A common challenge facing these businesses is multiple disparate business systems that are not easily integrated with automation software. This is especially common in the financial services industry where specific line of business applications are often deployed.

How does a CIO ensure that the workflow automation software is applied throughout the organization so that everyone is using it, and the business as a whole, derives maximum benefit?

What is Process Management and Workflow Automation Software?

Workflow automation is the use of technology to automate routine tasks, such as data entry, routing information between parties, organizing documents, approval processes, and more. It makes it simpler for people to work efficiently and work on tasks that are substantive rather than menial, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks.

There are definite benefits to using workflow automation software which include:  

Cost-Savings - Workflow automation allows companies to be more productive and to easily scale up operations when needed, reduce the manual effort involved in employees’ day-to-day processes, and minimize the cost of potential rework due to human error.

Time-Saving - Monotonous tasks, like data entry, can be automated which not only speeds up the process but reduces errors. Gartner estimated workflow automation could save finance departments over 25,000 hours of avoidable rework caused by human errors.

Governance, Risk, and Compliance - A workflow automation platform can improve security and compliance by automatically logging activities and data.

Improved Communication - Most workflow automation applications use visual design tools that enable better collaboration between different teams working on the same process. And enable employees and executive management to see the status of the business processes at every stage.

Interoperability of Workflow Applications

For workflow automation to have the most effective results, disparate systems within the organization need to work with each other. Some workflow automation platforms provide interoperability with other systems via APIs to enable those systems to be included in the workflow process. But while this integration may work in some cases, it often doesn't work for situations where complexity in the required data is introduced. For example, an API may be configured using custom code to work with a SAP BAPI API, but this effectively hard-codes the integration and limits configurability and agility.

With many workflow automation tools offering low-code/no-code functionality, integrations that require complex coding ability and technical understanding degrade the value that the automation tools offer.

Workflow automation software needs to be platform-agnostic, which means that siloed data should be transferable between systems whether they be cloud or on-premise systems. But the unique data structures and formats, particularly for on-premise systems, can create problems when sharing data with workflow automation platforms.

Consequently, the goal of a workflow automation standard across the business can be thwarted by technology inconsistencies.

Nintex

One of the more popular enterprise workflow automation solutions is Nintex. It is a low-code automation platform with a drag-and-drop user interface for creating workflows. The platform also enables the generation, signing, and storage of documents within the software. Nintex can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or in a hybrid environment.  

While Nintex has Connectors that interface to many applications and data formats, there are restrictions in this. The platform does not recognize data unless it is presented in the right format. Therefore, it is unable to integrate with a number of applications, especially legacy on-premise solutions. This means that the aim of having a single workflow engine that operates across multiple systems of an enterprise is potentially negated. Further, the Nintex Connectors cannot consolidate data from multiple sources prior to getting to Nintex, nor can the Connectors efficiently limit the data from the source to only provide the required fields.

So how does a business that uses Nintex ensure that the data in all the applications in its portfolio can be integrated with Nintex?  

The answer is quite simple. The organization needs to adopt a Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP). But there is a caveat. The integration platform not only needs to be able to accept any data format and translate that to one that is suitable for Nintex, but it also needs to support the low-code functionality that many Nintex users need. The platform also should be able to stage or cache data from multiple sources, so that single bulk data loads can be performed instead of repetitive small loads that may exceed Nintex API limits.

An Integration Platform for Workflow Automation

This is where Synatic’s Nimble, Simple, and Powerful Hybrid Integration Platform has a definite advantage as it can accommodate all those requirements. Using Synatic, an organization can adopt a single Nintex workflow engine across multiple systems. This will ensure that the data from those multiple systems is passed into Nintex and returned when finished.

A common use case is a financial services environment that uses SAP for accounting purposes, a bespoke business application for managing insurance quotes, Salesforce for CRM, Microsoft Outlook, and Nintex as the workflow engine.  

Using Synatic addresses the four main data integration challenges of Nintex interface to multiple systems.

  1. Multiple Complex Data Sources

The challenge of multiple data sources can often lead to businesses having to manually transfer data between applications which increases the chance of errors and omissions. Synatic collates and standardizes data sets prior to the exact required payloads of data being pushed into Nintex. This data is then used to create workflows and forms, without having to create complex integrations involving multiple API calls, to extract data from different sources and transform it to a suitable format for Nintex.

  1. Difficulty Managing Data

It is not only multiple source applications that cause problems, but the different data formats these application use means consolidating data can be a challenge. Synatic's dynamic and rapid ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) capability can perform data consolidation from multiple data sources, transform the data into a format that Nintex will accept and load the data so that API limits are not exceeded.

Many financial services companies handle large volumes of data which can present a problem when that data needs to be used by Nintex. Synatic can address this challenge by extracting data and loading it into Synatic's built-in Data Warehouse which stores and consolidates large volumes of data before loading it into Nintex.

  1. Handling On-premise Applications

A common problem with an application portfolio that comprises of cloud and on-premise systems is integrating data from on-premise with cloud systems. Bulk data transfer like SFTP is cumbersome and requires maintenance. Synatic's Relay Technology enables access to on-premise data in real-time and ensures security of the data by encrypting it. The relay agent can both push data out and pull data into Nintex.

  1. Supporting citizen developers

An important feature for many Nintex users is the low-code functionality which allows citizen developers to create workflows without requiring technical support. Synatic’s Low Code, No Code, Your Code capabilities means that users can format and present data from source systems in such a way that citizen developers can easily include the data into their workflows.


Many organizations are implementing workflow automation systems like Nintex to streamline and automate business processes. But designing, building, testing, and maintaining custom integrations to support Nintex in a multi-application environment is a time-consuming task for IT departments. The combination of Nintex and Synatic simplifies the process of workflow automation across multiple systems by providing a solution that moves dynamically with business requirements. Synatic consolidates data from different data sources and in different formats and presents it to Nintex so that an enterprise can achieve the goal of a single workflow engine for multiple systems. If you want to make complex data issues simple and empower your business by gaining the most value out of your Nintex workflows, contact Synatic today.

Jamie Peers
July 20, 2021
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