Nintex Workflow from a SharePoint Architects Perspective
Updated May 01, 2015

Nintex Workflow from a SharePoint Architects Perspective

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Nintex Workflow for Sharepoint

Overall Satisfaction with Nintex Workflow

Nintex Workflow is used across various business units primarily for approval workflows, however it is also used to provision SharePoint Site Collections and Sub Sites, manage Active Directory User accounts, and integrate with line of business systems.

Each department is empowered to build and manage workflows on their own sites or enlist IT to either create the workflows for them or assist during the process. Typically we see users work with IT resources on their first couple of workflow projects and then branch out on their own.
  • Nintex Workflow does a great job of providing document approval workflows in SharePoint. The workflows can provide multiple approval steps while accepting feedback along the way. At any point the workflow can be designed to route the document back to the author to make the requested changes and then sent back through the approval process. There's also a variety of ways to branch the logic and even run items in parallel.
  • Nintex Workflow has over 100 workflow actions and does a good job of managing items in SharePoint. For example there are actions to copy, check-in/check-out, delete, and move items. Security can also be managed on the items as they go through approvals. Security can be set at the item level to make the item visible only to those reviewing and approving the item while it's in a draft status. Once the item is approved then Nintex could be used to set the item back to inherit permissions from the parent making it available to a broader audience.
  • Nintex Workflow supports various options to schedule or invoke the workflow. For example a list or document library based workflow could be set to start manually or when items are created and modified. This is similar to SharePoint Designer workflows, however one feature I found useful was the ability to add an entry to the context menu to start the workflow manually. This is more convenient than navigating to the workflows page for the list or document library.
  • The product includes support for site based workflows that includes scheduling options similar to the Windows Task Scheduler. For example you can select a schedule start time, repeat settings, and schedule end (data, number of repeats, indefinite).
  • The vendor has a library of "Connectors" which allow Nintex Workflows to integrate with systems such as Box, O365, Google, Salesforce, Docusign, etc. This is a great value add because it helps extend the reach of SharePoint with other systems.
  • The vendor was late to offer an SDK for SharePoint 2013, but they did release it in early 2013.
  • There are built-in reports provided and also web parts that allow you to display the data in a grid or chart based format. The presentation of the data isn't the greatest and the charts have issues depending on the type of browser being used. I would like to see better reporting capabilities in future versions of the product.
  • Managing and monitoring a large number of workflows across the farm can be a bit challenging. The built-in reports will allow both workflow designers and admins the ability to view workflow history, however a dashboard approach maybe more user friendly. In the 3.1.1 version Nintex did include a Support Console which helps in pulling together information to provide to the vendor for support.
  • Training material is very limited. Documentation provided by the vendor doesn't provide enough information to build out anything but the simplest of examples. There are a few vendors who provide Nintex Workflow training as well as a Nintex YouTube channel, but very little written literature on the topic. For example you won't find a book on how to build Nintex Workflows.
  • We purchased Nintex Workflow along with Nintex Forms and together they have provided us the ability to eliminate several paper based processes. The combination of customizing the form and building a robust workflow behind it has brought forth immediate cost savings and really has the departments excited to further leverage the product.
  • We have a couple of Nintex Workflows built out for SharePoint site requests. The user fills out a form for a new SharePoint Site Collection or Subsite providing details on what type of site it is, why it is needed, the target audience, etc. The request goes through a few approval steps and once approved the site is automatically provisioned. The requester is notified as the workflow progresses so they know the status.
  • We use workflows to assist with our document lifecycle. For example the workflows are scheduled to execute on a regular interval and look for items which certain metadata attributes and meet certain age criteria. The content manager is notified when items are approaching an even such as archive or removal and given the opportunity to extend that time.
We evaluated workflow products from Nintex and K2 and felt that both were comparable. Nintex had a slight better user experience for OOB drag and drop capabilities while K2 offered better customization opportunities. In the end we purchased Nintex since our target audience was the content managers and power users and it was cheaper than the K2 product.
During the selection process it's important to understand what the capabilities of the product are and also the learning curve for Content Managers and Power Users to be able to create their own workflows. I would also make a point of knowing what your options are to extend the product since it's lacking an SDK for the 2013 version. If extending the product is important you may want to look at other solutions.

Using Nintex Workflow

15 - Workflows have been created for the HR, Finance, Accounting, Payroll, Legal, IT, and Project Management departments. Some departments have power users that create workflows, while others defer to IT to design and create the workflows for them. When users first begin to use the workflows they typically start with document approval processes and then move onto creating a custom list/form that has workflow functions behind it to extend the capability. For example "Leave Calendars" with a workflow that notifies the manager of the employees intent to take time off, notifies the employee of the managers decision, and also pull in the number of vacation hours available from an HR system have been popular.
8 - We've found that it's helpful to have experience designing business processes as well as a basic understanding of programming principals. For example non-IT users typically aren't aware of conditional statements, arrays, variables, collections, web services, etc. End users who wish to create workflows and do not have this background typically stick with simple approval workflows that do not contain much logic.
  • Document approval workflows
  • On-boarding activities
  • Travel expense reports
  • Leave Calendars
  • New SharePoint site approvals and creation
  • Integration with Salesforce
We are very pleased with the capabilities and reliability of Nintex Workflows and felt we have achieved a significant amount of ROI.

Nintex Workflow Implementation