Nintex have just officially released their new Nintex Mobile product this week.
The main premise of the product is to expose your forms via employee or customer devices. What’s even better is that the application is free albeit there is the obligatory prerequisite of Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms (both 2013 – see here for exact details).
Nintex Mobile is a paradigm shift for many. Historically, workflows have indeed been utilised to drive and govern internal business processes. The trouble was empowering users not actively using SharePoint to initiate processes.
Through features like Lazy Approval, participants in a workflow were able to easily interact with a workflow and response to allocated tasks when outside of the office. This USP of Nintex opened up workflow participation to those that either did not want to or did not need to interact with SharePoint directly (and those that simply loved to just use their Blackberry’s).
This scenario played through well enough, but many organisations have gone full circle with end user expectations. Now that those who don’t want to use SharePoint are now indirectly using SharePoint, they want to do more SharePoint tasks outside of SharePoint.
Makes sense right?
Enter Nintex Mobile…
Install the application on a supported device, and you can connect to your corporate network (assuming the networking and infrastructure ninjas are on side), and be presented with:
- Tasks assigned to you from workflows
- Forms that have been published with a Nintex Mobile view
That second point is the most interesting for us. It’s not revolutionary for those who have the time, money, or inclination to build their own mobile app (and the staying power to maintain device compatibility), but is revolutionary for those that have forms and processes in place and want to expose this in a solution that “just works”.
Previously we had Nintex Live (and still do), however the dedicated mobile application now offers:
- Proactive form usage – create new items such as leave requests and expense submissions (more on this one in a minute!).
- Offline usage – create items and synchronise when you are next connected.
- Attachment of images from your devices camera and geo-tagging these
The applications for this is vast. You can extend your BYOD (bring your own device model) to your internal business processes.
Expenses workflows can have its submission form exposed and employees can submit their expenses and take pictures of the relevant receipts.
Alternatively you can empower your mobile workforce with a new product or way of working to gather information out in the field. Why can’t our local authorities take a picture of that newly discovered pothole (or allow the public to do so!), and submit this into a list which in turn kicks off a workflow to allocate an inspector to investigate?
…and to further labor the point, perhaps we will see an advert on the local job boards – “Temporary staff required for survey work in the local area. Must have own iPad or Windows Surface”. Excellent – burstable staff numbers with no additional IT overhead.
Technically, you just need to publish a mobile form from within Nintex Forms as below:
Once published, it will show up in the list of forms available within the mobile application. Note that the application will bind to the applicable form depending on the device (mobile or tablet).
There you go! You can now extend your forms easily onto mobile devices in a few clicks.
I came across a few gotchas:
- You can’t (yet) use all field types in a mobile form such as repeating regions
- The Windows 8 experience is much nicer than iOS much to my dismay. Nintex forms on a Microsoft Surface looks brilliant