A Leading Australian University
Streamlining Workflows With Nintex
Synergy simplified our clients on boarding process from 5 - 6 days to 20 Minutes
Nintex Workflow & Process Automation
A complex staff hiring process involving manual data entry and traditional communication methods required streamlining and updating.
The deployment of SharePoint with a few third party software components delivered huge time savings and streamlined processes between departments. This is done by via a Nintex Workflow which drives the approval and rework requirements of the business process.
A hiring cycle that would often take more than a week to complete is now a 20 minute process. The Administration team have greater self sufficiency with automated workflows, huge productivity gains and greater transparency of the entire process.
Our client, a leading Australian university, employs 100’s of temporary training staff on a semester by semester basis. The hiring process previously required many pieces of information being entered into an Excel spreadsheet and then a printed copy being distributed to stakeholders. Subsequent manual steps were required by various areas to complete the process.
Our client’s staff hiring process was dominated by manual data entry, hand-written forms, and traditional phone/email communication with prospective employees being offered temporary sessional contracts. The manual process provided limited visibility of the work schedule lifecycle due to fact that there were many manual steps that were not auditable or traceable. The ability to introduce a transparent and collaborative approach to the process was critical to our client’s ability to reduce administrative overheads and improve the staff hire process.
Synergy was asked to focus on automating and improving three key areas of a heavily manual, errorprone, inter-departmental administration process. These key areas were;
Creation and approval of the work schedules;
Completion and acceptance of the work schedules;
Timesheet completion, upload and approval.
Our client ultimately wanted a no-code solution that was system driven, simple, intuitive, traceable, and met strict document management and auditing policies. We knew that we could deliver a solution that would exceed their expectations and provide a platform capable of future enhancement.
During our review, Synergy identified multiple interface points where third party applications could provide a superior solution. We embarked on designing and implementing a solution to enhance our client’s existing IT infrastructure investment and provide opportunity for future development.
Our design utilises a multi-tier SharePoint 2010 Enterprise farm leveraged across multiple departments, streamlining document management, enabling inter-departmental collaboration and improving the interface. Synergy’s solution was delivered using a combination of;
Nintex workflow to ensure work schedules were auditable and traceable
Breaking down the workflows into smaller segments allowed for better change management. The smaller functional sets trigger each other as tasks progress through the process. We defined the following order to gain these efficiencies;
Initial Approval (State Machine)
Process Form Data
Candidate Offer process
Create Timesheet Transactions
Email Update (when required if a typo happens)
A state machine workflow provides the best solution when it is necessary to jump back and forth between different but repetitive steps in a process, where advancement is dependent on an outcome. The “Flexi task” action is a highly versatile, self-contained action that is similar to the “Request approval” action, as it allows you to request the approval of numerous users and to create alternative outcomes without being bound to only “Approve” or “Reject”. The design is based on standard SP Group Security principles and lookups.
InfoPath 2010 forms for document creation and management
Form performance was critical given the large amount of data, logic and validation to perform when populating the form. We optimised the original form to improve online performance and ensure a pleasant user experience. Further, we reconfigured the form data validation properties and behaviour to remove immediate validation upon field change, implementing a selection box enabling the user to trigger data validation.
SQL to read the InfoPath forms and create the records
We used SQL to write the data to workflow variables and create an SQL record for the employee and for the contract. This removed manual entry by the administration staff and increased the accuracy of the data.
Muhimbi PDF converter for the creation, conversion and security of all contract documentation
The Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint enables end-users to convert, split, merge and secure common document types such as MS-Word, InfoPath, MSG/ EML (email), Excel, HTML, among others, from within SharePoint using custom Nintex and SharePoint Designer workflows or even a Web Service call. Once all data has been committed to the database, PDFs are generated from the InfoPath form using the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint.
Layer 2 BDLC for creating a list connection to the backend SQL Database
We chose Layer 2 BDLC for its interactivity and due to limitations of OOB SharePoint external lists, which Layer 2 BDLC addresses. This is especially relevant for the Universities sessional employees list which has been setup to integrate with Layer 2 BDLC.
Public facing ASP.net website for online offer acceptance
We developed a public facing website built on ASP. NET technology to keep it light and efficient. It’s designed to send approved offers to a candidate with a link providing access to relevant details on an e-response site.
This unified communications solution streamlined processes between departments using a multi-stage state machine workflow which drives the approval and rework requirements of the business process and keeps the process transparent to all involved.
Synergy’s solution deployed a multi-stage state machine workflow to drive the creation, approval and rework requirements of the business process. This increased the accuracy and compliance of contract information and streamlined the processes, reducing the administrative workload. Administration staff are now confident that offers and acceptances will be made in a timely manner and have greater visibility of the contract throughout its lifecycle.
The automated process and use of online forms ensures work-schedule templates are up to date and there is no loss of the paper based transactions, which dogged the previous manual process. Productivity has increased and the whole process has improved customer service.
Decreased Business Risk - our solution provides better document control, backup and disaster recovery solutions and increased data security and management. Reporting allows greater control over the entire process, with easy error identification and resolution.
Our solution used the existing infrastructure to leverage the current IT investment in software assets, allowing project budget to be utilised so Synergy could train essential staff. The University staff have been able to operate autonomously since Synergy handed the project over.
Automated Workflows - provide a seamless process and remove duplication, saving time and effort for administration staff. Data validation, workflow alerts and workflow logic streamline the process and engage staff only when necessary. The workflows provide staff with a clear picture of the status of each workflow step.
Improved Productivity - the offers process now takes 20 minutes rather than a week. This massive time saving allows University staff to focus on other important tasks, safe in the knowledge that the employee offers are being produced efficiently and securely.