It's no secret today's CIOs are under the gun to show a clearer return on investments while racing to meet demands from business users for applications.

This is especially true as businesses move into the age of the customer (AoC), according to John Rymer, one of two Forrester Research analysts who spoke on a CMSWire webinar yesterday.

Ryan Duguid, vice president of products at Nintex, filled out the program, which was sponsored by Nintex and titled "Total Economic Impact of a Workflow Automation Solution: An Independent Case Study." You can watch the full presentation by clicking here or on the video at the end of this story.

Today's customer-centric business world is characterized by new points of contact with customers, like mobile and the cloud. Business process management (BPM) tools of yesteryear simply can't keep up with the pace of technological change that is needed to compete and win.

'Insane' Demands


"At this point, we have folks who are expecting and needing software delivered on just insane schedules," said Rymer, VP and senior analyst for application development and delivery. "Business process is going to be a key technology we use to rise to this challenge. And it's the latest challenge that we find folks using business process platforms to tackle."

Instead of automating production processes as in the past, IT pros are now tasked with enabling engagement with customers.

"We find in our research that many, many customer applications, particularly mobile applications, have very sophisticated processes running behind them," said Rymer. "In particular, business-to-business processes really have very strong process automation and process management requirements."

Rymer listed three AoC-related factors that are driving this demand:

  • Omnichannel communications across the web, mobile, kiosks and other channels;
  • Transactions in the public cloud; and
  • Low-code development, which speeds creating of new processes by using less code.


Case Study

Under commission from Nintex, Forrester conducted an independent study of the economic impact of a workflow process platform that address those needs. Sarah Musto, an associate consultant at Forrester, said a fictitious company in the study was based on the an average of the answers provided by five Nintex customers.

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"Relying on custom code to automate some of those processes was often quite painful. It was time-consuming and inflexible to changing business processes. This meant that automation was too slow to keep up with business demand," she said.

"Nintex enables increased productivity and simpler workflow development resulting in a three-year ROI of 176 percent," Musto said. Her analysis also found a net present value of just over $1 million with a payback period of 10.5 months.

Costs and Savings

The study found a productivity gain for end-users of $1.47 million over three years and a gain of $258,000 for full-time IT users. Finally, it resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the time needed to automate processes and a 20 percent cut in time for managing and supporting those processes.

Learning Opportunities

Beyond the quantifiable savings, Musto noted the effort resulted in development of best practices, improved compliance, the ability of some business users to create their own workflows and the potential for users to complete additional, revenue-producing projects.

To be sure, there are also significant costs, including $120,000 for licensing and support over the three years, $5,000 for training, $20,000 in costs associated with end users, $137,000 for work by IT staff and $300,000 for professional services needed to get the system up and running. Total: $622,000.


Wrapping up the presentation, Duguid offered a range of numbers that reflect the scale of Nintex, which has 5,000 customers in 90 countries and 1,100 partners.

One customer has automated 12,000 workflows, he said.  One of the more complex workflows has 5,000 elements, and a Japanese automaker runs its workflows 400,000 times a month.

"We're focused on taking everyday users and turning them into workflow professionals who are empowered to solve their own business problems without needed to turn to an army of developers, because most organizations don't have or cannot afford an army of developers today," he said.

To underscore his point, Duguid noted that one client now has 1,000 certified workflow professionals on its staff.

Title image by Everett Historical/Shutterstock.