Terry Simpson is a senior solutions engineer at Nintex, the global standard for process management and automation. He is an experienced PMP-certified project manager, consultant, trainer, and speaker at numerous SharePoint events including SP Tech Con, Nintex User Groups, SharePoint Conference.ORG, SUGDC, SUGATL, and SharePoint Saturday events around the country. Terry is a graduate of Marshall University with a degree in Finance and holds a master’s in Business Administration from Frostburg State University.
Can you tell me more about Williams Engineering Canada’s situation? Why did Williams Engineering Canada choose to automate processes before COVID-19?
The catalyst for automating processes really started with a desire to move IT assets to the cloud. Once that move started, process automation became an obvious way to gain value out of the cloud and mature the process.
What types of processes did the company automate? Are some used more than others?
Williams Engineering Canada started simply with processes like vacation requests. Following that, they moved on to other HR-focused processes that added value back to the business – onboarding, offboarding, reviews, training, etc. All of these forms were available in a central location on SharePoint where employees could get quick access to them.
How has automation helped improve the safety of workers?
In any business, the risk is a major component of employee and organizational longevity. To mitigate that risk, processes or controls are introduced. Safety is a major part of risk reduction. By introducing automation into the equation, workers are guided through a process. The automation helps ensure the processes are followed consistently and removes elements where human error can play a major factor.
How is automation driving greater flexibility for organizations?
In today’s world of automation, solutions can be configured and deployed in a matter of hours or days, not weeks or months. Those organizations that can react quickly to needs have a higher probability of success.
What has the pandemic caused organizations to realize about their processes?
The pandemic has made many organizations realize how many additional processes are capable of being automated. 15 years ago, you were considered “digital” if you had a PDF that was able to be filled in on a computer and then printed out. Many organizations have not made it down the digital maturity path over the years. The less digitally mature organizations must grow quickly. The second thing organizations have learned is that “they can do it”. After getting thrown into the deep end by the pandemic, many organizations now understand that process automation doesn’t need a developer and IT staff to implement – average business users can do it.
Santiago Gomez, director of digital transformation at Williams Engineering Canada
At Williams Engineering our purpose is to brighten the lives of people in our communities by engineering sustainable cities that are safe, inclusive, and resilient. The construction industry is a huge engine of economic growth, and consulting engineering provides essential intellectual capital to build the cities of the future. Digital transformation challenges businesses to re-cast legacy processes with new tools and a new mindset. Technology has decoupled traditional value chains and allowed new service platforms to emerge, empowering creators and consumers alike. Productivity and teammate experience are two of the four main pillars of our digital transformation at Williams Engineering.
Nintex process automation allowed us to digitalize legacy paper and email-based processes into structured data. Process data creates a positive feedback loop for better data-driven decisions and management visibility. Teammates could complete processes easily from their mobile devices without having to re-enter information or route things manually. In 2020, Covid-19 created a whole new paradigm for remote work and safety requirements. Our field staff was able to meet customer needs while at the same time complying with new public health guidelines. With Nintex we have been able to orchestrate and automate processes in Finance, HR, Safety, and more.