Externally start Nintex workflows in seconds with Zapier!

Workflow Hero
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If you've ever thought -- "Could I kickoff a Nintex workflow from... " -- then now's the time to start generating external start URLs and connecting your workflows to the Nintex Zap. You can connect your site workflows to Nintex accounts in Zapier and trigger those from the 200+ SaaS connections they have available.

Save time, save resources and save your sanity by externally starting your workflows without writing a single line of code or reading some API documentation.

Sounds exciting eh! Keep reading on how you can implement this today!

Dan Stoll wrote a blog about the release of the External Start feature that allows you to create a REST endpoint for your workflow which then allows you to kick it off outside of SharePoint. This means you can interact other systems/platforms such as SAP, Salesforce, Twitter, Swagger, Slack, Box, Zapier and more to start kicking off your on-premises workflows.

How awesome is this? The real benefit is seen when you connect the systems and workflows in less than five minutes. This is a no-code option to starting workflows externally from other systems, and requires no coding - sorry developers. 

How does it work?

Nintex now has an official Zap that allows you to start an on-premises workflow from an event that has occurred in an external system. Trying to wrap your head around this... check out the below examples to see what others have already started using. 

Connect your workflow to a Zap in seconds

To get started with this integration there a few things you must do first. Well the order doesn't actually matter, but I've done it a few times and this seems to be the best order for getting it done fast.

Step 1: Get your External Start URL and Security Token - Average time 60 seconds

In order to use Zapier, you must first have a workflow setup and ready to be triggered by the Nintex Zap. Seems basic, but totally necessary. Remember that blog I mentioned from Dan Stoll earlier?  If not here it is and it outlines the steps you should take to enable the External Start Feature for Nintex Workflow 2013 Enterprise. To make this super easy for you, I've included a sample workflow which you can download at the bottom of this post and recorded how to import it and generate the external start url below.

Setup external start

Once you've done that and grabbed the URL for the workflow along with the security token, you're ready to head over to Zapier. 

Sample external start info. Do understand that this is a sample and does not work.

Step 2: Setup Zapier account and find Nintex -  Average time 60 seconds

Creating an account on Zapier gives you can access all the features of their platform and helps you manage your Zaps easily. Its a simple step, so don't skip it. Type "Nintex" to reveal the Nintex Zap in the listing, and then click on it to reveal the Nintex Zap page with more details and recommended Zaps to use. I encourage you to explore the available Zaps, and if there is one you want to use that is not there, you can request/suggest it which is another cool feature.

As you learn more about all the cool things you can start a Nintex workflow from, you will come across the app details section which is where you want to be next. This is a very important part in using Zapier so I will spend some time explaining how to do this in Step 3.

Step 3: Connecting your workflow to the Nintex Zap - Average time 30 seconds 🙂

Before getting to this point, lets make sure we have our workflow URL and our security token from above. Easiest thing to do here is copy and paste them into notepad if you can, just to store them temporarily.

Click on Connect Account which will open up this dialog box where you can copy/paste the url and security token.

If you're like me and already have an account connected, you can click on the ellipse to access more options.

Step 4: Find a zap to trigger the workflow- Average time 30 seconds 🙂

If you click on any of the recommended zaps, you will be taken to a setup page where you can configure how the zap will run. Its pretty easy to use, but you will need to have authorization to the systems to grab the necessary information to work with Zapier. For Nintex, you just need the workflow url and security token which will already be registered if you've followed these steps above. 

I used DropBox as my example, but the same applies for Twitter, Salesforce and whatever other zap you want to use. 

Step 5: Enjoy kicking off workflows from Zapier - As fast as you can connect them.

As you start to work with this, you may think of a bunch of cool ideas of things you can automate by using a Zap please add your comments under this post.

Head to Xchange to test out a few Nintex Zaps today:

I've also added some tips that I've found helpful when using Zapier:

  • To manage your accounts, click on your name and you will see "Connected Accounts". This is where you can see all your accounts, Nintex Workflows and others. Naming things properly will help managing it as well, as it can be quite complicated otherwise. 
  • Task History is where you can see the success of your connections and triggering of workflows
  • You cannot use the Nintex Zap as a starter zap. It is setup to trigger a workflow from another system.
  • Each Nintex Zap has its own set of configuration parameters much like the Nintex Connectors. This allows you to pass through information to your workflow from the zap. 
  •   - collection of help content
Process Pupil

This is very cool, Eric.  Thanks for the post and the link to Dan's blog.  Unfortunately, I'm still on the SharePoint/Nintex 2010 platform so this won't work for me.  Are there any plans to add this into the Nintex Workflow 2010 product in future releases?



Nintex Newbie

Thanks Eric, looks brilliant.

Automation Master
Automation Master

This is a brilliant way of integrating Nintex with other systems.  We've always been able to do that except Nintex has usually been the system initiating workflows.  Now it's a bit different and more what the world will look like when Workflow Cloud is released.

Here's a bunch of ideas of how it could be used:

  • Twitter - react to social media trends e.g. collect how many times your organisation is being mentioned over a period of time.  If the trend is abnormal, notify the correct people so they can manage it.  Use Hawkeye to provide analytics on these trends
  • Twitter - collect feedback e.g. for a short survey
  • Twitter/Zendesk - react to notifications e.g. route twitter requests to your help desk.  Naturally you'll have Nintex enterprise and will be able to search for the least busy people based on their Skype for business status
  • Dropbox/OneDrive - react upon file submissions.  e.g. running a tender process, working with external suppliers
  • Salesforce/Dynamics CRM - on board a new customer.  e.g. set up a sharepoint site for them, notify teams (project/accounts etc)