Prepare for success
- This example applies to Nintex Workflow for SharePoint 2013 only.
- You must be assigned to the Designer role.
- Microsoft Power BI is required for your data visualizations. A free download is available on the Microsoft Power BI getting started page.
Note: For this example, you can use other Nintex Workflow product offerings; however, the required permissions with vary between products.
Capture business process metrics
Following are the important areas to focus before you instrument your workflows to capture business process metrics.
Nintex Hawkeye process beacons
In the Nintex Workflow designer, the following actions can be used to capture business process metrics on a specific stage or action in a workflow for the process intelligence lens views.
Process beacons help you customize a process intelligence lens by emitting custom dimensions and properties. A process may emit categories or values specific to a particular stage of a process. For example, you can measure the approval process time for a project. By emitting these values, you can provide contextual insights into the process.
Note: These actions are not necessary to create a process intelligence lens. By default, data is emitted from the entire workflow when you create a process intelligence lens. For example, when a process starts and ends, or when an action begins and finishes. However, you can use these actions to drill into a specific workflow context or custom event.
Logs a specific beacon value to Nintex Hawkeye. This action emits additional data from the workflow you want to report on. For example, you can use the beacon to report on any workflow context you have, including variables and list items. The beacon action can be placed anywhere in the workflow. You can add additional beacons as desired.
Beginning Beacon and Ending Beacon
Logs the start and end of a process stage with Nintex Hawkeye. With these actions, you can report on a specific process stage of the workflow. For each action, you need to name the stage you are highlighting in the Stage Name field (required). You can also choose to include an expected duration for the stage to complete. The Expected Duration property measures how long the process takes to complete against what you expect. For example, you may want this stage of the workflow to complete within 30 minutes, and test that number with the process intelligence lens report.
The process stage represents a defined stage in a workflow consisting of one or more actions. The event is processed when the stage starts and ends.
In the process intelligence lens Power BI template, the query table called ProcessStages contains the raw data that is emitted by the workflow for the data views. In the graphic below, the ProcessStage table contains the Stage Name and Expected Duration values configured in the Beginning Beacon and Ending Beacon actions. The WorkflowInstanceID column can be used to create relationships between various tables as you create your data model.
Identify a workflow process to capture key metrics
To identify a workflow process
Determine what part of the business process you want to measure.
Is it one or multiple workflows? A stage of it?
For example, you may want to measure the approval process time for a project, perhaps you have an onboarding workflow where you want to measure the process efficiency when setting up a new employee, or you just want to see how long it takes for expense requests to go through.
Choose one or multiple workflows you are already using such as an approval process, or create a new a test workflow to try out the process intelligence lens.
Here are some examples.
Instrument your workflow with Hawkeye beacons
To instrument your workflow
Create a data dashboard on a specific part of a business process as follows.
In the workflow, drag and drop a Beginning Beacon action immediately before the start of the process you want to measure. The Ending Beacon action is placed immediately after the end of the approval section as shown in the following example from Nintex for SharePoint Workflow designer.
Note: To accurately capture the start and end of the process you are interested in, use both the Beginning Beacon and the Ending Beacon workflow actions.
Create a dashboard on a workflow context.
For this, you use the Beacon action, and configure the action to emit from the workflow context you are interested in. The beacon action can be placed anywhere in the workflow. You can add additional beacons as desired.
Create a process intelligence lens.
When you create the lens, use the workflows (with beacon actions) that are involved in the process.
Connect the lens to Power BI and create your data visualizations.
After connecting your data to Power BI (using your dashboard connection), you can create data visualizations for the process intelligence lens. The Nintex/Power BI template provides some examples of visualizations using your data.
Check for success
- Were you able to connect Microsoft Power BI and return the process information from the workflow execution?