What to make of the New Nintex?

On the 1st of October Nintex announced its acquisition of K2. While this news broke as a surprise to many within both companies and the partner eco-system, I, for one, am very excited about the upcoming great consolidation. The combined entity will have 10K+ customers and 200+ million in ARR. That should create a strong vendor and a massive services market for skilled partners.

Nintex has been the biggest competitor of K2. Both brands were building on the Microsoft platform and partnership. I fought on the K2 side for almost a decade before calling truce with Nintex and embracing their relationship. I have witnessed first hand how both brands expertly managed the many attempts by Microsoft (with offerings such as Biztalk, SharePoint, WWF, etc.) to encroach on their market. They both are now facing their biggest threat from a much more profitable and powerful Microsoft, that is run by a very wise Satya Nadella who made it one of the bigger winners of Covid.

I have been a K2 insider and partner since I founded jeylabs in 2009. We worked exclusively with K2 until 2017 and in August that year we announced our partnership with Nintex and have been delivering solutions using both Nintex and K2 technologies for customers globally. We have also partnered with UiPath for their RPA offerings (before Nintex’s acquisition of RPA capabilities).

As the competition heats up in the RPA space with the domination of UiPath and the consolidation happening around Microsoft, Google, AWS, Nintex and UiPath, as they acquired other players, the latest move by Nintex to buy K2 is the major event within the Microsoft ecosystem and the wider process automation space.

jeylabs has been developing our flagship PowerToolz suite of automation products exclusively for K2. We also launched a cyber secure e-sign product called GetSignature in 2020 with integrations to K2. The consolidation of K2 and Nintex creates a much larger market for our products. So, we are very excited about this news as we build tight integrations to Nintex & other platforms in our products.

It will be interesting to see how the consolidated entity will look like. Customers and Partners will obviously have many questions. What are the consolidated offerings? Will there be a conversion or upgrade path? Will there be changes to the way Nintex runs its services engagements? What about the various partner programs and certifications?

K2 and Nintex had their unique roots. K2 was born in South Africa and Nintex came out of OBS based in Melbourne, Australia. They had differentiated offerings. Nintex was about ease of use and it used to require SharePoint to exist. K2 was a server product with a developer focus and didn’t have any of its own forms capabilities back in the day. Over time, they both grew their many powerful capabilities.

K2’s patented smart objects technology has been its strength when it comes to data access and systems integration. Nintex has its own connector framework. K2’s smart forms technology relies on its smart objects stack. K2’s process engine is a mature enterprise class server product. It is well suited for on-prem installations.

K2 still doesn’t have all the capabilities offered by the Nintex platform such as process mapping (promapp), and RPA. But, overlaps do exist in both brands’ process automation and form technology offerings. Nintex acquired RPA capabilities and partners with Adobe to offer its Nintex Sign product. K2 doesn’t have native RPA capabilities. It integrates with UiPath. K2 also doesn’t have e-sign capabilities. It integrates with Docusign.

Nintex entered the cloud space well before K2. So, their cloud platform is very mature. K2 was late to the cloud game but has recently announced their K2 Nexus offering for the cloud and has been making some serious progress in cloud with superior capabilities.

Both brands currently have comparable mobile offerings and comprehensive integration capabilities with Microsoft, salesforce, SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow and other platforms.

Soon, there will be some headcount reductions as both companies work to consolidate their operations. Since K2 and Nintex have been bitter rivals for over a decade, there will also be some unavoidable friction with people integration.

As for the integration of product capability and offerings, any meaningful integration will take at least 12 months. K2 and Nintex have great teams of techies and committed consultants. They have no shortage of passion. I believe the challenge will be getting access to the rare bunch of people who have intimate knowledge of both technologies as well as willingness to work together.

As for existing on-prem customers, they will need to move to one of the cloud offerings or upgrade to on-prem products. K2 has been trying to upgrade everyone to cloud and jeylabs has a workflow conversion product to make this smoother. Nintex could offer free conversions to keep the customers happy. We have to watch this space.

On the sales and marketing side, I would think the net new customers will have to be marketed to try & buy the Nintex product suite by default and purchase the current K2 branded products only as a fall back. Looking at what Nintex did with their Promapp & RPA acquisitions, I can predict that the K2 products may be available for purchase as a Nintex brand initially but will be phased out and integrated into core features of the wider platform. This could spell disaster to those loyal K2 partners unless they diversify. Most of them will likely focus on UiPath unless Nintex woo them with some initiatives.

As for the state of competition, although there are still plenty of players in the process automation game, UiPath along with Microsoft, will remain as a serious competitor of the new Nintex.

With Microsoft getting into the game of RPA and Process automation via its recent acquisitions and build up of native capabilities such as the Power platform, the new Nintex will have to manage their partnership with Microsoft carefully.

The terms of this acquisition are not disclosed. The deal is now fully transacted.

If you have questions or concerns about this development, you can certainly share them with me by sending an email to nintex@jeylabs.com

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