Shaun chats with Chris Ellis (Director of Presales at Nintex) on Nintex’s latest acquisition of RPA leader Kryon. 

Transcript

Shaun Leisegang:
Hey everyone. And today I’m extremely excited to welcome Chris Ellis back to the show. Chris has joined us previously and we cannot wait to speak with him again. For those of you who don’t know Chris, he’s the director of pre-sales at a company called Nintex and he’s a master in all things, no code, low code process automation, digital transformation, and business transformation. So, Chris, great to have you back on the show.

 

Chris Ellis:
Thank you, Shaun. It’s a pleasure as always to join you.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah, absolutely, man. I know you’re a busy man, so I really appreciate your time. And we’re really looking to hearing some exciting news. That’s been coming out of the Nintex camp. So I won’t break the news. Chris, can you tell us, or can you share any of the exciting news with us?

 

Chris Ellis:
When you said there was exciting news, I’m trying to, there’s so much going on in the sort Nintex ecosystem. Is he talking about the AssureSign acquisition, bringing native digital signature of the platform? Is he about ProcessFest, which was our awesome conference at the start of March? But I think you’re talking about the cry on acquisition that came in just on Valentine’s weekend, actually.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Bingo mate. My son’s birthday’s on Valentine’s day. So when I saw the news, it was, yeah, it was great to see, but yeah, that’s exactly what I’d like you to tell us.

 

Chris Ellis:
So is my wedding anniversary. So very strategic of me to pick Valentine’s weekend as the wedding anniversary.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Very clever, very clever.

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. So we’re super excited with the acquisition of Kryon and it is from a sort of cultural point of view from what we understand the company, but also product fit. When you think of the whole sort of Nintex is map, manage, optimize, and automate approach, crown capability really fits in very, very well with that. They’ve even got very similar terminology on their website homepage around that too.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Brilliant. And for kind of the viewers and listeners that don’t know anything about Kryon, why don’t we start there. Tell us a bit more about who Kryon are and kind of some of the things they do.

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. So Kryon is essentially a process discovery and RPA company. So they work with medium to large enterprises on the task mining process, mining elements of our day to day work, which is a really nice fit. When you think of Nintex as having Promapp and analytics as sort of bookends, it extends that to the other side of the Promapp journey. So what we hear from some Promapp customers is I don’t have time to workshop these processes or I’m busy, how am I supposed to communicate what I do as a process? Well, Kryon is a perfect fit as a lead in to actually answer that question. It’s got listeners, it’ll step through the journey of an actual process sales processes, support those processes, so on so forth, and it will record those steps. And what I loved about it as well, it then has this intuitive artificial intelligence based move into RPA.

 

Chris Ellis:
So when you’ve done the discovery, you’re able to actually export it straight out into an RPA bot, which is an amazing secondary, I guess, piece of the acquisition. Gartner named them as a top five RPA provider, which is pretty cool. And it’s a space that Nintex already plays in with the RPA capability. It’s very nice to be recognized as a leader in that space. Revenue growth year on year, proven revenue growth, which is obviously very nice for an acquisition, global partnerships, global customers. There’s a lot of great synergies with Nintex, headquartered out of Tel Aviv, R&D is in Tel Aviv as well. And we sort of see them split into four distinct, I guess, solution overview, let’s call it. So process discovery, which is actually something that they’ve trademarked as well, attended automation. So that personal assistant probably quite used to that with the RPA stuff already, unattended automation and then a hybrid automation approach as well.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Awesome. And the hybrid automation is that like a mix between attended and unattended? So I might have my personal assistant, but then I laid that off onto kind of a backend bot that can go do something for me in the back?

 

Chris Ellis:
Correct. Yeah. And I loved some of this stuff when we did the due diligence, I got a bit of a play and it actually, I didn’t know what the application was called because for sort of pre-acquisition reasons, they white labelled the whole thing. So I’m like, “What is this tool? This is really cool.” But it had this very clever, almost like a step through. So you were able to work with the bot for some of those attended examples. So it was almost like coaching, but I saw it as an amazing enablement tool as well. So for new starts, how do I do a renewal process in Salesforce, click on the bot and the bot will help me and it will wizard based guide me through. So I thought some of those little things were really cool as well. Really good technology.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Mate sounds awesome. Right? Sounds awesome. So let’s just go back through some of those products, right? So this process discovery piece up at the front. So, I mean, I think you and I both come across lots of customers that, I mean, people are just busy nowadays, right? There’s lots of stuff going on in businesses. And this process discovery is very, very cool to be able to eliminate the need to do loads of workshops, deep dive, get the bright people in the room and all that type of thing. So when they do process discovery, does it kind of, is it like an agent you set up on your machine and does it kind of watch the clicks that you do? Or how does it work?

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. So similar to sort of a recorder and it will take those steps and what it does really well is it actually screenshots the steps. And I found that I think having come from the Promapp space where we do things like you’ll upload an image, click here and you’ll use videos within a Promapp process to explain it, having it screenshot by this process recorder was super helpful. And it was very intuitive and I sort of … It negates the need to store and screenshot and snag it and all these other tools. So I thought that was clever shared processes. So if myself and somebody from sales are on the same process, it can actually collaborate. So it can actually form that bridge between if and I are on the same process, we do something as, as pre-sales leads, it will work across both personnel.

 

Chris Ellis:
So I thought that was very cool as well. And then it’s got that export to RPA capability, but what I loved and it’s something that we hear a lot is how do I know what I want to automate? And their process discovery tool had a really clever, it was not, I’m not going to say hidden away, but it wasn’t as front and centre as I think it should be. Because I thought it was massively important, but it was a low hanging fruit versus ROI type comparison. So a bit of a matrix based on the processes that you have mind and discovered as to which ones would give you bang for buck, if you went to automate them. So a really cool table as part of that process, discovery lens that would help a centre of excellence or a partner or a professional services as to figure out what to build. And it sort of helped you stack rank that as well, so lots of really clever things in the process discovery tool.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah, man, I mean, it sounds amazing. Sounds like a really great company with some great customers and great technology. So I mean, obviously this is plugging, maybe not some gaps, but it’s enhancing what’s already in the Nintex process platform. So where do you see the acquisition happening? I mean, where do you see in your world where these prime products are going to make a massive difference for you and some of the conversations you have every day?

 

Chris Ellis:
Like for us, it’s definitely the discover to automate side. So when we think about what we’ve got already, we’ve got Promapp with the workflow generator, we’ve got the sort of intelligent PDF forms converter. So where we look at discovery is in that acceleration. So getting things done much quicker, identifying what to build is a really common ask as well. How do I know which ones to automate? Where do I begin? Well with something like this, you’ve already done that discovery lens. And you’re also negating the need for somewhat time, poor people to do workshops, like you said. And, you know, time being a commodity that there are no refunds on, that’s pretty important. Can’t get that time back. If I can click record, record a process, build a bot, or what if I can build a workflow or what if I can translate that to a form or what if I can plug in a and other piece of application technology like import Visio or another discovery tool and build workflows and automate as a result, sort of building this real full life cycle of process discovery and automation.

 

Chris Ellis:
So it’s going to be great from that side of things. The RPA capability as well is super are strong. I mean you don’t become a leader in that space with the vendors that you and I already know exist without being pretty damn good. Some of the things I like when I played with it were it’s very intuitive. So when you’re working in an application, the things that you want to do in that application as an RPA designer are front and centre. You’re not three, four levels deep. It recognizes what you’re working in. It says sort of, “Do you want to do this? Do you want to, is it Excel functions, their front and centre?” I thought the triggers were really good as well. So the ability to schedule is something that we don’t currently have in the RPA capability. I thought some of the other triggers from events were very comprehensive from a bot point of view.

 

Chris Ellis:
They have a credentials vault, which is something that we have been asked for with RPA. They’ve also got shared data as well and email settings. That’s some of my, I’m not going to say frustrations or Achilles heel, but when we build workshops, we have to configure that for each bot. So if you’re doing an SMTP and you’re interrogating an email inbox as part of the current RPA, you need to set all that up for each RPA. Now they have a vault for all that. And I did find that a massive time save, chuck it in there once, set and forget. And it’s good for all your bot agents.

 

Chris Ellis:
So lots to like, there’s lots of good insights, RPA analytics. Yeah, really good wizard based stuff. So the whole process to RPA was very intuitive. I got no training. I might be that wired, but I picked it up really easily. And to be able to give sort of ponderings and thoughts on what worked, what wasn’t so good, I thought it was super intuitive, which I know fits well with Nintex’s sort of mission statement and go to market as well.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Man, awesome. I mean, it sounds exciting and it sounds like it’s going to fit really, really nicely into the Nintex process platform, but before we delve more into that, I mean, obviously with any acquisition. What does it mean for Kryon customers? I mean, are the products still available? So for any Kryon customers, can they still buy Kryon as it is at the moment?

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Yep. Still there. And it is, I mean, what we’re seeing the buying journey is definitely split between those that want just the discovery side and those that want just the RPA side. And obviously there’s both, but what it’s going to do for, and what it’s done for K2 customers, for AssureSign customers, for Promapp customers, is it leverages all the great things that Nintex brings to that. So the support side of things, professional services, such a strong channel network of obviously which you’re well aware of. R&D around the world, a staff of over a thousand, because they’re somewhat smaller companies and we’re able to then bring them into full release life cycle and all the great marketing events and the ecosystem exposure. So it’s a really harmonious story, I think, for existing customers that may well want to leverage an automation platform as a result or the Promapp platform as a result.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Mate, awesome. I mean, it sounds like there’s some really great benefits out of the acquisition that current Nintex customers and partners will get. And of course we forget about the other side, but there’s obviously a load of Kryon customers and partners out there that might have been crying out for some of the features and functionalities that the Nintex process platform has. So it sounds like a really good mix between those two, right?

 

Chris Ellis:
Yep. Yeah. And even before we’ve cut things over like sales processes and the website and so on, we were already seeing customers really, really interested in what this can do. Can you refer us to Kryon sales? I mean, it’s gone gangbusters even since February, we’re only a month, we’re at six weeks sales, not even …

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. I mean, really, really exciting for Nintex partners and customers. And as we said, benefits from both sides of that kind of sphere. So people did want to learn more about Kryon’s process discovery and the RPA products. What’s the best way to go about that?

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. So, I mean, at the moment kryonsystems.com is it’s probably the best place to go. That’s got all the existing, the learning academy, the trial process. There’s a lot of really good stuff in there already. Obviously we have cut marketing across websites, across community. Those sort of things are in motion, given it’s five weeks since acquisition, there are full enablements coming out for the channel, full enablement coming out for internal customers. So lots of wheels in motion at moment, but I would definitely say kryonsystems.com. There’s also some YouTube stuff up there as well. So yeah, there’s a lot of great information already there.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Brilliant. Sounds good mate. And I know I checked out some of the YouTube demos already. It does look really, really good. So obviously in your magic bag of tricks that you get to show customers and partners on a daily basis, have you got the crime tools in your bag of tricks just yet? Or are you waiting for things to settle around?

 

Chris Ellis:
We do. We do. We’ve got our VMs up and running and yeah, we’ve got the early access stuff. I mean, we’re doing this properly, so we’ve got the cut over to sales towards the end. I mean, obviously we’re right at the end of a sales quarter, so we don’t want to distract the existing teams with new shiny things as much as they really want to get their hands on it. So yeah. We’ll make sure we do that properly and structured.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Awesome. And you’ve obviously had a little bit of a play with it even when it was white labelled and that type of thing. I mean, what’s your initial thoughts? I mean, you’ve given us some great context. What are the initial thoughts? A big thumbs up, thumbs down?

 

Chris Ellis:
I mean, like I said, without … I missed, so I think I was on leave and Dean had a powwow with the guys there. So he got the whole, the red carpet rollout and I got sent a URL to log into and I found it so intuitive. I mean, it was really easy to follow maybe 20 minutes worth of intro videos. And I was doing a process. So I actually did a report creation for our op influence within Salesforce. And it was able to record that it was then able to build a bot for me. So those things were just quick and easy. Like I said, I love the shared data sources, the shared credentials vault shared settings around email and so on for RPA, the discovery stuff was, I love this process list recommendation, which for customers that are looking at automation or where do I even begin, I thought that was just such a no brainer.

 

Chris Ellis:
And I would imagine doing a lot of marketing around that because it takes a really big box for a lot of people, low hanging fruit versus where do I engage the channel versus what could I push to my COE. Screenshot view is super helpful and it actually aligned really nicely to Promapp, so I can see discover a process, build a process Promapp, build a workflow as being one of these lovely sort of automation life cycle things. Obviously with analytics over the top, export in RPA was really native. It was nice and easy. It adds to that PDF forms, converter and workflow generator acceleration piece. So saving developer hours, saving COE hours, saving professional services costs, and so on. Lots to like. Really clean as well, overall as a user experience, it was nicely rounded. It felt like it had been built for the 2020s. It wasn’t a hark back to sort of a decade ago with a little bit clunky. It was super easy to use and it was very, very friendly UX as well.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Mate, awesome. I mean, it sounds like a great acquisition for you guys. Sounds like it’s going to flip very nicely into the Nintex process platform. And of course, as I always say, it’s bringing together those worlds of humans and software bots working together. So now it’s really full end to end kind of process automation. It’s about finding out what you should automate once you know what you should automate, maybe automatically generating some of those bits and pieces, but then most importantly giving the right person or bot the right kind of thing to go and do. So we can still carry on freeing up humans time from tedious, mundane, repetitive, and obviously pass that onto the software bot side. And then when needed loop humans in at the right time of the conversation to kind of get that intuition and all that great stuff going from us as human users.

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. And I also loved some of the side conversations that come out of, I guess, process and task discovery in general, which in a way relates to this hot topic of when are we all going back to the office, because through discovering the happy path, you’re able to see where are exceptions being taken, where are shortcuts being taken.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah.

 

Chris Ellis:
Are we accountable at home as we were in the office when we’ve sort of got this whole big brothery type thing where we’re in a shared office and people looking over us? Are we still productive? Are we doing things the right way? Are we doing inductions properly? It sort of expands the conversation, which is quite a hot topic at the moment as well, to being able to prove the point that hybrid offices might work or that at home might work. We don’t have to come in and be monitored all the time. And I think like task and process also can help with that conversation as well. So there’s all these little side avenues that I felt things could go down with this technology as well, other than just the what do I do? Can I build a bot? There’s a lot of real good business conversation and management conversation to come out of it.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Mate, awesome. Well, we can’t wait to have a play when all the tools are out and we can have a little look-see, but yeah, we really appreciate you taking the time just to share the latest news with us. As you said, there’s always some great, exciting things coming out of the Nintex camp. So you never know which one we might talk about on any given day.

 

Chris Ellis:
It’s so hard being a pre-sales team. When you hear the acquisition or the brand new feature conversation, it’s met with excitement and then a little bit of trepidation, “Another thing to learn.” It’s like, “Okay, here we go. Let’s ramp up. Let’s do this.”

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Awesome. All right. Great. Well, I think that’s it for the Kryon part of the conversation, but now it’s onto my favourite part of these episodes and that’s onto something that we call The Hot Seat, right? So The Hot Seat’s where we get to fire quick questions to you, it’s maybe outside the world of tech, maybe inside the world of tech, it’s all just to get the audience to know you a little better. So the first question that I have for you, Chris, is what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Chris Ellis:
I actually wanted to be a doctor. My dad’s a doctor and I wanted to be a doctor until I got to an age where I understood just how much blood and guts and people complaining it involved and I move quite swiftly into wanting to be a race car driver. I took a pretty quick tangent.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Brilliant. And did you ever follow that race car driver dream? Did you ever, were you into racing at any stage?

 

Chris Ellis:
We did some amateur stuff  down near Edinburgh. So we had a rental car, 182, that a couple of us took down to for race days and things, but no, never. I just was never small and skinny enough to fit into like the single seaters and the carts and things.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Mate, life goals. Listen, there’s still a lot of life.

 

Chris Ellis:
There’s still time. There’s still time.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Maybe we can get you into a car, we’re going to get you into a car.

 

Chris Ellis:
All right.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Brilliant. All right. So let’s move on to bucket lists. So what is something on your bucket list that you’ve already managed to tick off?

 

Chris Ellis:
I tick off Monaco Grand Prix.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Okay. That is a goodie. That is a goodie.

 

Chris Ellis:
Yeah. So this was on honeymoon and it was a prerequisite to spending three weeks in Southern Europe was we kicked it off with the Monaco Grand Prix. It wasn’t an awful lot of resistance from the other half actually. So it must have been on her bucket list too.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Then you married well, you married well. It’s all good. And let’s look at the opposite of that. So what’s something on your bucket list that you haven’t managed to take off just yet?

 

Chris Ellis:
That’s quite a bit. I want to drive an F1 car. I think I’m going to have to drop down maybe the F3 or Formula Four, but I want to do the Abu Dhabi, single seater, Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina. I missed out on it. We were supposed to do it on honeymoon. Our flight was delayed by a day, so I missed it. I would’ve landed on the … They only do it on certain days and I landed a day late, so I missed it. So it’s still on the bucket list.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Right. That sounds awesome. You might have to live stream that or we might have to strap the camera to you-

 

Chris Ellis:
I’ll stick the GoPro onto the helmet and we can do it. Yeah.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Awesome. All right. And maybe it’s something that maybe a favourite book, maybe something that you’re reading at the moment, maybe something you’d recommend that people give go.

 

Chris Ellis:
A moment. I’m reading a book called The Psychology of Money, which is, I reckon anybody who buys things, saves things, invests in things should read this book. It is an incredible psychological insight into the market, into buying hold strategies, into what happens after wars. It is such a good read. I’ve actually read it twice. And I think I might do a third read. I’ve got a flight to Brisbane coming up. So I might start it again. I think like everyone I got into the whole sort of, I guess, investing and crypto and these sort of things. Post-pandemic when everyone thought the dip had hit and I thought, well, I better actually do some proper education because there’s a lot of FUD out there. There’s a lot of people trying to give you their own opinion. This book is solid, solid stuff. It’s very good.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Mate, awesome. I’m definitely going to add that to my reading list. I’ve actually come across it. I haven’t read it yet, but I might bump it up the list because certainly all that personal finance crypto, all of the craziness that goes around it, yeah, definitely something …

 

Chris Ellis:
No, and it’s backed by evidence. You can’t argue with the facts. It’s very, very … And it’s got quite a satirical view on historical market and historians and that sort of thing. You can’t always learn from history and you can’t always future proof yourself, but it’s a very good read if you’re in that space.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Brilliant. It’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. And last but not least, how do you want to be remembered?

 

Chris Ellis:
Okay. There’s all these like David Brent quotes around a friend first, a boss second and an entertainer third, but like maybe just someone that you know, was nice to deal with and a bloody good bloke, I think. I try, I try. I try.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Yeah. Brilliant, mate. I can definitely say from outside you are a bloody good bloke. So you’re well on track for that. Mate, thanks so much for taking the time for joining us today, for sharing the latest news in the Kryon acquisition. But just before we say goodbye, any parting thoughts, comments you want to leave the listeners and viewers with?

 

Chris Ellis:
When was the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When is the second best time? Today. So I think for everyone that thinks that the digital transformation thing might have passed them by, it is never too late. There’s always a good time to start, which is today.

 

Shaun Leisegang:
Mate, I love that quote and that translates through starting on your digital transformation journey, personal finances, investing anything. So it’s a beautiful, beautiful quote to end off on. All right, Chris. Awesome. Thanks so much once again for your time. And we look forward to speaking to you soon. See you.

 

Chris Ellis:
Likewise, take care. Bye for now.