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Hybridization of Your Business: On-Prem to O365

Moving your business from an on-premises SharePoint environment to the cloud-based Office 365 (O365) environment can be a complex, costly, and time-consuming process.  That’s why a lot of companies take a piecemeal approach.  Some of the business will stay on-premises, as they move a piece at a time to the cloud.
This is a safe and reasonable approach.  Now what if you have business processes, built using Nintex Workflow and Forms on-premises and you are moving part of that to O365?
There are few things you can consider.
Moving the Entire Business Process
This is feasible to do.  Building a workflow in Nintex Workflow for Office 365 is a little different from the on-premises version, in that we are dealing with very different environments, with different workflow engines and security.  But for the most part, you can do everything you were doing on-premises, in Office 365.
Take into consideration, that there may be a different way to design your workflow in Office 365, compared to the way you did it on-premises.
Moving Part of a Business Process
Splitting up a business process into two, an on-premises piece and O365 is possible too.  This is actually what a lot of people do at the start, since business processes are rarely limited to a single list, library, or even site.
There are usually logical places in the workflow that a business process can be split into two or more distinct processes.  If that is the case, a process that you have that starts in your on-premises environment, can get to a logical place in your workflow to then kick off a workflow in Office 365.
To get this part working, you’re going to need to use the Office 365 specific actions in the on-premises version of Nintex Workflow.  When you have your workflow open, on the ribbon, click on the Nintex Live Catalog button.  From here, you’ll be able to add actions from the catalog, into your designer.  The easier next steps, would be to open the catalog and do a search for O365.  Then, when you’re provided with all the actions, click Add-on for the ones that you need.
nintex work flow picture
There are a few specific actions that most people use in this scenario.  Office 365 Create List Item or Document Set.  This will create an item in an Office 365 list and will instantiate a workflow.
Also take into consideration, that sometimes you will want to not create an item, but instead update or even delete an item. Or, in the situation where you are dealing with documents, you could be uploading a document to an Office 365 document library.
Communicating Back to On-Prem
Since most on-premises environments are locked down, this may not be a possibility.  From an Office 365 workflow, you could call a couple of web services in your existing environment.
The first, being the Lists.asmx web service, and more specifically, the UpdateListItems web method.  This allows you to create, update, or delete items.  By creating or updating an item on-premises, it could automatically start a workflow.
The other option, is to call the Nintex Workflow web service that lives on-premises.  This will allow you start a workflow on an item, a document, or to start a Site workflow.
But, this does mean that you need to expose your on-premises environment.  But I hear there are interesting way of accomplishing this goal, without exposing the entire farm.  For example, only allowing a specific URL to be exposed, and that could be to the Web service, and would require authentication anyway.
Conclusion & Perficient at InspireX
Are you looking at having a hybrid environment?  Let us know what you’re trying to do.  It’s interesting to see exactly what people are doing and what kind of solutions they come up with, and how Perficient and Nintex can help.
Don’t forget that Nintex is also hosting its first customer and partner event, InspireX, February 22-24, 2016 at ARIA Resort in Las Vegas. Matt Morse, general manager of modern applications within the Microsoft group at Perficient, will lead a breakout session on hybrid solutions using Nintex and Office 365. Most organizations with investments in Office 365 and Nintex have needs provided by other cloud platforms, as well as business applications that run within their own data centers. This session will show how Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms can help bridge this heterogeneous environment, creating seamless user experiences that cross application and platform boundaries.
InspireX will provide customers and partners with valuable best practices, inspiring customer success stories, and fun networking opportunities.

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