Workflow options for SharePoint
As organisations move their documents and information to SharePoint their attention then turns to ensuring that this information is used effectively and controlled through its lifecycle. The SharePoint platform can provide workflow to help manage a business process such as complaints, travel approval or employee onboarding.
There are several approaches that can be taken to implementing workflows in SharePoint, and these generally depend on your requirements and complexity. The four main approaches can be summarised as follows;
Standard Out of the Box Workflow - provides simple approval, publishing or feedback processes. This approach can be limited if the workflows are too complex, but for simple requirements it works well. SharePoint Designer – can enhance existing workflows or be used to create new workflows, providing more functionality to the standard out of the box workflows, but tends to require more specialised technical resource and can take time to develop. Advanced Development – ability to build complex workflows through Microsoft Visual Studio. This provides a lot more flexibility in terms of the capabilities and complexity that can be built into workflows, however development resources are required and the development process can often be time consuming Third Party Workflow Software - This option provides a lot more functionality and usability for both building and using workflows and can be used to implement workflow, BPM or Case Management solution.. Enterprise scalability and the re-use of tools and components generally allow for a more robust solution. Each organisation will have to make their own choice on the most appropriate workflow solution that will depend on;
the requirements within their business the appetite for engaging in multiple workflow projects the level of technical expertise within your business, the requirements for integration with other systems, the way in which users will interact with the workflow The complexity of the business processes being modelled. In trying to decide which workflow solution is best for you, we would generally recommend the following. For simple scenarios, it is worth considering what comes provided when you install SharePoint and how much resource you have available for developing workflows. For more complex scenarios it is definitely worth considering some of the excellent third party products on the market.
In the whitepaper “Workflow Option for SharePoint“, we take a more detailed look at all the four options highlighted above, the Pro’s and Con’s and for what purpose they are best to use.