Business Process Management
Workflows in SharePoint is powered by Windows Workflow Foundation, the underlying technology used by numerous other workflow products in the market. Workflow provides strong functionalities such as – scheduling and executing activities, managing flow of execution, storing workflow data from in memory to storage medium, track workflow events, ability to create custom objects as workflow extension and visual debugging capability.
In the latest version of SharePoint, a new component called Workflow manager client is introduced, reflecting the strong commitment by Microsoft in providing robust workflow solutions through SharePoint platform. This service can now be housed separately, providing flexibility to create truly scalable workflows. There are three types of workflows that is created or configured in SharePoint to meet specific business needs.
- Straight Through Processes – For simple straight through workflow used for content approval e.g. document approval, SharePoint provides predefined workflow templates. Out of the box, SharePoint provides the following workflows templates – Content approval, Feedback collection, signature collection, content publishing and three state.
- Non Standard Processes – If the requirement mandates workflows with iterations or require workflow to perform simple custom action or require the workflow to have parallel approval steps then SharePoint designer can be utilized to either develop a new workflow or modify one of the out of the box workflow templates to meet the business requirement. With SharePoint Designer, users can create a workflow that is attached to a list, library, or site using a no-code, text-based designer. SharePoint Designer excels at enabling rapid workflow development by non-technical workers.
- Complex Processes – Processes that require complex workflows-multiple iterative loops, complex custom actions, interactions with external applications, really long running workflow activities, it’s recommended to build custom workflow using Visual Studio. This requires good technical knowledge and familiarity of .NET framework.
Whatever be your requirement, SharePoint has a solution to build workflows to implement process standardization, activity automation and provide visibility into the process for monitoring and analysis.