Enterprises around the globe use SharePoint to power teamwork, content collaboration and knowledge sharing — between teams, departments and organizations. But SharePoint has become much more than an everyday collaboration and portal site.
Over the past few years, SharePoint has seen an increased level of adoption. Companies of all sizes have been turning to this platform for business process application (BPA) development and workflow automation.
What is workflow management and how does automation fit in?
A workflow is a series of actions that are triggered by a specific event. For example, the workflow could begin when an employee submits a document for internal review or when a customer lodges a query or complaint.
Workflow management aims to ensure that workflows are optimally designed and operate as efficiently as possible. Often, digital technologies are leveraged to automate workflows. And because every workflow is unique, it's important for every organization to have automation tools that are flexible enough to allow for any number of workflow designs, yet intelligent enough to ensure that these workflows seamlessly connect people, systems and data.
When they are designed well and powered by the best technology, automated workflows can:
- Save time and effort
- Ensure consistency and accuracy
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Enhance the flow of work and data through the enterprise
Automated vs. manual workflows
Some companies are more reluctant to include digital technologies in their business process management strategies than others. But when workflows are run manually rather than digitally, someone needs to manage the flow of work. This means that he or she needs to check that the right people are doing the right thing at the right time, every step of the way. This requires significant time and effort. Is this really an optimal use of resources?
With a digital workflow in SharePoint, there is no need for all this extra work. All checking, tracking and reminding is automated. This makes the workflow management role a lot easier! It also helps to reduce bottlenecks and fix broken processes.
Finding the best workflow automation technology
According to a survey by Forrester, over half of all SharePoint users are already creating, or plan to create, workflows in SharePoint.
When they’re designed well, an automated workflow in SharePoint can:
- Turn manual tasks into seamless digital processes
- Reduce errors and redundant work
- Eliminate process bottlenecks
- Boost efficiency
- Increase productivity
- Enhance overall corporate performance
Common stumbling blocks
Some developers are discovering that building BPA apps for automated workflow in SharePoint can be troublesome. Custom development of apps can be time-consuming and costly. Another challenge is that these custom apps can erode the integrity of the SharePoint environment.
Unfortunately, Microsoft's solution to this issue — App Model — isn't as rich or intuitive in capability as developer communities had hoped.
Is third-party software the solution?
In order to build and deploy successful BPA apps in SharePoint, organizations look to third-party solutions, like K2, that are:
- Easy to use
Workflow in SharePoint made easy
K2 is a low-code business process automation platform that integrates seamlessly with on-premises and cloud versions of SharePoint. This enables your people to build complex, custom-designed applications that connect with all of your back end systems, without coding.
With K2, you can:
- Design SharePoint workflows and forms that work across multiple SharePoint lists or libraries, in the cloud and on premises.
- Customize SharePoint forms to enhance the user experience and collect information from other areas of SharePoint, as well as other line of business (LOB) systems.
- Develop business process apps that meet your organization’s unique needs, while also integrating with SharePoint and other LOB systems, in the cloud or on prem.
- Use a centralized list to access all the tasks and work in all your K2 apps
- Generate reports and dashboards to improve decision-making
K2 takes the complexity out of SharePoint tasks, whether you're struggling to customize your SharePoint 2013 workflows, create the solution you need in SharePoint Designer 2016, or stretch your SharePoint assets in another way.
Easy-to-deploy apps and workflows
The beauty of K2 technology is that it's really easy for your people to get started, with a range of out-the-box apps and workflow samples. These solutions can act as templates for you to quickly build on or customize. You can even roll them out as they are to ensure you don't waste any time making your organization more efficient.
Less pressure on your developers
Whether your company aims to build more functionality into your SharePoint workflows or develop BPA apps outside of the SharePoint environment, K2 makes it simple and accessible.
This unique business process automation platform empowers business users — outside of the IT department — to design powerful, scalable and agile apps in a drag-and-drop, visual environment.
K2's no-code or low-code approach makes it possible for even users with very little technical experience to contribute to the app development process, because there are no specialized developer skills required. (Although your developers can still add value by providing guidance and support on more complex BPA projects.)
As a result, there's less pressure on IT to build all the SharePoint and other workflow solutions that your organization needs. These highly skilled professionals can concentrate on other strategic projects that require their attention. This means fewer bottlenecks in the IT system, which helps to accelerate your entire digital transformation process.
At the same time, your business users (or end users) are more closely involved in the creation of their own process management and workflow solutions. This leads to better buy in and ultimately, better workflow tools.
Ready to build smarter business process automation solutions?
Before you read another SharePoint 2013 tutorial, why not download Six Tips to Building Better Business Apps in SharePoint 2013?
This user-friendly guide discusses the challenges of the SharePoint environment, what the implications are and how to implement a low-code solution that innovates instead of disrupts.
Your smarter digital transformation journey begins here!