SharePoint is a great platform for workflows. Many people view the Workflow Foundation features that SharePoint provides out of the box as starting points to a full-blown workflow solution. There are some excellent features that SharePoint Provides, which adequately contribute to successful business processes.
- Email Notification
- Document Routing
- Approval / Rejection Functionality
- Multi-Stage and/or Parallel and Serial Workflows
- File Storage, tracking, and records management capabilities
- And much more.
This makes SharePoint a great “jumping off” point for Business Process Management Solutions.
- SharePoint is flexible
- Excellent document management capabilities
- Integrates with relevant business data
- Reaches a broad audience across the enterprise
- Integrates seamlessly with end user tools, such as Microsoft Office
- SharePoint is Familiar
- Browser-based UI
- Teams are comfortable using collaborative sites now (11 years)
- Integrated Search (Federation and FAST)
- SharePoint has workflow capability
- SharePoint has the Windows Workflow Foundation
- You can use SharePoint Designer or other 3rd party tools, to build more robust workflows with no code.
All of the above “platform” talk aside – do NOT discount SharePoint’s ability to provide robust business solutions, using only native functionality. The SharePoint 2010 platform has many features and integration components that can be used to build excellent business processes on their own.
However, through the leverage of many available 3rd party tools and applications, SharePoint workflows can become part of an even larger, more robust, or specific business process. Success in this area is “relatively” simple:
- Provide a rich and intuitive end-user experience – if users can’t use it, then they won’t.
- Make sure the system can do everything the users need it to do (functionally and technically). Otherwise, see #1 above.
- Leverage your existing system data – don’t try to reinvent the wheel. We are all aware that a “single source of the truth” is the best means to an end.