If we look at windows workflow foundations or WF as an example, the capabilty provided is mainly for developers. It is an API that will allow coders to leverage the unified workflow API for windows. There is some great tooling available from within VS.NET to support easy assembly of workflow maps. It has integration with debugging and distributed development capabilities and team systems features. It is still a developer toolkit though 🙂
So, for the masses to leverage this toolkit, we need tools like visio, word, excel and the browser itself to be able to support workflow creation, deployment, management, initiation, participation and reporting.
Sharepoint is doing a good job by providing the widely used workflow processes out-of-the-box. then we have sharepoint designer to help implementing higher level of functionality than these workflows. After that we have to resort to VS.NET or notepad using WF.
I guess there is a lot of room for ISVs and SIs to play here. Nintex has a sharepoint only toolkit for workflows. I have worked with Sharepoint integration components from vendors like K2, and Captaris. These vendors will upgrade and expand their offerings in this space – no doubt about that.
I also think there is a lot of room for small players to come up with solutions in this space. now that barrier to entry has been lowered by this unfied API. SaaS is the other are where Workflow can work for the small players in a big way.