I have been naturally interested in knowing the effort estimates required to implement human workflows in the MOSS platform. I come across this request frequently. (This topic has been previously explored by Chris here) So, when I attended few workflow sessions at the recent APAC Sharepoint conference in Sydney at the Hilton , I was looking forward to finding more about this from the people in the game. So, what did I gather? I didn’t get the answer in number of man days. Rather, the news was that implementing any serious workflows beyond getting signatures on a document and serial routing is not easy. It requires a lot of work. sharepoint designer does not allow you to create state machine workflows. Doing anything in code (WF in VS.NET) and to get it to be deployed on MOSS requires a lot of effort and fiddling.
The other bit of intel I gathered was that, My peers are so focused on getting things like that file shares migrated across (doing it is not a straight forward single day activity, you need to work on the taxonomy, capacity, search, backup, etc) they could use a tool like K2 to help with value added services like workflowing those file shares on MOSS and implementing records management. I am sure a lot of consulting hours can be billed here 🙂 but, a tool like K2 makes this tedious task a snappy experience and those man hours can be used to get more functionality out of MOSS. This will also help those who are snowed down with MOSS implementations and looking for resources all the time to have breathing space.
There are some good tool sets filling the gaps of the MOSS platform capabilities and the customer expectations in the various pieces of the sharepoint pie. As an enterprise class platform, K2 blackpearl is providing true business process management capabilities to MOSS – enterprise level security, auditing, reporting and process intelligence to name a few. It also provides this level of functionality and more – mainly the dynamic application assembly capabilities. not only to MOSS but also to other backend systems as well. Blackpearl integrates with Biztalk 2006 for example. And this capability is not just exposed via APIs and web services. It is exposed via user friendly, drag-n-drop wizards that walk you through a configuration experience that is reusable.
BDC integration in the K2’s MOSS feature set is an important one. It allows you to get your backends that are surfacing on MOSS to be workflowed seemlessly. Remember, Blackpearl goes beyond BDC. It facilitates you to connect to many other systems as part of its BPM functional set. Now your MOSS can be the provider of a true centralised view of the corporate when running K2 along with it.