Workflow in SharePoint 2013 has been substantially improved with the advent of Windows Workflow Foundation 4. Workflows are hosted outside of the main SharePoint server in Microsoft Azure, which enables a vast improvement in performance and scalability.

What is Workflow?

Workflow is the movement of tasks and documents through a business process. Each process can be broken down into individual activities or events, all of which must take place to ensure a successful outcome. Analyzing each business process will determine the activities that must take place either sequentially or concurrently and also highlight milestones to be reached along the way.

Workflow measurement and analysis allows an organization to continuously improve business processes, work quality, efficiency and productivity. The system must be flexible to allow for ongoing analysis and re-engineering. Nothing will be gained by simply automating bad practices.

Why Use SharePoint for Workflow?

SharePoint 2013 is a powerful platform for integrating information and documents from various departments within an organization. With SharePoint, workflow systems can be designed to integrate with other company systems, including e-mail, document management, databases and production applications.

Using SharePoint Designer enables a company to develop workflow systems that will benefit from:

  • Increased speed.  Processes are streamlined and monitored continually to enable improvement
  • Improved efficiency.  Automating business processes eliminates many unnecessary steps.
  • Reduced costs.  Activities can be properly routed to ensure simple tasks are not allocated to high-cost personnel.
  • Accurate record keeping.  Management can access danger signals and conduct accurate audit trails on business processes.
  • Improved customer satisfaction.  Problem areas are identified easily and resolved faster.
  • Improved quality.  The quality of the process is much more consistent and more predictable.
  • Better flexibility.  Where necessary, systems can be designed for override by authorized personnel.

Prime candidates for workflow management are those processes within an organization that are document intensive and require high integrity.

SharePoint 2013 for Workflow

SharePoint 2013 incorporates a number of new workflow actions that give it significant advantages:-

  • Assigns a single workflow task to a particular user or group.
  • Initiates execution of the task process.
  • Specifies the next stage in the workflow to which control must be handed.
  • Updates workflow status.

Pauses the process to await a specified event.

SharePoint 2013 workflows are powered by Windows Workflow Foundation 4. A prominent feature of SharePoint 2013 is the introduction of the new workflow execution engine, Microsoft Azure. This enables workflows to be hosted outside of the main SharePoint server, which raised scalability issues in previous versions.

In SharePoint 2013, a new concept of stages has been introduced to allow the movement of workflow from one defined stage to the next. This also allows users to switch from one stage to the other and back if necessary, which is exactly how business processes work in real terms.

SharePoint consultants can assist in designing and developing your business workflows. They can also provide valuable input about human factors. It has been reported that worker resistance has been the greatest obstacle to implementation of workflows. A consultant will help design workflows that are user friendly, empowering for workers and empowering for the entire company.

Discover today how SharePoint 2013 is incredibly powerful and so much more than just a document storage application.

Crow CanyonScott Restivo has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. A certified systems engineer, with CNE, MCSE, and CCNA designations, he consulted to major corporations and the military …read more

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