What Companies Look For As A Next Step In Their BPM Journey
As I continue to work with customers and prospects, I find some common ground in those looking to expand beyond SharePoint Workflow and Forms (And those products that rely on the underlying engine) . There is definitely a BPM journey that organizations seem to take, regardless of whether they realize they have embarked. This journey almost always leads to expanding beyond the confines of SharePoint, as well as a deepening need for more complex capabilities. Here are some of the common trends I see in organizations looking to take their business process management to the next step:
- The Requirement for Complex Workflow Patterns (With No Code) – simple serial workflows can only take you so far, and organizations quickly realize that rework steps, and moving to previous steps in any process is an absolute necessity in common business flow. Having a BPM platform that integrates with SharePoint lists and libraries, and provides support for all types of workflow patterns can provide immense value, and eliminate the need for complex custom code and management of state.
- Wanting Reusable, Shared Data Layer and Simple LOB Data Access – Accessing external data in SharePoint can be challenging, and I find many companies are looking to simplify the integration with external business systems. The tiresome process of setting up Business Connectivity Services/External Lists in SharePoint, and maintaining them can be problematic. A reusable model, as seen in K2’s smartobjects, can provide agility and reduce the overall time required to configure forms, workflow and reports. The “create once” and reuse theme provides power and flexibility.
- The Need to Surface Forms and Workflows Outside of SharePoint – SharePoint is a great tool, but should every form and workflow live within its UI? More and more, I am seeing organizations that want to have business apps (forms, workflow, data and reports) that live outside of SharePoint and can stand alone. This is especially true when it comes to mobility, and the need to support various device types with web-based forms.
- The Need for A Broad Set of Design Tools – BPM in any organization is a broad undertaking, and usually involves a wide variety of individuals, with varying skill sets. With Business Process Design, one size does not fit all, and organizations are looking to support power users, business analysts and developers. See my post: BPA, BPM and Design.
So, in summary, if you are looking to step outside of the SharePoint workflow engine and its forms capabilities, take some time to evaluate your next step in the journey and focus on at least these 4 points. For some additional considerations, see the below post: