If you are a business manager or in charge of IT operations for an organization, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the SharePoint Server—Microsoft’s multipurpose Web application platform.
Historically, SharePoint has been used as a content and document management solution to help organizations improve internal collaboration, and even though this continues to be the platform’s main role, recent versions of the program now have broader capabilities, such as social enterprise and custom workflows.
While most managers have at least heard of SharePoint Server, not as many fully understand what is meant by “workflows.”
What are workflows?
The term “workflow” is often defined as a series of tasks leading to an outcome. When put in context of Microsoft SharePoint, workflows are more specifically classified as the automated movement of documents, files, or other business items through a preset chain of actions or tasks relating to an organization’s process.
When utilized the right way, workflows streamline the cost and time it takes to complete common business processes, such as reviewing a document or project. It does this by keeping track of what is done to the file (through email alerts and the Status page) and routing it to the next appropriate person or group.
Workflow Example: Sending a notification message
Let’s say your team uses the Shared Documents library on SharePoint to collaborate on important business documents. Once received, document assignments are divided up using the “Assigned To” column, so that everyone can keep track of which documents are assigned to whom.
Instead of making every team member constantly check the shared library to see if they have any new assigned documents, you can create a workflow that automatically sends them an email alert notifying them when they have received an assignment.
This example is a simple one-step workflow. However, workflows can support much larger and more complex business processes using an array of useful features, including:
- Document (group) approval
- Platform for feedback
- Collect signatures
- Content management approval
- Translation management
- And more…
Creating a Custom Workflow
Staring a simple workflow, like the example above, is as easy as selecting the pre-designed workflow that you want from the list available for the document or item. But managers trying to create complex or custom workflows can greatly benefit from the expertise of a SharePoint developer.
Whether you are looking to create a simple workflow, a complex integration, or an entirely new application, at Innovative Architects we have highly-skilled and Microsoft-certified software specialists on hand to meet all of your organization’s technology needs.
Browse through our blog to learn about other software solutions for businesses, including three earlier parts of our “IT Solutions Made Simple” series on understanding business intelligence, SOA, and EDI.
Or if your business is ready to take the next step forward, contact us for a free workflow analysis today.