SharePoint 2013 workflows help to organize and automate a wide variety of consistent business processes. A SharePoint workflow is a series of one or more steps and actions that perform a simple or complex automated function inside SharePoint.
In the latest release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has introduced major changes in the SharePoint workflow capabilities from previous versions of SharePoint workflows 2010. In this article we will take a look at SharePoint 2013 workflows changes from a business user point of view and give you a little preview of how the new features can be used to optimize your business workflows.
An important feature is backward compatibility. Every SharePoint 2010 workflow continues to work if you upgrade to SharePoint 2013. However SharePoint 2013 workflow runs under the new Workflow Manager, a new server which introduces new capabilities for hosting, authoring and managing workflows. This means that the workflow is not a native part of SharePoint anymore, the entire architecture changes from the previous version. Now, SharePoint and Workflow Manager environments are executing triggered workflows. As a result, scalability was improved and bugs that previously caused workflows to ‘drop’ were fixed. These improvements ensure that SharePoint 2013 workflow will operate at the enterprise level.
Another significant improvement, SharePoint 2013 workflow is fully declarative and thus has no custom code is required. The Visual Designer allows you to create SharePoint 2013 workflows using an intuitive drag and drop system. In Visual Designer the user can select from several actions, conditions and components, change various properties and then configure the SharePoint 2013 workflow as needed. Stages allow to group sections of a workflow to be organized logically. You will appreciate this feature if you are building multistep SharePoint 2013 workflow with various actions and related conditions. Besides, SharePoint 2013 workflow can contain a loop and be repeated a specific number of times, or until a specific condition is satisfied.
New feature of SharePoint Designer 2013 is a new variable type Dictionary. It is a container, which is holding a collection of other variables and allowing users to work with complex objects inside SharePoint 2013 workflow. Also, a new action “Call HTTP Web Service” is available in SharePoint Designer. This feature allows you to reach out to enterprise systems to submitting or gathering data accessed through web services.
Although the predefined SharePoint 2013 workflows can be customized somewhat to meet different needs, you may choose to design and develop workflows that are unique to the business processes in the organization.
VirtoSoftware created a solution for end-users and development/web design professionals alike, that allows you to easily automate and simplify business processes in SharePoint. All web parts and components are fully compatible with SharePoint 2013.
SharePoint Workflow Suite
Virto SharePoint Workflow Suite allows you to manage workflows, using visual, intuitive designed tools provided with an impressive set of 230+ activities and conditions for creating custom SharePoint workflows. Three web parts are united to work with SharePoint workflows including monitoring and scheduling them into a single bundle. Use collection of over 230 activities, create custom workflows, adjust schedule of workflows running and monitor all of them with Virto tools. All bundle components work in SharePoint 2013, 2010 and 2007. A new major update offers the set of FREE activities and conditions, which are working with the native 2013 workflow engine.
SharePoint Workflow Scheduler
SharePoint Workflow Scheduler Web Part is an intuitively designed tool that allows users to automatically run any workflow within a single SharePoint site collection on a specific date and time. SharePoint Workflow Scheduler is an easy and convenient web part which can be installed on a SharePoint site. Don’t waste your time anymore with SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Visual Studio to schedule SharePoint workflows, now you can easily manage all your processes in a few minutes!
SharePoint Workflow Status Monitor
SharePoint Workflow Status Monitor Web Part is displaying a list of titles and statuses of all workflows that are run on the given SharePoint site. You are able to manage and filter workflows by source list, source item, date and status (in progress/error occurred). SharePoint Workflow Status Monitor has exceptionally high productivity it can process more than 5000 workflows.
SharePoint Workflow Activities
SharePoint Workflow Activities Extensions Kit contains over 230 activities for creating custom SharePoint workflows, with it you can: manage SharePoint sites and lists, send e-mail and sms, work with Active Directory groups, set permissions, libraries, dictionaries, and more. SharePoint Workflow Activities Extensions Kit works in both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. Additionally, VirtoSoftware offers you to explore all workflow features of the new 2013 engine for free. Enjoy the additional set of 2013 native activities and conditions in SharePoint Workflow Activities Extensions Kit as well as other components of VirtoSoftware!
Tatiana Sushchenko is the product owner at VirtoSoftware. She started her IT career with the famous ABBYY Lingvo back in 2006 in Moscow. Then she moved to Microsoft performing strongly in various marketing management roles across Visio, SharePoint, Office 365 and Project for almost 10 years. Tatiana is a graduate of the Institute of Business Studies and holds a mini-MBA degree. She also graduated from Microsoft marketing excellence university.