In Focus

Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint

This article describes the top 5 workflow provisioning applications/platforms for SharePoint.

Workflows are an integral part of any business using SharePoint. We automate processes, minimize manual interventions or monitoring efforts, connect various business interfaces, etc. All these transitions towards more meaningful and powerful SharePoint business applications/systems.
 
There exist various workflow products which are very specific to SharePoint. They cater to the needs of smaller, moderate to large organizations. In this article, we will have a look at the top 5 workflows available in the market today. (This list is purely personal and based on my personal opinions).
 
Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint
 
SharePoint Designer (SPD) is a "free to download" solution from Microsoft. SPD is used for building fast paced and simple to moderate level workflows. There are two versions of it – SharePoint Designer 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2013. It can be installed in your local machine as well and can connect well with SharePoint Online too. It does not require any code to build workflows.
 
Pros
  • Codeless solution
  • Free to download and use.
  • Low size and easy installation
Cons
  • Discontinued new releases from SharePoint 2016 onwards.
  • Cannot open sites for large site collections (>1TB)
Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint
 
Nintex (also my personal favorite) is an extremely powerful and intuitive workflow building tool. It does not require any local installation and end users can create or modify workflows using browser. It has a whole lot of triggers and actions available, and its graphical and top to bottom direction-based flow bridges the gap between your workflow design and final product quite beautifully.
 
Pros
  • Browser-based
  • Good and easy to use Graphical User Interface
  • Supports drag and drop functionality
  • Fast and simple
Cons
  • Not free. Needs paid license
  • Works well only with Internet Explorer. Not supported in Chrome
Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint
 
When it comes to BPM applications, K2 is a class of its own. It boasts of its extremely powerful workflow solutions. It is known to endure heavy duty workflows and can maintain a huge number of open tasks and history. It can also leverage the capabilities of the Microsoft Windows Server platform and SQL Server, both of which can be configured to support massive enterprise-level implementations.
 
Pros
  • K2 Appit is browser based
  • Can support complex, massive and time-dependent tasks in workflows
Cons
  • Involves a steep learning curve
  • K2 Studio – the workflow building tool needs to be installed separately
  • Low code solutions
Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint
 
This fresh offering from Microsoft is a versatile workflow solution. Primarily, cloud-based in works by means of connectors. It can establish connections and communication amongst various systems. For example, you can build a workflow in SharePoint that publishes items/posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Flow has a vast number of predefined templates to plug into your business requirement. Flows can be easily developed by end users and are very tightly integrated into the Office 365 ecosystem.
 
Pros
  • Very well connected with various systems (like Facebook, Outlook, Git, etc.) thereby giving your workflows the “modern and connected” edge
  • Simple and easy to use and learn
Cons
  • Still new in the market. Has a long way to go.
  • Not free. Needs to be licensed with the Office 365 products
Top 5 Workflow Tools For SharePoint
 
HarePoint or HarePoint Workflow Extensions can be thought as a nitro-boost to your SharePoint Designer workflows. It can add 300+ actions and conditions to the normal actions provided by SharePoint Designer, thereby multiplying the results and outputs of your SharePoint business applications vastly. It has a very minimal learning curve and their website provides very detailed lists and well as explanations to the activities that come as a part of SharePoint.
 
Pros
  • No code solution
  • Simple installation
  • Same interface as SPD
  • Provides 30-day free trial
Cons
  • The trial version has a 10-line limit
  • Acts as an overlay within the SharePoint Workflow platform
  • Expensive solution
So, which one is your favorite? Know of any other workflow products for SharePoint? Comment below!
 
Also, have a look at my previous article, Top 5 Applications for Designing Attractive Forms In SharePoint