Automating processes in SharePoint with K2

In this post we want you to start learning about K2 and how it can help modeling and digitizing processes, and then show its integration with SharePoint. We will talk about forms and workflows, although K2 has many other features such as reports, connectors, etc. which will not be named here.

K2 processes

In companies there are many processes that occur daily, either affecting the core of the business itself or supporting the proper functioning of them. Having these processes detected and well defined, is the first step to be able to digitize them, automate them and thus gain efficiency and effectiveness.

The task of process automation is where K2 comes into play to facilitate this work a lot: thanks to its ease of use and configuration , power and a large set of connectors to interact with different systems: databases, SaaS, Web Services, …

K2 is a product that allows the creation of forms, workflows, reports, assignment and task management, etc. All these elements provide a great solid and even extensible base to design our applications and processes quickly and safely.

K2 Blackpearl together with its extension K2 SmartForms offer several options through which to model both the workflows and the user interfaces of our business processes. K2 Designer, K2 Studio and Visual Studio can be used to build these elements. In this post we will see some examples of the K2 Designer interface.

To design the interfaces with which the user will interact K2 Designer gives two options: from a blank canvas manually add the controls that are necessary to us, or from a data structure, regardless of the origin, and that is automatically generated the form adapting the fields to the original structure, always allowing subsequent application of modifications, behaviors, etc.

For the modeling of workflows, K2 Designer offers an interface which through a series of boxes and connectors allows to define a sequence of tasks, whether automatic actions or assignment of tasks to users, being able to be conditional depending on data or decisions.

K2 for SharePoint

A great advantage of K2 is that, without being dependent on SharePoint, with its extension K2 for SharePoint provides a very interesting integration with SharePoint. At the moment that we have correctly installed and configured this extension, some actions will be enabled at the list and library level that will allow us to create K2 applications on them.

These applications will be created from a designer embedded within SharePoint very similar to the one seen above. In addition, this extension allows you to replace the default forms of a SharePoint list or library with custom ones using K2. For a quick creation of these forms, simply click on Application in the previous menu and select on the next screen that you want to create the Smart Objects (objects to access the information in the list) and Forms, selecting the option to overwrite the standard forms.

After performing this action, the new elements creation form will be as follows, to which we can apply the necessary modifications to our process.

Finally, K2 provides a tool to package our developments and deploy them in another environment. This tool generates a KSPX package that we can deploy in another SharePoint environment.

This functionality is based on the K2 Package and Deployment application that we have installed on our K2 Blackpearl server, which also allows generating this type of packages, and deploying them, from the forms and workflows created from the server designers.

 The K2 for SharePoint extension works in the same way with both SharePoint on Premise and SharePoint Online, being everything seen previously in the same way in both options, although it does change the installation and configuration phase. In the case of SharePoint Online, if you do not want to maintain your own K2 Blackpearl server you can choose K2 Appit for SharePoint, which is the K2 service in the cloud.

Summarizing

K2 offers a series of applications that allow the automation of any type of process, regardless of the origin of your data, providing forms, workflows, reports, tasks, connectors, etc. In addition, it includes a great integration with SharePoint, and if we want to make the leap to the cloud to further improve the processes and collaboration and communication of employees, K2 for SharePoint is the option to consider.

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