Datapolis Process System is a visual workflow designer for SharePoint 2013 that offers a robust set of tools to simplify workflow development and deployment. At the moment it is available for on-premises deployments only, however the company plans to release its Office 365 equivalent in the future. SharePoint 2010 and 2007 are supported by older and simpler versions of that solution, branded as Datapolis Workbox.

Datapolis toolkit is integrated with the SharePoint environment, with workflow actions accessible from context menu, list, ribbon, or form, and permission and management options available in the Central Administration. Like its competitors, it models workflows using a browser-based drag and drop designer., with the workflow engine based on Windows Workflow Foundation.

The main differentiatior from solutions like Nintex or K2 is the emphasis on the state machine workflows in place of sequential ones. While you can design state machine workflows using other solutions, as well as SharePoint Designer itself, Datapolis offers that option as a default and most exposed one. As it claims, state machine workflows are more flexible, allowing rapid process improvement, and offer easier learning curve, depicting a process in a manner similar to Visio, BPM notation, and other familiar tools. Datapolis therefore positions its solution to be used for teamwork, enabling both IT engineers and less tech-experienced business people to build processes for their organization.

Similar to other workflow tools, Datapolis allows actions between each state. Within these actions, in a separate sequential designer, you can specify different functional activities which will push a process forward. It also allows storing variables and using them for comparative activities and triggers within the workflow life cycle. The model can include decision points which redirect one action to another depending on defined conditions.

Between each action, the designer can also use a standard form or a customized InfoPath form. Those forms can perform look-ups to other SharePoint lists for additional information that is sometimes needed in the process.

As for workflow security, the build-in permissions protector allows users to manage permissions on SharePoint list column level. Using filters and look-ups, you can set who has access at what time during the workflow life cycle. This can also be managed using permission groups within the workflow designer.

The new feature in Datapolis Process System are Datapolis applications. Those are said to be stand-alone objects which may contain a sub-process or group of tasks, shared by different workflows or executed in parallel. Applications can build on the basis of previously designed workflows or designed with other tools like Visual Studio. They can replace generic parts of workflows as they are stored in a single repository and modifying one application takes effect in all workflows where it was used, keeping processes coherent and up-to-date. Different applications can be grouped into solutions to unify a complex process or pull data from disparate sources. While this is a new innovation, there are as yet no practical examples of implementing it, so it will likely take some time to evaluate its effectivity.

Datapolis Process System fits in the line of tools going beyond SharePoint Designer capabilities with which you can create advanced workflows without a need to code. The choice between it and other solutions should depend on whether you prefer working with sequential or state machine workflows and if your SharePoint environment is deployed in cloud or on-premises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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