There’s a lot to demonstrate when it comes to workflows. Consider this demonstration scenario: You’ve been asked to design and build an online ordering system for an electronic component maufacturer. To comply with international regulations relating to environmental protection, each product available for order must have achieved compliance with the appropriate standards for the country into which it will be sold. Determining compliance involves performing a series of calculations to determine the level of specific substances within the finished product. Since the calculation is relatively complex, it will be performed by a separate system. Once the calculation has been performed, the results should be sent to an environmental control officer for verification. In addition to the environmental control procedure, products being offered for sale must also follow a specific publishing process before being included in the site. New products will be added by the sales department. So that relevant technical information is available, details of the product will be passed to the engineering department, which will update the product record with appropriate details. With these details in place, the marketing department will then be responsible for collating and attaching the appropriate artwork before the product is sent for final approval by the online sales manager.
From this scenario, an appropriate design might involve three sequential workflows:
TIP All three processes could be implemented using a single workflow. However, in my experience, there’s only one constant when it comes to business processes and that’s change. In the interests of reuse and maintainability, three separate workflows are being created, since each addresses a discrete business process. This means that if the environmental control process changes, for example, only that workflow needs to be changed regardless of where it’s used across the organization. Had the process been incorporated into many separate workflows, making changes would be time-consuming and could lead to inconsistent results. It’s always a good idea to limit the scope of a workflow to a particular business process when possible.
Before we can demonstrate workflows in SharePoint 2010, let’s create a sample site collection to hold the appropriate data.
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