I’m excited to announce that Bamboo’s new Workflow Conductor™ is now available for download and purchase. If you didn’t get a chance to play with Workflow Conductor while the beta was available in Bamboo Labs, it allows users to automate business processes by easily creating, managing, and reusing custom workflows within SharePoint.
Here at Bamboo, we see process automation as the next logical step for an organization that is already leveraging the document management and collaborative features in SharePoint. Automating processes that already exist within an organization can reduce overhead and cost, increase performance and accountability, and provide tracking and auditing capabilities. We recognized these needs within our own organization, and realized that other organizations have the same needs. We also realized that Bamboo’s existing products could be made even more valuable by “process enabling” them. For all of these reasons, we decided to build Workflow Conductor.
We’ve built Workflow Conductor using Microsoft’s Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and .NET architectures to ensure maximum compatibility and integration with SharePoint. This allows our workflows to behave like (and coexist with) the out-of-the-box workflows in SharePoint, providing the same security, reliability, and scalability. It also allows your custom workflows to integrate fully with Microsoft Office, allowing users to view tasks directly from related documents. Workflow Conductor runs within SharePoint, which means no dedicated hardware is required, and no desktop applications need to be installed. Workflow Conductor ™ features are tightly integrated, so the experience is seamless. Users can build, edit, deploy, or run a workflow without ever leaving your site.
Features available in the 1.0 release include:
- Workflow Conductor Studio:
Workflow Conductor Studio is a Web-based workflow creation and editing tool that allows users to easily design and deploy workflows using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Just drop the desired “widgets” (aka “activities”) in the designer window to create a flowchart view of your workflow, configure a few simple widget settings, and you’re ready to deploy. You can even save workflows as templates and reuse them across sites. Conductor Studio also leverages lookups, references, and variables to let you create flexible workflows that are defined at runtime. There are also settings for defining any data you may want to collect from users, either when a workflow is run, or when it’s associated with a list/library.
- Workflow Conductor Widgets:
The first release of Workflow Conductor includes over 30 “widgets” which act as simple building blocks that can be combined in different ways to create custom workflows. Designing a workflow in Conductor is as easy as dragging your desired widgets into a design window, then configuring some settings. Widget functionality ranges from workflow logic (e.g., conditional branching), to simple actions (e.g., sending an email), to more complex features (e.g., requesting feedback or approval). We even have widgets that let you access and manipulate external data (e.g., using our REST API). Unlike using activities in Visual Studio, there is no coding required.
- Workflow Templates:
With Workflow Conductor, users can save workflows, or partial workflows, as templates that can be opened, edited (if needed), and reused in other locations. This also allows users a simple way to edit existing workflows when process changes inevitably occur.
- Workflow Conductor Web Parts:
Workflow Conductor also includes custom-built Web Parts that give additional visibility into instances of a workflow that are run.
- The “My Workflows” Web Part gives users a list of workflow instances they have initiated, as well as details such as the current status of the workflow.
- The “My Workflow Tasks” Web Part gives users a list of details related to any workflows they have initiated.
- The “Workflow Reports” Web Part gives users a flexible interface for viewing workflows by status and time span, for a site or for an entire site collection.
- Workflow Conductor Control Panel:
Workflow Conductor adds a management console directly into SharePoint’s Central Administration which allows an administrator to define global settings for the product, as well as view all the workflows that are being run (and/or have been run) across the entire farm. Administrators can control everything from the widgets that designers are allowed to use, to the content of email sent from workflows.
- And a Whole Lot More…
Workflow Conductor includes several additional features that enhance how users, designers, and administrators interact with workflows. From displaying the status of workflows that have been run on an object, to editing the workflows associated with a list, these features provide seamless integration with the native workflow features in SharePoint.
Over a year in the making, an early version of Workflow Conductor was posted to Bamboo Labs back in November, and has gotten a lot of positive response from users. As with all of our products, we made a slew of updates based on the user feedback we received, and we have decided that the core features are now in place that will make Workflow Conductor a valuable tool set for our customers. While we’re excited about all of the features we’ve fit in for the initial release, we are by no means done adding stuff. We’ll be piling on even more features over the next few months as we continue to build on top the platform we’ve created, so stay tuned!
To learn more about Workflow Conductor, and to see how your organization can benefit from it, please visit the product page and download your free 30-day trial copy today.