Bamboo Tools & Technologies’ Year in Review with Jeff Tubb

Editor's note: As we continue our annual Year in Review series with a look back on 2010, you'll notice a number of new faces among the participants this year.  Our goal with this year's offering was to offer the most holistic glimpse into the "year in Bamboo" to date … and what a year it was, including the release of SharePoint 2010 as well as the continued growth of Bamboo, as evidenced by the double digit increases in our product line, revenue, and staff. 

Jeff TubbAs the product lead for Bamboo's workflow design suite, who are you building this product for?  What kind of companies?  What kind of users?

I tend to think of Workflow Conductor as a "platform" rather than a "product" since customers actually use it to create their own custom solutions.  As such, we built it to suit a wide range of customers. Our current customers range from small companies to enterprise organizations. In smaller organizations Workflow Conductor allows one or more power users to easily automate and deploy processes that would otherwise require more resources (developers, testers, IT, etc.) than they might be able to afford. In larger organizations, the reusability and cross-site collection scope of our workflows are extremely valuable. Any size organization can benefit from the cost/time savings they can get with Workflow Conductor, and from the ability to do so much more than they otherwise could out-of-the-box with SharePoint.

Version 1.5 of Workflow Conductor launched in October of 2010.  What were the new features offered with this release?

For version 1.5, we added a slew of new features, as well as a ton of updates to existing features. There are a lot of features in that release that I'm really excited about, but there are just too many to list them all here, so here are my top three:

  • Cross-Site Collection Widgets – Workflows are no longer limited to doing things within just the current site, so now you can perform actions on other site collections just as easily as you can on the current site. We had a lot of people asking for this feature, and I'm not aware of another company that offers something like this.
  • Alternate Credentials – Individual workflow steps can be run under the permissions of different accounts, which means workflows are no longer limited to doing only things that the person running them has permission to do. This really opens up the possibilities of what workflows can automate.
  • User Account/Profile Widgets – We added 5 new widgets that allow you to manage users and groups in SharePoint and Active Directory, as well as access user profile data.  We plan to add a few more of these as part of a minor release scheduled to come out next month.

Is Workflow Conductor compatible with SharePoint 2010?

Absolutely. In November, we followed up our 1.5 release with a 2010-compatible version of Workflow Conductor with all of the same great features. In an upcoming release, we are planning to add some new 2010-specific features to enhance the experience even further.

 When will the next major release of Conductor be made available?  What are the key features of that release?

In the short term, we have a minor release planned for next month that will offer even more widgets for managing and interacting with users and groups, as well as some new conditions for branching workflows. As for the rest of 2011, we have several major enhancements planned, but I don't want to give too much away just yet. What I will say is that we have big plans for Workflow Conductor this year, and you can look forward to expanded/enhanced core features, as well as integration with some of our most popular Bamboo products. It should be a very exciting year for Workflow Conductor.

What are the best and most efficient ways that prospective users can learn about Workflow Conductor?

There's no shortage of options when it comes to learning about Workflow Conductor, but since you asked for efficiency, here are a few options sorted by amount of time each one takes:

  • Fewer than 3 Minutes – Check out the Workflow Conductor 1.5 overview video embedded in the release announcement blog. It gives you a pretty good overview of the product, while calling out some of the new features in particular.
  • 5-10 Minutes – Check out the Workflow Conductor Web page for details on what the product is, and how it works.
  • 1 hour – Attend one of our free webinars on Workflow Conductor to see it in action, and to ask any questions you might have.
  • More than an hour – Browse through our extensive online documentation to get detailed information on every feature in Workflow Conductor.
  • 30 Days – Download your own free 30-day trial of Workflow Conductor to get your hands on it and see what it can do in your own environment.

Read the entire 2010 Year in Review series:

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