In a recent conversation about a SharePoint workflow solution, Datapolis, Maciej Jozefowicz introduced me to the product and provided details on its value proposition and position in the market. Here are the details on the innovative approach to workflow in SharePoint.
KF: What is the problem the specific Datapolis product solves?
Jozefowicz: Datapolis addresses the necessity for rapid process changes in today’s business world, as well as limitations of SharePoint Designer for designing workflows.
KF: Can you briefly describe the product?
Jozefowicz: Datapolis Process System combines a workflow designer, application designer and central administration toolkit that uses SharePoint workflows to build a coherent process system for the whole enterprise. The workflow designer is divided into two layers: a business process layer to model a process and create a workflow, and a technical layer to automate functionalities inside a workflow. This division makes our product accessible to both business analysts and IT pros, helping design processes faster and in a team.
Workflows in the Datapolis Process System can be converted to Datapolis applications. Those are standalone objects that may contain a subprocess 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. The capability keeps processes coherent and up-to-date. Different applications can be grouped into solutions to unify a complex process or pull data from disparate sources.
Datapolis Process System can be managed from SharePoint Central Administration. From there, you can control all workflow and applications across the farm, define permissions, and see monitoring diagnostics. Datapolis Process System is fully integrated with the SharePoint environment. Process participants can take a workflow action with a click on the context menu, list or ribbon, display form or edit form.
KF: Who is that target customer? Please discuss business size, role (IT, dev, end user, business decision maker, etc.)?
Jozefowicz: Business size: medium to large enterprises (big enough to have some formalized process logic). We have experience with healthcare and the government sector, among others
Technology: Microsoft SharePoint, preferably 2013
Role: people involved in process design, both business process managers and IT specialists (SharePoint architects, administrators, etc.).
KF: What options do customers have as alternatives to Datapolis? How are people dealing with the situation if they don’t have Datapolis?
Jozefowicz: They can use out-of-the-box workflows provided with SharePoint or create their own with SharePoint Designer. For more complex processes they can code the solution with Visual Studio.
KF: You competitors for this product include Nintex and K2, as well as other smaller companies offering workflow extensions for SharePoint. Naturally, the obvious (and free) competitor is SharePoint designer itself.What differentiates your solution from others on the market?
Jozefowicz: Our emphasis on state machine workflows. We have a two-layered workflow designer for the business and technical layers. Other differentiators are our built-in forms module and our applications.
KF: What industry research or data should potential customers know about that will help them understand your value proposition and evaluate their own situation?
Jozefowicz: Research showing the importance of SharePoint on the market includes the Gartner Magic Quadrant on ECM: http://www.datapolis.com/docs/Gartner-Magic%20Quadrant%20for%20Enterprise%20Content%20Management.pdf.
You can look at a comparison of SharePoint Designer and Datapolis done by one of our partners: http://www.datapolis.com/docs/SharePoint%20Designer%202013%20vs%20Workbox%20(2).pdf. (Please note the comparison analyzes Datapolis Workbox, which is the earlier version of our solution, the main features are nonetheless the same.)
KF: Please point readers to customer testimonials and case studies.
Jozefowicz: The following links to testimonials also analyse Datapolis Workbox, as DPS is a new solution that is currently being implemented by our first customers: Sidrag: http://www.datapolis.com/docs/case_study_sidrag.pdf, b’huth: http://www.datapolis.com/docs/Case_study_bhuth_approved.pdf, Pipelife: http://www.datapolis.com/docs/Allium%20Document%20Management%20-%20Case%20Study%20-%20Pipelife.pdf (this one was done with cooperation with our Czech partner Allium).
KF: What else do potential customers need to know?
Jozefowicz: For anyone interested in our solution, Datapolis offers an online test site. It is a virtual SharePoint site collection that allows you to test Datapolis Process System with no obligation to install it. The test environment includes five user accounts, tutorial videos, and free online support. We also offer a free 30-day trial for everyone registered in our customer area. A description of sample Datapolis applications is available here: http://www.datapolis.com/support/knowledgebase/articles/141-what-are-datapolis-applications.