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Beginning SharePoint® 2007: Building Team Solutions with MOSS 2007 by Shane Perran, Amanda Murphy

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5.1. Types of Workflow Solutions

The expansion of workflow support in SharePoint 2007 based on the Windows Workflow Foundation provides many alternatives for organizations looking to automate business activities and drive processes through use of the SharePoint environment. To best understand how workflow can help your organization, you need to understand some basic concepts. First, you need to understand the differences between a serial and parallel workflow. You also need to understand the three different ways to create a workflow template, which you will use to build your workflow. Finally, you need understand the process behind workflow creation. Before you delve into all of this, the following explains the difference between a serial and parallel workflow:

  • A serial workflow is one that allows users to participate one at a time. An example of this is an employee requesting vacation leave. The employee submits a request to his or her supervisor. The request is approved and sent to a departmental or human resources manager, and then sent to accounting or the payroll manager. Each step requires some sort of input before the next step can take place, and no steps can be interchanged.

  • In a parallel workflow, multiple users can participate at the same time with individual steps being less structured and defined. An example of this is a review process where a research and development team creates a report, which is circulated around to all departmental managers for feedback and suggestions. ...

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