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

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Chapter 5. Working with Workflow

Most businesses have processes related to specific activities and, typically, the steps of these processes are documented in procedures in a predictable manner. Workflow involves the various tasks that employees must complete on a business activity, and these tasks often occur in a specific order. A workflow could be something completely nontechnical, such as washing your car; however, it usually involves some level of interaction with technology mixed with human activity. Workflows in SharePoint generally focus on a specific document or list item. However, it is important to remember that the actual document may be representative of a much larger human-based process such as applying for a job or requesting vacation time.

In the 2003 release, SharePoint did not include an automated workflow engine. For many organizations, this meant purchasing third-party software solutions to get automated business process management. However, in 2007, SharePoint comes with support for automated workflow solutions built upon the Windows Workflow Foundation, which is Microsoft's platform for workflow development and tools. Because it is a development platform, it can be extended and customized to meet the needs of most organizations if the available solutions do not.

Because it parallels business processes and natural human activity, workflow is an important part of document management. When used correctly, it can meld automation and tasks that rely heavily on ...

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