Page ContentSharePoint has functionality around electronic forms and process automation. This is something that has been developed and improved over the various releases of SharePoint – back when I started with SharePoint 2007 workflows, creating a process with a loop would give you a migraine, now it’s straight-forward. So the question arises: if SharePoint includes forms and workflow capabilities, why would you buy a third-party add-in to do forms and workflow?It’s a good question. I don’t want to say anything disparaging of the native SharePoint capabilities because I think they are excellent toolsets – I’ve even gone so far as to write a book about creating electronic forms for SharePoint. That said, there are still advantages to using K2’s Appit instead of (or as well as) native SharePoint forms and workflows. What I’ve gathered in this post are my thoughts and opinions about some of the reasons you should consider when choosing whether you should invest in Appit. Workflow status informationWhen an Appit workflow is running, it’s incredibly easy to see the status of the process. For an instance, you can get a clear view of what the process looks like and the current state. This is what Appit calls the View Flow. This diagram shows the route taken if there are branches, and the current task or activity. This can update in real time as automatic processes are carried out. This can be immensely useful when processes are long or time-consuming, and when there are a lot of stages involved. It’s easy for someone, whether a manager or the person who started off a process, to see what state things are in.ReportingOn top of the status information, Appit provides a number of options for reporting on workflows. This reporting can be at the level of an individual workflow, or looking at processes as a group.Along with the View Flow shown above, Appit workflows include charts about their status. Out of the box, with no configuration or effort, you can get charts that show how long particular tasks within a workflow have taken to be completed. Appit also comes with the ability to create charts and reports on multiple workflows. You can take metrics such as the number of running workflows and the time taken for a workflow to complete, and chart these against factors such as time or other information. For example, you could create a chart that maps how long it takes for an approval process to complete per department. These reports let you identify issues and problem areas, as well as measure the benefits of any streamlining of processes.