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SharePoint Workflow and Automation

Best Practices for Implementing SharePoint Workflow

When automating processes in SharePoint, companies can encounter significant challenges both in developing the technology, and the test practices during implementation.  This functionality can offer tremendous value and return on investment when implemented effectively. Our team has over 10 years experience working with a variety of workflow process automation tools in SharePoint.

Business Process Automation to Drive Value

Automating manual  processes can provide some of the largest productivity gains when implementing SharePoint ECM or any ECM solution.  Today there are many different options to automate processes, from SharePoint Workflow to Enterprise Workflow.  In most cases, the two primary goals of electronic workflow tools are to strengthen operational efficiency while simultaneously providing more control regarding the security of sensitive documents and information.

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SharePoint 2013 includes some improvements to its workflow capabilities, including an independent workflow engine called Workflow Manager 1.0. The new engine separates workflow functionality from other SharePoint services and provides new runtime capabilities. However, despite the addition of new features, workflow in SharePoint 2013 remains limited in many scenarios, so it is important to understand what capabilities are available, what limitations exist and why it might be necessary to turn to 3rd party workflow software, to build SharePoint based workflow and forms apps that meet your needs. Processes are central to any organization and workflow is the orchestrator of processes.  SharePoint workflow may meet your needs for simple workflows, and after all, it is part of your SharePoint product stack, so it should always be considered first.  SharePoint workflows can also be combined with 3rd party workflow tools where simple workflows can be combined with more complex workflows.

Total Solutions can assist with the development of SharePoint workflow development, but even with all these great improvements to SharePoint Workflow, you may have more complex workflow needs, or require more user friendly workflow design tools with eForms, and Total Solutions can assist in selecting.  Our SharePoint Consultants have the expertise and experience to help you get the job done.



A build and run business application using workflows and forms that are completely customizable to your way of doing things.  From small-scale departmental needs to mission-critical applications that span your entire organization, K2 gives you complete control, so your solutions match your needs precisely, allowing your workforce to stay focused on growing the business, instead of managing processes.


Click here to download a technical comparison of K2 Appit for SharePoint and Out-of-the-box SharePoint 2013 Workflow.


Workflow, Quick and Easy

Decide, drag, drop and you’re done. Individual users and workflow professionals alike can automate processes in minutes using an intuitive, easy-to-use, browser-based, drag-and-drop workflow designer that reduces the work involved in building, using and improving processes.

Powerful and Connected

Automate processes ranging from the simple to those requiring complex logic, from departmental to organization-wide, and from a single site to those that connect to content and systems throughout the enterprise and the cloud.


Governable and Manageable

Monitor the status of your business processes in real-time to quickly address performance, quality and compliance issues. Our workflow designer lets you establish who can design processes and which tools they may use.

Reuse Best Practices

Great solutions can be added to self-service catalogs or even proactively pushed to other places. Professionals can create workflow components in minutes and share them with anyone who needs them. And all of it can be managed from one place.

Nintex is one of the world’s leading workflow companies producing Business Process Management tools for the SharePoint environment. Their workflow platform automates processes on and between today’s most used enterprise content management systems and collaboration platforms, connecting on-premises, cloud workflows and mobile users. Their platform helps organizations automate their business processes quickly and easily.

Dynamic Workflow Creation

Create, modify and reuse K2 applications with little to no code – on premise or in the cloud, on the fly, and as your business changes.  Your team can access and respond to tasks wherever they are and in whatever way they prefer: via mobile device, email or company portal.  There they can take action, delegate, check in on process status or find the information they need to keep moving the business forward.


K2 applications reach across departments and lines of business, so the right people always have the right information at the right time to make smart, data-driven decisions.  You can easily connect K2 apps to your current systems, such as SAP, SharePoint, or Salesforce, to securely pull data from across your entire organization without having to store it, ever.

Total Solutions Workflow Experience

HR On-boarding Workflow Case Study


A leading global law firm with approximately 350 lawyers across more than 40 practice areas required an automated workflow to manage onboarding tasks and documents for new employees. The workflow needed to (1) streamline the onboarding process for newly hired employees, (2) provide for stakeholder visibility into the onboarding process, and (3) lay a foundation for the expansion and improvement of HR processes and workflows in the firm’s SharePoint environment.


Total Solutions first performed discovery to familiarize ourselves with the current IT infrastructure as well as the workflow requirements. This included conducting interviews, reviewing source code, and reviewing any documentation to further understand their environment. Using these items, we were able to develop architecture and data designs and review with the firm to ensure the entire team was clear on the requirements. We built a Nintex Workflow and Forms solution and deployed it to an existing SharePoint 2013 environment. The solution included a Triggering Program that recognizes when a “New Hire” item was created in the existing HR system, surfaces that data into SharePoint, and initiates the Nintex workflow. The workflow notifies predefined stakeholders of the New Hire and the actions taken and required by specific stakeholders and associates data from those actions with data in the HR system.


The workflow solution we provided automated several onboarding tasks and decreased the amount of labor hours necessary to bring a new employee on to the firm. Nintex workflows ensure that all onboarding tasks are completed correctly, in a timely manner, and appropriate management personnel have visibility into the process to ensure proper oversight.

Document Approval Workflow Case Study


A major electric transmission company required a centralized location to store company-wide policy and procedure documents. The Compliance Policies & Procedures team had been managing all documentation via a public shared drive. The shared drive was a labor intensive document management tool and provided not only an opportunity to reduce labor hours by simplifying processes, but also, an opportunity to ensure all Policy and Procedures documents were secure.


Total Solutions implemented a new SharePoint portal that can be used to manage their Policy and Procedures documents and associated processes. This dedicated SharePoint site housed all Procedures documentation with version control capabilities. It also included a workflow that could manage functions such as document creation, editing and approval. We also implemented security features delineating who could create, edit or approve documents based on the individual’s role, group, or document type. Once these systems and features were implemented, we trained relevant personnel to properly use the sites functions.​


Total Solutions’ SharePoint implementation drastically decreased the labor hours necessary for the energy firm to manage Policy & Procedure documentation while increasing security around those documents. Furthermore, our training ensured that there was no “learning curve’ for Compliance Policies & Procedures personnel to endure in the first months of the rollout, further increasing the return on investment for this project.