By design, Microsoft never intended for Windows Workflow Manager (WWF), the workflow engine in versions of SharePoint prior to 2013, to be an enterprise-class development platform—just simple trigger apps; that was the intent. And while SharePoint 2013/Office 365 saw a sizeable upgrade when Microsoft supplanted WWF with Workflow Manager 1.0, a declarative modeling environment, it’s still not what enterprises really need for building sophisticated, cross-functional business apps that can span on-premises systems—say a SharePoint 2010 farm, for example—and cloud-native services, such as Office 365, Salesforce, or NetSuite. Even Microsoft will tell you as much.
In fact, in a recent AgilePoint webinar, one of the guest presenters, Adnan Qureshi, Development Manager for Dril Quip, a global manufacturer of offshore drilling and production equipment (NYSE: DRQ) related his experience trying to build a sophisticated Sales Order Approval system using SharePoint 2013 (WM 1.0). But after going live, Dril Quip quickly discovered that SharePoint’s workflow engine was “very unstable, highly resource intensive, and difficult to maintain.”
When Dril Quip consulted with Microsoft support about the new system’s performance, it was advised that WM 1.0 was designed “only for simple workflows and not for more advanced BPM applications.” Again, Microsoft can build whatever it wants. It just hasn’t chosen to give SharePoint 2013/Office 365 an enterprise-class application development backbone.
After an exhaustive search for a low-code system that could handle advanced BPM capability—what Dril Quip’s system really needed to begin with—it settled on AgilePoint NX. While AgilePoint NX has a long history in the BPMS space (placed in Gartner’s iBPMS Magic Quadrant for 2015), it has morphed into one of the industry’s most powerful low-code systems. AgilePoint NX is a true application Platform as a Service, which allows companies like Dril Quip to build, manage, and deploy its applications entirely in the cloud. And because Dril Quip’s Sales Order Approval system was built on AgilePoint NX, the system has built in BPM capability—for example, the ability to measure and monitor system throughput and manage running process instances during system changes.
In summing up, Qureshi explained the reasons Dril Quip chose AgilePoint NX, a list which included the following:
• Dril Quip needed a low-code platform that delivered enterprise-class quality and robustness.
• Dril Quip wanted a system that would have a short learning curve and flexible integration with other systems.
• Dril Quip needed powerful, dynamic, rule-driven forms.
• Dril Quip placed a heavy premium on a stable system, a direct byproduct of its previous experience.
• Dril Quip wanted resulting applications to be hybrid ready, enabling for easy migration from SharePoint 2013 to Office 365.
• Dril Quip’s chosen system needed to be cost effective and offer quick ROI.
• Dril Quip wanted to do business with a company that offered great support.
Not only has AgilePoint got a long history in the BPM space, it’s also an established leader for SharePoint/Microsoft related development projects. Consequently, the Mountain View-based company offers the perfect option for organizations needing enterprise-class applications that are Microsoft focused but which will also integrate with non Microsoft systems, both on-premises and cloud-based.