23 Aug

2 Things that Will Soon Matter

I have spent the better part of a weekend doing some listening and reading about some
emerging Microsoft technologies (products?) that I believe will both be disruptive
in their own ways.  Windows Workflow Foundations and Microsoft Share Point 2007
are linked together, but worlds apart.

Workflow Foundations

Workflow seems really mundane, which is why the new and better name for it has become
“Business Process Management”, but even that gets pretty numbing if you
look under the covers.  Workflow is effectively a reproduced process by which
humans get work done, right?  Well, it was.

Whether you call it workflow, lifecycle, process, methodology, or any other rose by
another name, workflow exists between people, machines, within complex software systems,
and even within simple software applications.  Guess who finally gets that? 

What’s the difference between managing the workflow of a complex financial transaction
and managing button state on an options dialog in a Windows application?  Scale. 
And with Workflow services, Microsoft has given us a framework for solving both problems
with the same models.

Developers, you should pay attention to this.

Share Point 2007

Designed to be more than an Intranet portal, maybe this time around Share Point actually
will be.  Share Point server has the expressed intent of allowing non-developer
knowledge workers design their own business applications complete with workflow (see

Think about this.  If an HR assistant could structure a site that processed resumes
through an approval process and then prompts interviews to be booked, then I.T.
doesn’t have to write it.  Again.

If a marketing representative can define a new web site for a product launch and manage
a complete marketing campaign complete with broadcast emails to subscribers, then
I.T. doesn’t have to write it.  Again.

I.T. Managers, pay attention to this.  It has the potential to make your life
easier, which experience shows means that it will actually make things more confusing. 
Prepare to staff a Share Point developer if you haven’t done so already.