8 Things That Make WEBCON BPS Different
Back in December 2019 while attending the European SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Conference in beautiful Prague, Czech Republic, I was able to connect with SharePoint community legend Mike Fitzmaurice (@mikefitz), Chief Evangelist and VP of North America for WEBCON and talk to him about the evolution of the digital workplace, the increased focus on business process automation and productivity, and the unique value proposition of the WEBCON solution.
For those who may be unfamiliar with WEBCON, they describe themselves as “a low-code Business Process Automation platform” with a number of key differentiators. They are an established and well-known brand across Europe that is now growing rapidly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. They are quickly overtaking the competition with a solution that does not require an advanced degree to master, and which better supports the fast-pace of operational change of the modern workplace.
I was able to sit with Mike during the ESPC conference and talk to him about his extensive experience in the workflow space and WEBCON’s key differentiators, and have compiled the video below and a short summary of his responses:
It’s all about the process
Generally speaking, one of the problems I’ve observed with most IT efforts is people attempting to build solutions before the end goal is fully understood. It can lead to poor designs, missed requirements, and lots of rework. One of the problems with traditional workflows tools is that you’re modeling your data before you even know what you’re going to do with it, which is completely backwards. With WEBCON, it’s a more natural process that allows business teams to focus on the business process first.
Spend any time in an operational management role, and you’ll begin to realize how important change management is to the modern organization. Companies that excel at change management will have a distinct competitive advantage over those who do not. Our business systems, customers requirements, and our understanding of what needs to be done are all constantly evolving and changing. As Mike points out in the video, WEBCON was developed with the understanding that changes can (and will) be made at any time. The platform adapts and instantly deploys your changes, whether to data types, their corresponding forms, or any of the business rules you put in place. That means you can make edits and see the impacts of your changes in real-time with just one click.
When a customer is looking for a product or service to help solve a business problem, the last thing you want is to encounter high-pressure sales tactics. WEBCON offers several options for “getting your hands dirty” and trying out their solution, from a 30-day trial to a full-featured express version (which I’ve linked at the bottom of this article). Additionally, they support on-premises, multi-tenant SaaS, and Azure deployments to fit your infrastructural needs. It’s all the same license, and all of them can scale to meet your needs as your company grows and as your systems transition between on-prem, hybrid, and cloud footprints.
An integrated solution
This one is a huge differentiator. Other solutions have separate tools for creating forms, another tool for modeling your data, and yet another tool for your workflow creation. WEBCON is not a suite of tools, but one integrated solution. Everything you need to design, build and deploy a workflow is found in one place. As a result, everything talks with each other, and when you deploy, it’s all one package that can be versioned, archived, migrated and audited from one place.
Communication is key
Quickly create documentation to support your business process automations with a couple clicks. And rather than complex diagrams that only the workflow owner can decipher, WEBCON documentation provides a simplified diagram that business users can read and understand without the need for a translator. The documentation separates what the business process is doing (the business activities) from how it is doing them (the technical aspects) all in one place, so you don’t need separate diagrams or documents for different constituencies.
Real-world measurement & auditing
Customers expect to see basic monitoring statistics. WEBCON adds value by providing business value metrics. Mike shares a couple examples, such as How much money is at stake? or, How long does it take to complete a particular stage in a workflow? He points out that there is no additional work to capture these data points, as WEBCON provides everything you need to report on these metrics. For auditing, WEBCON doesn’t just add columns to the database that you need to parse through for data, but packages all of the auditing data along with the workflow, giving you everything you need in one place.
True task management
Task can be fairly complex. Mike does a great job in the video describing some of this complexity, and calls tasks “a big fat hairy deal.” Rather than hiding these granular tasks within high-level actions, WEBCON provides more detailed control and documentation.
A fundamentally different approach
In the final segment, Mike talks about what makes WEBCON fundamentally different, comparing competitive solutions to a conveyor belt, where once things are on the conveyor belt you cannot make changes, and where too many items on the belt at one time can cause problems. He describes WEBCON more like a waiting room where everyone sitting and waiting is a process that is running, waiting to be called up to the service desk (the workflow engine) to be assigned an action. It’s a great analogy that helps highlight an important distinction in WEBCON’s overall approach to workflow.
Check out the full-length video interview here:
If you’d like to find out more about WEBCON, a resource that I highly recommend is the ebook Why a “Brand X” Workflow User Should Look At WEBCON, which is free and does not require registration.
Or if you’re ready to try it out yourself, WEBCON offers three options: a full-featured online demo, an online sandbox, or a freemium solution which can be installed on-prem or in a virtual environment.