SharePoint Workflow via K2 blackpoint

This article was originally posted on June 01, 2009.

  1. effectively using SharePoint’s native workflows
  2. creating SharePoint workflows with SharePoint Designer (now a free download from MSFT)
  3. creating custom workflows in .NET with Workflow Foundation.

In fact, a few years ago, we created a white paper about these different approaches, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each. At the time, we consciously chose not to include ISV (Independent Software Vendor, or third-party developer) solutions because it would expand the scope of the white paper too broadly.

Meanwhile, we’ve monitored the marketplace for ISV workflow solutions. This week, I attended the monthly New England SharePoint User Group meeting, including a featured speaker from K2, a leading workflow ISV. K2 has had a presence in the workflow market for many years with their K2.NET and blackpearl workflow engines for the enterprise. blackpearl is K2’s current enterprise offering, and it contains some capabilities for SharePoint-specific workflow development.

In this week’s session, we were shown key differences between K2’s new blackpoint offering and the richer blackpearl as follows:

  • blackpoint has business-user-oriented user interfaces for workflow design that blackpearl does not have in its current version:
  1. blackpoint Studio, a standalone Integrated Development Environment for creating workflows
  2. blackpoint Web designer, a SilverLight-based tool for visually designing workflows from within SharePoint
  • blackpoint has reduced complexity (read: reduced functionality) to make it easier for business analysts and business users to develop SharePoint workflows without writing .NET code.
  • blackpoint is priced much more aggressively than blackpearl, its enterprise-class cousin. blackpoint pricing spans from $5,000 to $15,000 per server; blackpearl is orders of magnitude higher.

Given the aggressive pricing for blackpoint and K2’s reputation in the Microsoft community, I look forward to our firm’s being able to see more and test blackpoint, as many of our clients are approaching business process automation as a key initiative in their “sophomore year” with SharePoint 2007.

Originally published at

Project management, financial management, and knowledge management. Microsoft 365 aficionado, proud Sympraxian. Opinions and Philly attytood are my own.