Hi there.

We (my company) is trying to develop a solution (application) for document management. We have considered using MS Sharepoint Server 2007 or Sharepoint Services, but we need recommendation or suggestion for this.

We are planning to use windows workflow fundation for various tasks like(task assignment, document approval, information collection...). But we need suggestion on which product to choose, and/or witch technology.

example: The user logs on a web portal to request a house building permit. He enters the required information in a form and submits the request. The request is then assigned to different persons or departments, depending in which stadium the request currently is. The user can anytime logs on to the web portal and see the state of his request and if required to enter some different information.

+8  A: 

Well, I should just say that my one experience with Sharepoint is not great, and I am irritated by it's limitations every day, which is constantly adding to my frustration with it. I'm sure that it could be made more useful, but not as of yet.

What you are looking for is a Business Process Management (Workflow) solution that is tied into Document Management. I did this work for the better part of a decade, so I know of a few companies that offer these products. (Some of these may be overkill, but then again, so is sharepoint)

  • FileNet - Offers both BPM and DM. pricey but 30 years experience doing the work and their products are Rock Solid. (Training is also in SoCal. Nice!)
  • Epitome - Offers both BPM and DM (called it EPM - I hate marketing). licensing can run as a per seat or per transaction. (All .NET api's and can design or host the solution if you want)
  • OpenCMS - Just DM, free, but you will need to hook into BPM (WWFF).
  • OTG - Offers both BPM and DM. No current idea on pricing, but very easy to understand product structure and is very easy to troubleshoot.

Dont bother with

  • OnBase - Support is difficult and they are all COM components, .NET integration is difficult and they are not real willing to help integrators.
  • Fortis / FileMagic - Just not mature enough last time I worked with them.

If you are going to roll your own, make sure that you have at least these few things.

  • Document versioning /change auditing. Each change should be recorded as a new separate document. (Even though you may be working with electronic forms, each time the data is changed, the old version should be preserved)
  • Locks / checkout for a document. In much the same way source control works.
  • Keep it simple.
+1 for keep it simple :) Sadly I have to agree that Sharepoint is not the solution I would pick up, had I choice. If your customers don't directly ask for sharepoint I'd stay away from it.
Having worked with sharepoint myself, I have to agree - stay away!
+1  A: 

I believe Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) 3.0 can deliver all that you need.

You can use the Windows Workflow Foundation like you plan to do, and document-libraries deliver document management including versioning, document check-out and searching.

Unless you plan to integrate the portal with a legacy system or need another complex function (like rights-management in documents) i do not think you need Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS) 2007.

You should be using Microsoft Office (Version 2007 if possible) when you use SharePoint; see White paper: Good, better, best: Office and SharePoint Products and Technologies

More details here: What is Microsoft Sharepoint?


k2 BlackPearl has been used to provide complex Workflow solutions with SharePoint, BlackPearl uses the Windows Workflow Foundation and the two products are worth exploring if you are wanting the Microsoft Office integration and collaboration features found in SharePoint.

SharePoint is a large and complex platform that may be overkill for small solutions, but if you are planning on integrating your entire organisation it may provide a cost effective solution.

The biggest issue with SharePoint is knowledge. It is hard to find people who have the requisite experience to guide you around some of the pitfalls that are easy to make in a SharePoint rollout and hard to recover from.


In communication with the client, I obtained the requirement list where the client wrote that the platform must be SharePoint Services 3.0. So now all my decisions will be based on developing a solution based on that. Therefore I thank you all for many good suggestions given here especially StingyJack who suggested another few products I will consider for my future projects.

Now I must concentrate on architectural design for my project.


I would also suggest k2 blackPearl.. it has great workflow capabilities and integration with sharepoint

but K2 blackPoint (another k2 software) also integrates very nicely with SharePoint, actually you can only use it with sharepoint. if you want to cut costs k2 blackPoint could be an option rather than k2 blackPearl. and because BlackPoint can integrate with infopath, you can make better gui rather than filling out Sharepoint lists when you want to make a new item. not that i have anything against filling out lists, look are important for me (personal preference i guess)


using any k2 application cuts development time, coz its relatively easy to develop (drag n drop kinda stuff). K2 say's no coding, but you can add code.