Perfect Integration of K2 and Project Online

Better Workflows in Project Online without SharePoint Designer

There is a need in many organizations to control projects not only during the execution phase, but throughout its entire project lifecycles, from starting as an idea, through planning and execution, all the way to project closeout.

Steps of the idea management process (click graphic to enlarge)
The idea management process


Microsoft Project Server / Project Online and the SharePoint environment it is part of (“Microsoft PPM”) provides configurable basic workflows and forms out of the box. These allow users to map a consistent project management process from idea to closure.

But companies often require more functions than the SharePoint Designer in the PPM environment can provide. K2 is the appropriate platform for them.

K2 – The Low-Code Business Application Platform

Through low-code applications, K2 supports companies in transforming processes into efficient business applications using workflows and forms. 1.5 million users in over 84 countries are already working with this application.

K2 is a great choice for organizations that need more than the built-in capability of SharePoint Designer to build Microsoft PPM Demand management workflows. However, K2 on its own does not offer integration with Microsoft Project Server or Project Online. This is where the TPG K2 Connector comes in.

The TPG K2 Connector

TPG developed this connector primarily to implement workflows in idea management and to replace the SharePoint Designer workflows. This “bridge” makes it possible to create projects in Microsoft Project Server / Project Online directly from the K2 workflows. In addition, it allows users to create new tasks and update projects and resource data.

Idea management process with K2 and ProjectOnline via TPG K2 Connector (click graphic to enlarge)
Idea management process with K2 and ProjectOnline

The table below compares the capabilities of SharePoint Designer with the TPG K2 Connector solution.

SharePoint Designer Demand Management (DM) and FormsDemand Management Workflows and Forms using K2 and the TPG K2 Connector
  • Very basic form design capability
  • Form design by drag and drop
  • Text-based workflow designer, suitable only for fairly simple workflows
  • Graphical, wizard-driven workflow designer, suitable for complex workflows
  • DM workflow can only be sequential, one stage after the other
  • With the TPG K2 Connector, workflows can go directly to any desired stage
  • No workflow debugging capability
  • Extensive workflow debugging
  • Every field in the PDP form requires an Enterprise Project field
  • Designer can choose which workflow fields need mapping Enterprise Project fields
  • Audit trail is limited and implemented as a SharePoint list
  • Extensive and secure audit trail
  • Very limited workflow management
  • Extensive workflow management (redirect, repair, ViewFlow, workflow versions and more)
  • Extensive custom coding needed for extensions
  • No or little custom coding needed for extensions

Business Cases for Processes with K2 and Project Online Integration

Some complex end-to-end business cases with workflows already implemented by TPG using the K2 Connector and Microsoft Project Server / Project Online are:

  • Automating the entire approval process for capital projects for a major oil producer
  • Automating the entire procurement process and integrating it with the project lifecycle at a telecommunications company
  • Idea management system for a large mining company to register ideas for cost saving and boosting production: The hundreds and thousands of ideas needed to be assigned to the correct business units and channeled into a decision-making process. Valuable ideas are turned into projects in Microsoft PPM.
Video on idea and innovation Management with SharePoint, K2 and Project Online (click image to play video)
Video on idea management with K2 and Project Online

Features of the TPG K2 Connector

  • Creating and updating projects
      - Enterprise Project fields – Standard and custom
      - Project master data
  • Changing workflow stages
  • Group affiliation and resource master data
  • Changing lookup table values
  • Creating and maintaining the connected SharePoint workspaces
  • And many others

Benefits of the TPG K2 Connector

  • A  ready-to-use “bridge” between Microsoft PPM and the extensive form and workflow capabilities of K2
  • Saves extensive CSOM or PSI custom coding
  • Enables K2 developers without Microsoft PPM experience to build integrated applications

Compatibility

  • Microsoft Project Server 2013
  • Microsoft Project Server 2016
  • Microsoft Project Online
  • K2 blackpearl Version 4.7 or later