Business process automation and integration, with a varying level of complexity
July 10, 2014

Business process automation and integration, with a varying level of complexity

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with K2 blackpearl

We use K2 blackpearl with our clients based on their needs. At times clients may already have an instance of K2 blackpearl that we extend, while in other situations we may recommend K2 blackpearl based on specific criteria. Our organization does not use K2 blackpearl directly. Business problems we have addressed with our clients include information routing, system integration, and workflow customization.
  • K2 blackpearl easily connects different business applications. The concept of SmartObjects helps K2 stand out from other products. For example, you can define a Customer with information from SAP, Salesforce, and Exchange without having to develop connections between the systems.
  • K2 blackpearl enables workflow creation without coding. Common business processes can easily be modeled with drag-and-drop configurations using K2's suite of editors.
  • The configuration Wizards for workflow development are not always straightforward. For example, you may need to configure an Event with an advanced option, but you cannot get to the advanced screen unless you navigate backwards from the configuration Wizard's starting point.
  • Versions needs to be improved. The only way to recover the previous version of an object is to go into the K2 database and directly execute a stored procedure. They mention version control is a benefit of their tools, but it is not something a normal user would know how to do with ease. In addition, only pieces of a solution can be versioned (objects, processes, forms) as opposed to a complete solution that represents an end-to-end business process across K2's offerings.
  • K2 blackpearl is still being developed, so the rare critical bug may be found. For example, we discovered that the use of an ampersand in the name of a workflow activity destroyed one of our custom K2 SmartForms.
  • K2 blackpearl adds complexity with features. K2 recommends training because their feature-rich tools can be complicated to use. Formal training requires additional time and money, and while their products afford rapid development you must have a firm understanding of how to accomplish tasks in K2 before you can get things done.
  • Automatic routing via a custom K2 workflow helped to get important documents to key stakeholders faster, and increased the potential for communication by creating a single source of truth without the need for multiple paper copies of documents.
While K2 blackpearl is powerful, it shouldn't be an automatic selection for all situations. A careful analysis of business requirements, cost, and projected long-term use is required before choosing a K2 offering over a competitor, as is true with almost any other business product. The more hands-on development you can get with K2 blackpearl the better you will be at determining if it's the correct product for your needs. Don't let a sales pitch sway you into purchasing or using the product; experience what it can do for yourself!
Selecting K2 Blackpearl and its supporting tools should be done carefully. Key factors include:
  • The amount of users and processes to be supported (costs can vary by user and process count)
  • The features needed (K2 is feature-rich, if complex)
  • How many systems will be integrated (generally the more the better for K2)
  • Initial time to go-live (K2 requires time for installation, configuration, and training)
  • Cost (K2 is probably not the cheapest solution, so establishing needs outside of cost is key)