Velocity unpacks the new K2 Five and K2 Cloud platform – and it’s very impressive!
It’s here! K2’s next generation no- and low-code business application development platform has been released, and developing business apps using it is now even easier and faster than before.
The K2 platform provides technical and non-technical users a capability to fully automate manual business processes, turn paper-based forms to digital and integrate with virtually any 3rd party system. Workflow metrics and business information are made available in an advanced reporting and analytics module, and this help organisations increase their performance.
Known as K2 Five and K2 Cloud for the on-prem and Cloud versions respectively, it represents a major shift in technology capability and ease of use from its predecessor K2 blackpearl. K2’s mission statement with K2 Five and K2 Cloud is to ‘automate every process in every organisation’. Ambitious as it seems, K2 did a great job with the new platform to bring workflow-driven business app development within reach of virtually every non-technical business user out there. Everybody can now, and even faster than before, easily create and deploy business apps that help getting work done faster.
So what’s better?
A lot actually! Apps built in K2 help things get done, and the faster they can be developed, the more efficient your organisation will run. K2’s strength is the speed at which apps can be rolled out across an organisation using its platform. This impressive speed makes apps more accessible to more people across an organisation, reducing the reliance on traditionally longer-running IT development projects to deliver it.
There is an impressive array of features added to its existing online forms, workflow designer, 3rd party system integration and reporting & analytics capabilities. Everything is fully browser based making building K2 apps more assessable to everybody looking to solve business problems using technology.
INFINITE WORKFLOW PROCESS DESIGNER CANVAS
The most noticeable difference is the new infinite workflow process designer canvas. Not only does it look great, but its intuitive smart assist feature helps you assemble and run workflows in impressive times.
For beginners, it offers quick inline tutorials to get you started and your process deployed error free. The real-time workflow validation feature provides a further level of assurance to users that processes are error free when running.
BUSINESS RULES CONFIGURATION EDITOR
The business rules configuration editor has also been revamped. Its graphical interface makes the creation of complex business rules and expressions far easier and richer than its predecessor. Business data can easily form part of any business rule’s configuration and evaluation. Big emphasis has been placed on making business data available everywhere, which means even more dynamic and flexible business rule evaluation.
The mobile experience is also better. Features like geo-location coding, barcode scanning and annotations are an example of the additional capabilities K2 added for mobile. The offline forms with auto synchronisation also provides a flexible option for mobile workers with limited or no Wi-Fi connectivity.
ONLINE FORM DESIGNER
The online form designer has also been improved. The designer now offers a much easier journey for users to create, publish and run online forms. K2 also increased the number of form controls in its toolbox, and this allows for even more complex forms to be created without compromising on development speed and agility. The forms designer also guides and promotes a good end-user experience (UX) ensuring interaction with the K2 forms are easy and intuitive.
SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE
A brand-new security and governance model provides fine-grained security options for all forms, workflows, data lookups and reports. It is a great feature to see in the new K2 Five and K2 Cloud, as it was frequently requested by customers and K2 responded well by adding this capability.
K2 also introduced the App Builder. This enables less technical users to leverage a set of pre-configures app templates to rapidly spin-up apps and tweak them to their exact requirement. The wizard-driven experience looks easy to use and auto generated K2 apps are instantly ready to be accessed by users. More features and complex behaviour can be added to these apps as user feedback is received. This is in line with K2’s strategy to make workflow-driven business apps accessible to everybody.
REPORTING AND INSIGHTS
The reporting and insights capabilities in K2 Five and K2 Cloud are also significantly better.
The noticeable change is the number of new reports K2 added and the flexible integration with OData and visualization tools like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI. The out-of-box K2 reports are easily embedded in K2 apps by simply dragging and dropping the reports onto the forms designer and configuring the data sources and security options.
Integrating everything related to business data with K2 has always been easy. The steadfast K2 SmartObjects framework is still a key component of K2 Five and K2 Cloud. This makes exposing and using virtually every data point out there extremely easy in K2. Complex data access and data aggregation are all hidden away from K2 users, and focus can be placed on developing an app with a superior functional and user experience, rather than coding data access and integration modules. A major new feature K2 added is the ability to easily manage SmartObjects’ OData external integration layer. The same thinking has been applied to the workflow engine’s REST API and thill will no doubt enable non-technically savvy users to manage integration into K2.
A Brand-New Workspace!
This greatly improves how users access K2. The K2 Workspace provides a user-centric, security-trimmed space where they can access all their outstanding tasks, forms and reports from one location. The impressive part of this is the user experience and also the ability to have as many Workspaces as you want, enabling you to group K2 apps by business function, department name, security need, priority or any other category you can think of.
The Workspace is a major shift away from K2 blackpearl and it will change the way people get their work done using K2. To elaborate, the My Tasks, My Forms and My Reports are all easily accessible from one space and each have a deeper navigation structure that enables users to view individual tasks and underlying details, view forms (using a form explorer) that are available to them and a report viewer to gain insights into your Workspaces’ priorities.
An impressive new feature in K2 Workspace that particularly stands out is the Task Panel with the Actions, History and Activity Feeds. Everything needed to understand the context of a task’s existence and why and how to action it is in one place now. This, too, is massively different from the previous Workspace and will no-doubt transform the way people do their work.
K2 Cloud Certification, Deployment Options and Pricing
Compliance for Cloud is a major challenge that hinders adoption, but K2 removes this with the U.S. FDA and ISO 27001 certification.
Flexible deployment options also exist. Both Cloud and on-prem have a subscription model, and on-prem still has a perpetual licencing model. K2 Cloud is a fully managed SaaS offering and K2 Five can be used for private-Cloud deployments should organisations prefer to go down this route for whatever reason. Hybrid deployments are also possible and this provides organisations a further option when planning how K2 is running in their organisation.
With these deployment options in mind, pricing have also become more flexible. One great thing about the new pricing model is that it makes K2 accessible to everybody, from small organizations that want to grow gradually into K2, to large-scale adopters of the technology.
The other great thing that stands out is that all the K2 features are available for every pricing option, which again supports the K2 mantra of ‘making K2 accessible to everybody'.
Start your new K2 Five and K2 Cloud journey with Velocity
Velocity is a highly experienced K2 Partner that helps organizations around the globe to leverage K2 to change the way they do business. Our K2 solutions are used by a broad spectrum of customers ranging from small charities to major Fortune 500 companies. We help these organisations develop and apply re-engineered business models and technologies like K2 to enable them to digitally transform. We have extensive experience delivering expert services to customers in Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Legal, Oil and Gas and Local & Federal Government sectors.
Our K2 Expert Services provide companies a world-leading, trouble-free professional service offering to kick-start their journey to a more efficient business. Our goal is to ensure every customer gets the maximum return on their K2 investment.