4-page Case Study
Posted: 11/20/2007
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K2 Business Process Management Solution Provider Improves Developer Productivity

Business process management and workflow solution provider K2 has always been an early adopter of new technologies, as a way to accelerate product development and deliver richer, more useful customer solutions. The company is using Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 to build the next version of its software, leading to a 20 to 25 percent increase in developer productivity, improved testing, and enhanced application lifecycle management. And because one of the design environments within K2 software is hosted inside the Visual Studio 2008 client, K2 customers and implementation partners will realize many of the same benefits, as well.



K2 develops and sells software for building solutions that automate business processes and enterprise workflows. The company’s solutions use tasks in the Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server, forms in the Office InfoPath® information-gathering program, Windows® Messenger, and e-mail to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Implementation typically involves a system integrator, which implements advanced workflow and business process management (BPM) solutions by using K2 design-time tools that run within the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 development system, Office Visio® 2007 drawing and diagramming software, or Office SharePoint Server 2007. The workflow and BPM solutions are executed and enforced by server software components that run on the Windows Server® 2003 operating system and Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 database software.

* We were looking everywhere for something to help us test our AJAX code, and the features in Visual Studio Team System are some of the best around. *
Anthony Petro
Technical Product Manager, K2
K2 has always been an early adopter of new technologies, as a way to accelerate product development and deliver richer, more useful customer solutions. Current K2 server and design-time products were developed with Visual Studio 2005, run on the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.0, and take advantage of technologies such as Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, and Windows Communication Foundation. As a result, K2 constantly seeks ways to maximize its use of those technologies—and enable customers and implementation partners to do the same.

“We’re always looking for ways to use new Microsoft technology more productively—and extend those same benefits to our design-time tools, which are hosted in the same Visual Studio development environment that we use to build them,” says Anthony Petro, Technical Product Manager at K2. “Chances are good that, if we can find a way to improve our own development productivity, it’ll extend to our customers and implementation partners, as well.”


K2 improved its ability to develop great software by upgrading to the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 development system, which the company is using to build the next versions of its products. Specifically, K2 is using Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite, the .NET Framework 3.5, and the C# version 3.0 programming language, with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server as a centralized repository for all project data.

Some features of that environment that K2 is taking advantage of include:

  • Multitargeting, which enables developers to use Visual Studio Team System Team Suite both to build new products based on the .NET Framework 3.5 and to maintain existing products based on the .NET Framework 3.0.

  • JavaScript-compatible IntelliSense® technology, which helps developers be more productive because it eliminates the need to memorize or look up syntax.

  • Improved JavaScript debugging, including the ability to set breakpoints directly within server-side .aspx and .master source files instead of having to run Microsoft ASP.NET pages first.

  • Built-in AJAX support, which is provided as part of ASP.NET 3.5—the classes in the .NET Framework 3.5 for the development of rich Web applications.

  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent, which helps K2 test the performance of its Web applications by generating the workload that a Web server will face in a production environment.


The company’s move to Visual Studio 2008 is improving the speed of development, enabling K2 to better test its software and to better manage the software development process, with many of those benefits passed on to customers and implementation partners.

Image of K2’s design-time tools.
K2’s design-time tools are hosted within Visual Studio 2008, providing K2 customers with a familiar, productive design environment.










Increased Developer Productivity

K2 developers are more productive, thanks to new and improved features such as JavaScript-compatible debugging and IntelliSense, AJAX support, and new designers. “Developer productivity has increased by 20 to 25 percent,” says Petro. “For example, in the past, the entire project was recompiled when a new sequential workflow with code separation was added, which forced developers to wait several minutes as the number of workflows grew. Today, the IDE does a partial class compile, which takes only seconds.”

Improved Testing

K2 is taking advantage of capabilities provided by Visual Studio Team System Test Load Agent—such as support for AJAX callbacks—to test its Web applications more effectively. “We were looking everywhere for something to help us test our AJAX code, and the features in Visual Studio Team System are some of the best around,” says Petro. “Performance-monitoring and testing tools are now an integrated part of our development environment. In the past, we had to stitch together dozens of stand-alone utilities.”

Enhanced Application Lifecycle Management

Having all project data in one place has improved collaboration and the company’s ability to monitor and report on project status. “Overall, Team Foundation Server has led to a 25 to 35 percent increase in team output, most of which came from our initial adoption of it a few years ago,” says Petro. “The latest version is more polished, with lots of small improvements—such as improved reporting and its compatibility with SharePoint Server 2007.” 

2008 Launch Wave
Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 provide a secure and trusted platform for creating and running your most demanding applications. Combined, the products provide a solid foundation for next-generation web applications, broad support for virtualization technology, and access to relevant information. Advanced security technology, developer support for the latest platforms, improved management and web tools, flexible virtualization solutions, and access to relevant information from throughout your organization enable a broad array of technology solutions.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

For more information about K2 products and services, visit the Web site at:

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 300 employees

Organization Profile

K2-based solutions streamline and automate business processes. The company has more than 300 employees and is based in Redmond, Washington.

Business Situation

K2 is always looking for ways to accelerate development and deliver richer, more useful customer solutions—and to extend those benefits to customers who use K2 design-time tools, which are hosted in the same Microsoft Visual Studio® development environment that K2 uses to develop its software.


K2 upgraded to the Microsoft® Visual Studio 2008 development system, which the company is using to build the next versions of its products—including the K2 design-time tools used by customers.

  • 20 to 25 percent increase in developer productivity
  • Improved testing
  • Enhanced application lifecycle management

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • Microsoft Visual C#
  • Microsoft .NET Framework

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States