Blog (Insight Voices) SharePoint 2010 Workflows:
Suggesting that an organisation’s most valuable asset is its data is a statement that borders on cliché. But it also happens to be true.
The more information a business has about itself and its customers, the better its decisions will be, and the more productive its employees can be. Managing and disseminating this information across people, applications and processes is therefore crucial to success.
For more than a decade, Microsoft SharePoint has offered a platform to host and share these vast repositories of knowledge.
More recently, SharePoint workflows have allowed organisations to become even more efficient and productive by automating time-consuming tasks. Thus, giving employees more time to perform more valuable work that drives genuine business change.
So, the news that Microsoft will retire SharePoint 2010 workflows later this year requires an immediate response. Failure to act will not only harm digitisation efforts but will cause business disruption.
What is happening?
From August 1, 2020, SharePoint 2010 workflows will be turned off for any newly created tenants and, from November 1, 2020, these workflows will be removed from all existing tenants.
Microsoft has said the following built-in workflows are impacted:
- Approval: This workflow routes a document or an item to a group of people for approval.
- Collect Feedback: This workflow routes a document or an item to a group of people for feedback. Reviewers can provide feedback, which is then compiled and sent to the person who initiated the workflow.
- Collect Signatures: This workflow routes a Microsoft Office document to a group of people to collect their digital signatures.
- Publishing Approval: This is similar to the Approval workflow in that it automates the routing of draft pages to subject matter experts and stakeholders for review and approval.
- Three-State: This workflow can be used to manage business processes requiring organisations to track a high volume of issues or items – such as customer support issues, sales leads, or project tasks.
In short, organisations that rely on SharePoint 2010 workflows have three months to plan a migration if they want to maintain business continuity. This isn’t a case of missing out on new capabilities or updates – these processes will simply stop working.
Inaction simply isn’t an option. For example, organisations that rely on workflows for contract management will suffer severe disruption that will cost time and money.
However, end-of-life should be viewed as an opportunity to embrace more sophisticated forms of automation that can drive further efficiencies and catalyse digitisation efforts.
Can I migrate to SharePoint 2013?
Microsoft has confirmed that SharePoint 2013 workflows will remain supported and between August 1 and November 1, 2020, and it will be possible to move SharePoint 2010 workflows to a more recent version of the service.
However, Microsoft has also warned that it plans to retire SharePoint 2013 workflows in the not-to-distant future. Starting November 1, workflows will be turned off by default for new tenants although no timeframe has been given for planned deprecation.
This means that, although it is possible to move workflows to SharePoint 2013, organisations that follow this path will simply be delaying the inevitable and will have to plan for yet another migration before too long. The same is true for Microsoft SharePoint 2016 customers.
What is Microsoft Power Automate?
There is, however, a more future-proof option.
Microsoft Power Automate offers organisations more sophisticated forms of automation by acting as a link between various disparate platforms. If an organisation’s information can move freely between Microsoft 365 and third-party applications, then automation can become more powerful and extend to more parts of IT infrastructure.
Workflows can be created with Point-and-click tools, and there are hundreds of pre-built application connectors. No understanding of code or API interfaces is required.
Power Automate adoption unlocks other possibilities by being part of the Microsoft Power Platform, which also includes Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Power Apps. The former offers data visualisation capabilities while the latter allows anyone to create a custom application.
Each service operates independently but, by using them together, organisations can maximise data and content assets and enable entirely new, intelligent ways of working.
What should I do?
Technology is constantly changing, and innovations that are considered cutting edge today will be obsolete tomorrow. Migration to a more modern version of SharePoint will ensure business continuity in the short-term but will ultimately require action in the future.
Microsoft Power Automate offers access to powerful automation capabilities, and as an ever-evolving platform, it provides a more long-term solution than cyclical updates.
By combining Microsoft Power Automate with Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies, organisations can accelerate their digital transformation projects and benefit from additional security and support, as well as shifting to a more agile OPEX model.
As a trusted Microsoft partner, Insight can help identify the implications of end-of-life for SharePoint 2010 workflows and offer recommendations on how to migrate to Microsoft Power Automate and modernise workflows.
For more information on how Insight can help you, click here