From the 1 November 2020, SharePoint 2010 workflows for SharePoint Online customers will be retired for existing tenants (they were previously retired for new tenants from 1 August 2020) – here’s the official Microsoft announcement. That means any existing workflows will cease running and support will no longer be available – but there’s no need to panic! To help you with a smooth transition to the latest workflow tool, Power Automate, we’ve compiled a few FAQs around the change and some tips on making a successful migration. We’re here to answer any other questions you may have too.
First, a bit of background. What versions of SharePoint Online or SharePoint On-Premises does the change affect?
- This change only affects SharePoint Online. It doesn’t affect the On-Premises platform.
- The change only affects SharePoint 2010 workflows that were built using SharePoint Designer on SharePoint Online.
- The retirement doesn’t affect SharePoint 2013, so you can continue using SharePoint 2013 workflows. However, Microsoft has said it’s likely they will follow a similar path in the future and be retired at some stage.
If you’re running SharePoint 2010 workflows on SharePoint Online, read on to see some tips about how to make a stress-free transition.
If I have existing SharePoint workflows, what do I do next?
- If you’re skilled and/or confident enough, we’d recommend that you use the SharePoint Modernization Scanner to discover which workflows you have. This will produce a report, and you’ll be able to chart a plan of action to implement as soon as possible.
- There’s also some helpful information including workflow terminologies, triggers, and actions for most common workflow concepts and support in the Microsoft published guidance on migrating from classic workflows to Power Automate flows in SharePoint.
Alternatively, since time is not on our side, our Theta team can provide you with an assessment and guide you through the journey. Sometimes, the path to modernising workflows isn’t as straightforward as it looks, but we’re here to help with that.
Will there be any pain points during the migration?
There are some significant gaps between SharePoint Designer Workflows and Power Automate Flows that you should be aware of. As with any platform transition, there may be some feature(s) that you might be missing or that work differently in the new platform – and that might become a sticking point. However, where there’s a will there’s a way - there are workarounds for each of them. If you get stuck, let us know. You should also have a robust plan to mitigate any change management challenges. The plan should include updating your end-users, site owners, updating user training materials and preparing your helpdesk to assist with any support activity concerning this platform retirement.
What are the main differences between SharePoint Designer Workflows and Power Automate Flows?
SharePoint workflows were designed using a client-side installed application called “SharePoint Designer”. The fundamental difference is that SharePoint Designer Workflows can only be used to automate business process within SharePoint and only work within a single site. However, Power Automate Flows can be used with other applications (not just SharePoint) and can also connect to multiple sites/site collections between different tenants. This is a huge benefit but also poses the question ‘what else can I do now?’ If you’re in the process of transitioning to Power Automate, focus on your current workflows and then set aside time to tackle this afterwards. Power Automate Flows are web-based, and no client-side installation is required. The main user interface also looks different, so it may take some time to adjust.
Where can I learn best practices and tips for Power Automate?
We’d be happy to guide you around best practice and setup. You can also speak to one of our in-house experts, like Elaiza Benitez – who’s a Microsoft MVP and Power Automate pro. Elaiza has presented the in’s and out’s of the tool at international conferences and hosts her own YouTube series on it too. We’ve also got an upcoming webinar where she’ll be sharing some tips about using Power Automate for other business processes, so look out for that.
With a tight deadline on the horizon, we’d encourage any organisation who needs to make the switch to do it now. We can help you make the changes you need and provide ongoing support and new ideas for how to use Power Automate.
From SharePoint Workflows
To Power Automate
Other FAQ’s about the change
Why are workflows being removed?
The productivity suite in Microsoft 365 has come a long way since the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine was released. Power Automate was one of the tools that evolved as part of this. As an automated workflow tool, it connects and automates your SharePoint tasks, and it can also integrate with your wider productivity services (both within Microsoft 365 and elsewhere). In that respect, there’s much more you can do with Power Automate, which is a significant driver of the switch.
What impact does this have on existing workflows?
Your current SharePoint 2010 workflows will stop running on 1 November 2020, so you’ll need another solution if you want to keep your current setup.
Book some time with us to assess your current setup and make a stress-free migration to Power Automate. Talk to the team.