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Why Organizations Recognize EPC Group's Consulting Services as the Industry Leader
Named Gartner's Cool Vendor of the Year
Named Microsoft Partner of the Year Finalist,
2017 & 2018
Over 4 million Office 365 users successfully migrated
200+ years combined senior team migration experience
Expertise migrating to Office 365 in every vertical
EPC Group's Chief Architect Errin O'Connor was on the original SharePoint and
Office 365 Beta teams

What Exactly is Microsoft Flow?

Microsoft Flow is a new workflow automation solution that can be used to access application and service data making it easier to combine different services. Microsoft Flow connects 35+ applications including SharePoint, Slack, OneDrive, and Twitter so that users can perform actions such as sending notifications and pushing data into Excel. You can also send OneDrive files to various SharePoint sites as well as copy files from Dropbox to their SharePoint document library as well as create a simple workflow approval tracking. In addition to this, users will be able to utilize Microsoft Flow to make use of pre-built templates and create their own flows in a visual designer that can work anywhere on the web.

Moving from SharePoint Workflows with Office 365

The time has come to leave SharePoint Workflows in the past. They have proved rigid and too difficult to manage effectively in large organizations.

The good news is the replacement for SharePoint Workflows, Microsoft Flow is a more progressive, more flexible cloud based workflow model. Let’s explore how SharePoint Workflows originated and why they no longer meet the needs of the average user. SharePoint 2007 introduced the concept of workflows. The purpose of these workflows from Microsoft was that now you can leverage SharePoint to help automate some of the processes in your organization getting more for your investment. Being able to automate smaller processes without worrying about budget or finding an internal dev-team member was a game-changer. Microsoft continued to update workflows in SharePoint 2010 and 2013, adding more functionality and continuing to refine them just enough to keep them valuable for typical use cases.

The future of Workflows

However, with the release of SharePoint 2016, Microsoft decided to discontinue enhancements to Workflows in favor of alternatives for managing automation in SharePoint. Your workflows would still work, but they wouldn’t be adding any more functionality in the future of SharePoint. Welcome, The cloud. Microsoft needed to find another way to scale workflows for all the new users of their Office 365 platform, and SharePoint Workflows were not going to do the trick. Microsoft finally released Flow and the product has improved by leaps and bounds over the last year. Flow and PowerApps are set to replace traditional SharePoint Workflows. We finally have a workflow solution that can work with other data sources and promises to be continually updated without requiring users to upgrade. Flow and PowerApps work very well and have revolutionized the process in the cloud.

Where Do We Go from Here?

It’s time for companies to be proactive and start planning what to do with their legacy workflows. Even if you’re not ready to make the move right now, you should have a plan or attack in place for the next year to start evaluating which workflows need to be retired, which are priority and necessary to keep in your organization and which need to be updated. Microsoft Flow is a much more flexible platform for automation than SharePoint workflows ever were. You can connect to many more data sources than you ever could using SharePoint Workflows and, for the occasional flow that needs extra attention and governance you can migrate them to Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft’s more robust workflow solution for cross-enterprise automation. By moving down this new path for automation in your organization, you’re getting closer to a more flexible digital workplace.