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16 November 2020

Changes to SharePoint: what communicators need to know


Before you stick your fingers in your ears and sing ‘La La La’, there’s something you really need to know about.

Microsoft has started retiring InfoPath from its SharePoint offerings and if your organisation still uses SharePoint 2010 workflows, they are no longer supported as of 1 November 2020.

SharePoint 2013 workflows will remain supported – for now – although are turned off by default for new tenants. If you think that news is just for the IT team, think again.

InfoPath is the add-on that allows you to add business processes to SharePoint, from HR to comms and beyond. One example is the curation and targeting of the comms you’re sending – and to whom – helping you to automatically populate the channels you use.

When Microsoft stops supporting  InfoPath, any glitches or faults can’t be corrected. Your carefully crafted comms targeted at specific audiences may not reach them. HR forms that are filled in may not be seen and your payroll processes could descend into chaos.  And worse, there will be no updates, leaving gaping holes in your security, and for hackers to access employee accounts. The same could happen to any new processes you implement via InfoPath between now and 2026, creating what’s known as a ‘technology debt’ or – more colloquially – even more work to do.

Why is this happening now?

“InfoPath was introduced in 2003 so is really old in software terms,” says Sequel’s Solutions Architect Adam Larsson. “It was retrofitted into SharePoint back when it was an on-premise platform in 2011, and custom-developed for Office 365 when it was rolled out as an online suite of tools. “In 2026 Microsoft is retiring InfoPath completely, which means it will no longer provide support and updates. Instead, it is encouraging users to switch to PowerApps and Power Automate, both of which are integrated software solutions that will manage process flow more efficiently and effectively.”

So?

2026 sounds a long way off, but think about all that prep businesses had to make years in advance of the GDPR compliance deadline because of the sheer volume of data that had to be processed. Even then some were caught out. It’s a similar case with InfoPath. Process migration is unavoidable for organisations who have adopted the Microsoft 365 suite. Because business process will be severely impacted if you don’t act in time.

With a good lead time provided by Microsoft, now is the time for communicators and HR professionals to look at migrating all the processes they have on InfoPath to the already integrated PowerApp provision on SharePoint.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing if organisations take action now,” says Adam. “It could be an opportunity to re-evaluate the processes you have in place and think about how they can be streamlined and automated further, or even upgrade from an older version of SharePoint, which is the current trend.”

Whatever solution you go for, process flows via PowerApps and Power Automation are much more powerful because they can make SharePoint a single source of information when integrated together, whether that’s what people need to be able to do their jobs, or what they need to know. They also make SharePoint more mobile friendly – in fact friendly on any device – providing a much better user experience.

What else is happening in the world of SharePoint? Find out about The one SharePoint feature to annoy us all.

If the whole task of planning a migration roadmap, recreating processes, or persuading the business that it’s better  to act now than later, why not drop an email to hello@sequelgroup.co.uk to find out how we can help?

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