A small intro may be interesting to depict the background of automations happened in SharePoint environment before the entry of Microsoft Flow.
Two major business cases needed a lot of attention with an extended planning and design phase – Automation of Business Processes and Integration of SharePoint based systems with external LOB data sources.
Workflows and Forms played integral role as the chief entities in the technical designs of most automations happened. Design factors considered to decide the suitable tools for creating workflows in SharePoint platform are not limited to what is listed below.
- Infrastructure availability
- Cost and Maintenance
- User Experience and Ease of Adoption
- Ease of development
- Support to debug and troubleshoot
- Flexibility to migrate and reuse
- Workflow actions
- History retention
- Integration with external data sources and cross site data pull
- Performance with concurrency and high data volume
- Known challenges and technical limitations
- Availability of connectors and providers
During analysis and design, all these criterias get rated based on business goals to select the most suitable technique. Based on that rating, specialists opt either SharePoint designer workflow, Nintex Workflow, Custom workflow build using Visual studio template, OOTB SharePoint workflow or any other third party workflows.
This analysis and design phase has become short, brief, smooth and economic when Microsoft Flow shows up with SharePoint 2016. Microsoft Flow is a service which helps to create automated workflows involving variety of services and applications. We can create business flows using pre-built templates or from blank template. There are numerous pre-built templates available under this service which can also be customized.
Flows can be created using Create Flow link in the SharePoint list view interface in the new experience of SharePoint 2016 UI.
Surely Flow is becoming real promise for seamless integration and automation the specialists team dreamed ever in the most effective and economic mode with minimal learning curve. Market is still witnessing the fascinating automation results while Flow walks along with SharePoint. Let us wait and see more.