Earlier this week, Microsoft made the somewhat surprising announcement that they are dropping support for SharePoint 2010 based workflows in SharePoint Online as of November 2020. There has been no investment in this version of the workflow platform for quite a few years, but it still remains a widely-used feature and we've no doubt this is going to cause a lot of pain for Microsoft's customers.
There is a "modern" alternative for this - Power Automate (Flow) - and there is still the option of the SharePoint 2013 Workflow model, but all of those options are not equal and some things are a lot easier to achieve in one approach than in the others. We can also expect SharePoint 2013 workflows to go the same way, before too long. They remain supported but will be turned off by default for new tenants from November 2020.
This change doesn't only concern companies who have built custom workflows. Any usage of the following built-in SharePoint 2010 workflows will also cease to work at some point soon after November 1st:
- Collect Feedback
- Collect Signatures
- Classic pages publishing Approval
We think this will cause such a customer backlash that Microsoft may re-consider this decision, potentially extending the shutdown for another 12 months. So watch this space. However, you do need to start thinking about your existing workflow dependencies and how you can transition them to Power Automate (or another 3rd party workflow solution).
So what can you do?
Microsoft have made available a Modernisation Scanner tool which you can download and run against your tenant. There is a bit of setup involved before you can run this tool, the easiest option for granting permissions to this tool will likely be the SharePoint App-Only route, although Microsoft are recommending the Azure AD approach, but that is a little more long-winded.
Once the scan has completed the app will output a number of files/reports, amongst which you should find two Workflow-based reports -
- ModernizationWorkflowScanResults.csv - a list of all the SharePoint workflows in use in your tenant (2010 and 2013)
- Office 365 Classic workflow inventory.xlsx - a nice Excel "app" that gives a more visual overview of your workflows
The Inventory report is explained in more detail here and even gives you a Flow Upgradability score (though I can't tell you how accurate that is).
Once you have your list of priority 2010 workflows you will then need to audit these in detail (if you haven't already) and plan for the migration to Power Automate. Microsoft have provided some guidance on how to migrate from the built-in workflows, over to Power Automate, so that's your starting point.
If you need any assistance with this process please get in touch, we have many years experience building workflows in each of these platforms so can help you make the move.