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How the Retirement of SharePoint 2010 Could Destroy Your Business Processes

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

If you haven’t been paying attention, better start now. Recently, Microsoft announced the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows for SharePoint online, which is part of Office 365. This announcement is part of the organization’s drive towards encouraging the use of Power Automate, Microsoft’s automated workflow solution.

So what does SharePoint’s workflow retirement mean if you’re still using it regularly? On August 1, 2020 all SharePoint 2010 workflows were retired, so if you were planning to move any SharePoint 2010 workflows to a new tenant, as of now, that won’t be possible. Here’s what you can expect moving forward.

The Clock is Ticking for SharePoint 2010 Workflows

Those who already have SharePoint 2010 workflows created within an existing tenant, you have until November 1, 2020 to recreate these workflows within Power Automate. If you have a 2010 workflow and a crucial business process built upon it, come November 1, it may stop running completely.

From the start of November, Microsoft will begin to remove the ability to run or create new SharePoint 2010 workflows. While this suggests that you can’t run the existing workflows, they’ll still be accessible. However, it’s important to note that it’s unclear how long you’ll be able to access these workflows as Microsoft is always evolving and improving technology to better meet customer needs.

It’s expected that the following 2010 workflows will be impacted:

Approvals: This routes a document or item to a specific person or group for approval.

Collect signatures: A Microsoft Office document is routed to a group to collect digital signatures.

Three-state: This is used to manage processes where businesses must track a large amount of items or issues, including project tasks, sales leads, or support issues.

Collect feedback: Workflow that allows users to collect feedback from others.

Classic pages publishing approval: This workflow automates the sending and routing of draft web pages or content to subject matter experts, stakeholders, or clients for approval.

Depending on the number and complexity of the existing SharePoint 2010 workflows you have, upgrading to Power Automate like Microsoft recommends could take much longer than the few months Microsoft has given us before it stops you from being able to run 2010 workflows. So if you have a workflow that’s built on a SharePoint 2010 workflow that your business relies heavily upon, come November 1, it will stop working, which can create a huge problem for your business.

So what do you do? You need to get in touch with a Microsoft partner with Power Platform expertise--like JourneyTEAM. You’ll want to talk to someone who can explain all your options and potentially help you migrate your workflows to the new platform. JourneyTEAM has already worked with numerous clients to help them understand what their options are and which will best benefit their business.

What About On-Premise Workflows?

SharePoint 2010 workflow and SharePoint 2013 workflows will continue to be supported for on-premises farms until 2026.

What About SharePoint 2013 Workflows?

For now, SharePoint 2013 workflows remain supported, although deprecated.

Starting November 1, 2020, SharePoint 2013 workflows will be turned off by default for new tenants. Microsoft will, however, provide a PowerShell script to let customers activate the 2013 workflow engine for a tenant as needed.

Don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security though. Microsoft’s preferred approach and investment in workflows is in Office 365 and Power Automate. So any 2010 workflow that is moved to SharePoint 2013, you should be recreated in Power Automate as well. Especially considering that Microsoft may announce the full retirement of SharePoint 2013 workflows one day.

Rather than recreating these workflows over and over again, it’s recommended that businesses move all SharePoint 2010 workflows to Power Automate. However, SharePoint 2010 and 2013 workflows are built very differently than those featured in Power Automate. Sometimes those SharePoint workflows are able to be recreated in Power Automate without any issue and sometimes they’re not. The question that needs to be determined is how complex is the 2010 workflow and can all the actions within that workflow be replaced with actions in Power Automate. That’s where the Modernization Scanner tool from Microsoft comes in.

Don’t Panic (Too Much)

Before you start frantically calling your IT guys or panicking over your workflows, start figuring out how many of your workflows will be affected by this announcement.

Microsoft has a tool called the Modernization Scanner that helps you prepare for the modernization of classic sites. Essentially, it drills into your site and shows you exactly where remediation work is needed. The Modernization Scanner will look at your entire system and generate a report of the distributed workflows across your SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows. The report will also help you analyze the following:

  • Distribution of out-of-the-box and custom legacy workflow usage

  • Which sites and lists use legacy workflows

  • Power Automate upgradability score indicating how well the detected actions are upgradable to flows with Power Automate

The insight gathered from the scanner allows you to see which, if any, of your workflows need to be moved to Power Automate or which features won’t work on a modern user experience. This allows you to come up with a plan on how you’re going to ensure those features or processes aren’t eliminated from key business processes and ensuring they will function in a modern server.

If you’re thinking that you know each of your business processes inside and out, consider this: JourneyTEAM recently helped a client set up and run the Modernization Scanner in one region of their business. They were shocked to discover that they had over 1,000 2010 workflows running here. They had no logical reasoning to think that they would have so many 2010 workflows, but they did. By taking the time and effort to run the scanner, they avoided a lot of IT hassle and headache that would’ve come on November 1.

You’ve Got Homework

Hopefully this has caught your attention and helped you realize it’s time to get to work. Here’s your homework: Click on the link below to contact a JourneyTEAM representative or go to our website to speak with one of our account representatives. Next, you’ll want to run the Modernization Scanner in your tenant and get the data that will help you determine if you’re at risk for the regression in functionality from Microsoft. Finally, you’ll want to send that report to JourneyTEAM to determine if action needs to be taken.

At JourneyTEAM, we have a SharePoint Knowledge Management Team that can assist with the modernization of SharePoint from classic to modern or provide assistance in recreating those workflows. Even if you just need some assistance or have run into problems setting up or running the Modernization Scanner, we can work with you there. We have dozens of online work sessions or tutorials that can help you get up and running.

Contact JourneyTEAM today to see if you’re prepared for the potential risk to your business starting November 1.

For any additional questions, please contact Journeyteam at (801) 565-9199.


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