Over the past several years, Microsoft’s workflow strategy has continued to evolve. SharePoint 2007 and 2010 relied on Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF), which did not include a visual composition environment and was really designed to automate simple processes within SharePoint. With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft provided a major upgrade to WWF in Workflow Manager 1.0 (WM), which does support visual workflow composition. Just the same, Microsoft stopped short of supporting cross-functional workflow development.
Questions Left Unanswered at Ignite
At the recent Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago, Microsoft had a huge stage on which to define a long-term workflow/eforms strategy, but, again, chose not to. In fact, hardly a word was mentioned in most sessions about Workflow Manager or InfoPath. The conspicuous silence on these fairly important topics has caused many organizations pause, given the enormous amount of time and resources expended in the development of business apps for SharePoint. Since many such organizations rely heavily on third-party workflows extensions that interact directly with the SharePoint codebase, a future migration of all their existing business apps to SharePoint Online may not be possible without some serious backtracking.
A Murky Future and Long-Term Vision
Microsoft’s somewhat murky strategy for WM and InfoPath along with long-term cloud-migration issues have caused many to begin thinking about other options—something that will be impervious to Microsoft’s own evolving plans and which will allow seamless interaction across any version of SharePoint, including SharePoint Online/Office 365.
AgilePoint NX for Seamless Interaction with Microsoft Products and Beyond
Together, AgilePoint NX’s stateless process engine and HTML5-based forms make for a virtually future-proof approach to workflow and forms development. A workflow can be triggered in any business application, but once it is, the process lives in AgilePoint’s engine, which orchestrates the process throughout its instance lifespan across all incorporated systems, whether on premises or cloud-based.