In January 2014, Microsoft announced plans to retire InfoPath in an effort to streamline its investments and deliver a more integrated Office forms user experience.
While Microsoft will continue to support InfoPath until at least 2023, InfoPath 2013 will be the last release of the desktop client, and InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint Server 2013 will be the last release of InfoPath Forms Services.
This means that IT leaders must start planning for the future and anticipate their organization’s form requirements as new and integrated technologies evolve.
Collaboration and information management publication IDM recently published an article on how organizations can review their electronic forms and workflow strategy in light of the InfoPath announcement. These steps include:
- Taking stock of existing forms and workflows
- Identifying those forms that are no longer relevant to your core business to reduce migration hassles later on
- Ensuring that business users have ownership and control of electronic forms and workflows. This way they can define the steps and tasks that need to be completed to achieve business outcomes
- Establishing a method for reviewing forms and workflows, as outlined in the article: “How do you track what forms exist, where they are located, the purpose, and the business owner? This information is essential for migration and future ongoing management”
As part of this review process, we recommend that you ask the following questions:
- Can my organization add value to existing InfoPath forms during a repurposing stage?
- Will my new e-forms provider offer seamless migration of data from InfoPath?
- Can information and data be re-used from existing systems such as ERP and CRM?
- Would a new solution mean that my organization would save money by reducing the need for expensive development resources to build and update forms?
Microsoft’s next InfoPath-related announcement is scheduled at next week’s Share Conference 2014 in Las Vegas. We’ll also be exploring InfoPath alternatives on IX Connect in coming weeks. If you’re uncertain of the future of your e-form solution, contact us to find out how we can help.