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No-Code Automation Types

A SharePoint Flows tutorial by Peter Kalmström

Flow iconMicrosoft Flow is only one of several ways to automate SharePoint business processes. Some of these methods include coding, but there are also several tools for SharePoint automation without coding.

In the demo below, Peter Kalmström, CEO and Systems Designer of kalmstrom.com Business Solutions, introduces those no-code automation tools and explains their advantages and drawbacks.

Alerts

SharePoint lists and libraries have an Alert button that let users activate e-mail messages when there is a change in the app or in an item. These alerts are sent out automatically by SharePoint once they are activated, and they are the simples forms of SharePoint automation. You can learn more about Alerts in the SharePoint Online from Scratch Tips-series.

Content organizer

The Content organizer is a SharePoint rules engine that routes document content types so that documents are sorted into different libraries. It is activated under 'Manage Site Features' in the settings for each SharePoint site.

Workflows

SharePoint has a few built-in workflows, but custom workflows are built in SharePoint Designer. There are two types, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows, but there will be no 2016 version. Workflows give many powerful possibilities, but a workflow is limited to one SharePoint site.

Flow

Microsoft Flow is an online service that can call other online services and therefore be used to connect different site collections and to connect SharePoint to other cloud based platforms. Flow can also connect to on-premises SharePoint via a gateway. You will learn much more about Flow in this tutorial series.


In the demo Peter also mentions problems with no-code automation solutions: they are more difficult to troubleshoot than coded workflows, and they are often badly documented.

The deployment of the workflow or flow can also be a problem. Ideally you should first create and test it in a testing environment, but the deployment difficulties make users create them directly in the production environment.

Finally Peter explains the building blocks of workflows and flows: trigger, condition, action and loop.

 



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