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
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.
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
Alerts in the SharePoint Online from Scratch Tips-series.
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.
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.
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.