SharePoint Designer Workflow vs Microsoft Flow

Every organization who has implemented SharePoint must have used workflows to automate their business process. Microsoft provides various options for creating workflows, here we will check SharePoint Designer Workflow vs Microsoft Flow.

There are different ways to create workflows in SharePoint like:

  • Using Out of box workflow
  • Using SharePoint designer workflow 2013
  • Using Visual Studio
  • Using 3rd party tool

And Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Flow in Office 365.

Here we’ll discuss the differences between SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Flow which will help out to give the solution for your organization needs.

SharePoint Designer Workflow vs Microsoft FlowSharePoint Designer Workflow vs Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Designer Workflow

SharePoint Designer Workflow is an automated business process which is used for automating your business activities. By using designer workflow you can assign a task or work to a Group or a single person. After assigning the task to a group or a single person, We can track that current task status to know whether it is progressing or not.

Designer workflows are very much popular among developers. If out of the box workflows does not suites your business requirements, you can develop a workflow using SharePoint designer 2013 and deploy to SharePoint sites. We can use designer workflows in SharePoint online as well as on-premise versions of SharePoint.

Microsoft has not released any new versions of the SharePoint designer after SharePoint designer 2013, no new designer for SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2019 or SharePoint Online. In workflow architecture also, there are not many changes for any version. Rather Microsoft has invested heavily on Microsoft Flow to provide an alternative to designer workflows (this is not officially announced by Microsoft, but has been assumed based on the functionality provided in Microsoft flow).

Microsoft Flow

In the previous year, Microsoft has introduced the Flow which is a good and also a new productivity app to the SharePoint Online Office 365. Microsoft Flow is nothing but a service which helps to create an automated workflow for your business needs. This Microsoft Flow is a replacement to SharePoint Designer. That means, Instead of Designer Workflow, Now we can simply create a Microsoft Flow and we can use it as per our requirement. Microsoft Flow is basically used to allows users to create cross-application workflows.

According to Microsoft “Microsoft Flow is a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more”.

Microsoft Flow will help you to communicate with various apps and services. The good thing of this Flow is you can develop Microsoft Flow without developer knowledge. Let’s take an example.

Suppose in an organization, you are a manager or some senior employee like the Business analyst and also not a SharePoint developer. If you want to make some automated task, then you have to wait for the developer to create a workflow using the SharePoint Designer. But as of now, Microsoft has released the Microsoft Flow, so you don’t have to wait for the developer to create a workflow. Now you can use this Microsoft Flow to create the workflow very easily because it has a very simple graphical user interface.

Previously, We were very much familiar with the SharePoint Designer and now Microsoft Flow is the replacement instead of the Designer Workflow. So we looked into the pros and cons of Flow and below is that what we searched:

SharePoint Designer Workflow Vs Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow has lots of advantages over SharePoint Designer workflows.

  • You can develop simple to complex workflows using SharePoint designer 2013 but you need developer knowledge to develop workflows using SharePoint designer 2013 for list or libraries.
  • Lots of workflow actions presented in SharePoint designer but all the actions are specific to SharePoint only. You need development knowledge to communicate various services from SharePoint designer. But using Microsoft Flow we can very easily communicate with various services.
  • On the other hand, a Power user or even an end user can create and use Microsoft Flow in SharePoint online.
  • But on the other hand, Microsoft Flow is not particular to SharePoint, you will be connected to various services like Twitter, Dropbox, OneDrive, Facebook, Slack, Instagram etc. You do not need any developer knowledge to create any flow, power users or even end users can easily create Microsoft Flow easily.
  • Microsoft Flow is tightly integrated to SharePoint Online but it is not only used for SharePoint.
  • In Microsoft Flow, lots of predefined templates are available to use. Either you can use the template or you can create a flow from scratch.

As an organization, if you are using Office 365 SharePoint Online, then you should use Microsoft Flow to automate your business processes rather than using SharePoint designer workflows.


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