When Microsoft announced discontinuation of InfoPath, it was not the end of the story. Your forms did not stop working all of a sudden. It has remained a part of the SharePoint ecosystem. Even when Microsoft made the announcement, it made it clear that like all its Office products, it will also keep getting support for a decade. So you can continue seeing support for the product until 2023. But with limited capabilities, everyone can see why it is important to look out for an infopath replacement.
Support for InfoPath
According to Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, the next on-premise release for SharePoint will also include support for the InfoPath Forms Services. You can continue getting support on SharePoint Online until Microsoft has an announcement to make the future.
Microsoft has been promoting its InfoPath users to embrace its new Contextual Process Apps. They have been working on this for some time. The concept behind this is to get the business processes of its users connected just like the users are.
Contextual Process Apps – The Concept
The key points of this new concept are as following:
- Awareness – The concept intends to keep users aware of all relevant data. It must be available to them where and when they need it. Users should not have to sift through lots of ‘noise’.
- Analysis – It should help create value from all the process data so that users can interact with it. Microsoft intends to use telemetry from business processes for understanding user actions and making continuous efforts for improving the processes.
- Capture Data & Output – The system intends to deliver data in the desired formats. Thus, data will be available through the process in formats that is easily usable.
- Business Process Management – Another aspect of the concept is to maintain balance between effective management of activities, flexibility and versatility for users.
- Collaboration – The company intends to offer collaborative tools for helping its users create content. It intends to continue with the model within business processes to simplify them further.
Microsoft has pointed out 4 options how Contextual Process Apps will manifest them within the Office Forms product plan. These include Excel surveys, structured documents, list forms, and app forms. While the company is busy providing solutions, there are other infopath replacement options which are available to users.
Even when the company continues to support InfoPath, there are many limitations and it will be best to move onto something that is available without any restrictions.