A few months back Benjamin Niaulin of Sharegate hosted another episode of “MVP Thoughts” about a topic that is very near and dear to us at PDF Share Forms – SharePoint forms and workflows in today’s environment. This time Benjamin was joined by these Microsoft MVPs:
- Marc Anderson @sympmarc
- Jennifer Mason @jennifermason
- Fabian Williams @fabianwilliams
- Corey Roth @coreyroth
We would like to recap and comment on some of the point discussed during the session.
Corey Roth, has brought so simple yet so important point – think carefully of your resources, requirements and users. Users are different – there are end users, which often are power users, and there are developers. These are two different scenarios. While developers can do what they have been doing for years now – code their own solutions, power users require more user friendly experience without the need to go to the IT for help. You need to ask yourself a couple of questions: “Are we ok to sacrifice developers’ time for building forms? Is it cost effective? Are we meeting our business requirements?” If your answer is Yes, keep developing!
At PDF Share Forms we respect client decisions to stick to their own custom solutions but we feel obliged to point out some potential pitfalls of this approach. Imagine your developer switching a job or going on sick leave, but you need to change a process or your business requirements have changed – you end up with a custom solution that no one knows how operate. This puts your business at risk. Choosing PDF Share Forms you have a safety net of an ISO standard of the PDF and the product that is constantly being improved to go in line with Microsoft roadmap.
Speaking of SharePoint forms and workflows you can’t no mention InfoPath. As we all know InfoPath is on life support for another 10 years but it will not see any updates. It is a very powerful tool, one could say it is too powerful and complex for the end users, but investing in InfoPath might be a poor decision in a long run. As Fabian Williams said: “some people made bets on their careers saying, “We’re gonna do InfoPaths.” And we’re telling them, “Hey, that has to evolve.” We cannot agree more with Fabian. Every time you need a new form you have to go to the developers. If you are 100% sure that your forms and processes are never going to change – keep using InfoPath. But can you be 100% sure? On the topic of InfoPath Jennifer Mason also added that there is no alternative to InfoPath right now. To quote her: “And if you’re building nothing but InfoPath forms all day long, probably need to have a conversation, you know, get some therapy, get some love”. We have to agree that there is no ultimate solution that is equal to InfoPath, but there are solutions that can cover some key features of InfoPath. One of these products is PDF Share Forms. We have several videos on our YouTube that discuss this topic in details.
Another topic that was discussed during the session was – moving things to the Cloud. Fabian believes that developers should build solutions with a thought of cloud/mobile first and then work it back to the onpremise level. Building solutions for the cloud and mobile you have to make them light and responsive. Luckily for our clients they use PDF documents that look and feel the same on every device that is capable of working with the PDF.