Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Jim Kaskade, John Basso

Blog Feed Post

If SharePoint forms is a priority to your business, then maybe Office 365 should be too

There has been a lot of talk about forms in the last year.  Your business users need it and your developers want it too.  The current version of SharePoint doesn't offer much in this space right now.  At SharePoint Conference 2014, Microsoft announced the forms roadmap for SharePoint.  Since at least last year, Microsoft has been telling you that SharePoint is now a "service-first" offering.  That means if you want the newest features, you need to be in Office 365.  Excel Surveys was one of the first examples of this.  If you don't mind waiting three years to get something new, by all means stay on-premises. 

That being said, we're going to start seeing iterative releases for forms technology based on Access showing up as soon as this summer in Office 365.  This is the Forms on SharePoint Lists "FoSL" technology mentioned in the session.  Microsoft is focusing on an iterative process for continuous improvement here.  That means, we'll get a simplified version of the forms technology soon that includes some of the following features (mentioned in SPC348):

  • Auto form layout based on list schema
  • Lookup between lists
  • Cascading combo boxes
  • SharePoint list workflows

This tool is designed around the information worker so that they can easily build their forms around SharePoint lists.  What is particularly exciting is that it supports workflows.  This was a key reason that information workers couldn't build business solutions using Access Services 2013.  Cascading combo boxes have always been particularly troublesome in the past as well.  All of these features are subject to change, but these are some great features targeted for launch.  Will it have everything you need?  Probably not, but they have more features targeted such as hiding / showing sections, profile information, and business logic coming in the next year.  Want to have a say what is going into the product?  Vote for it on User Voice.  Here you can suggest ideas and vote for the features that matter most to you.

I've had this forms discussion with a lot of clients in the last year.  It's been a hard conversation, because there really was no good answer.  For clients that just needed a handful of forms built, many of them found it was cheaper and more effective to just engage a developer.  For clients that wanted to empower end users, the discussion usually turned to third party tools.  Both Nintex and K2 make some great forms products, but they both tend to be highly cost prohibitive.  Even some of my clients with the largest budgets, just couldn't pull the trigger due to cost.  If you have the money, these third party tools can probably meet your immediate needs.  However, if you can wait a bit longer, maybe it makes sense to put those dollars towards migration to Office 365.  By the time you are done, Microsoft will more than likely will have a forms project that can meet a lot of your needs.  That being said, the third party tools are more mature products at this point.  They will offer more features to you now, than FoSL will at launch, so you really have to weight in what makes sense for your business. 

Now, I could be totally wrong on this since all I have seen is the same demo many of you have at SharePoint Conference.  Many ISVs have built good businesses around the gaps in SharePoint.  They can charge a premium for a feature you need now.  However, those gaps tend to get filled over time.  Social is a great example.  Back in 2011, lots of companies were considering NewsGator.  Many opted out, again due to cost.  Then Microsoft bought Yammer and now the company formerly known as NewsGator is now known as Sitrion and is focusing on HR solutions.  I'm not saying that I see K2 or Nintex going out of business any time soon, but I hope they are working on something great to fill that next gap.  While you may argue that the Microsoft forms solution may never be as mature as what the ISVs offer, it may be good enough.  Customers will opt to get by with what it provides rather than sign a PO with an ISV to get more.

As I said at the end of last year, 2014 is the year of the hybrid.  You'll see more organizations this putting one foot in the cloud.  Whether they start with OneDrive for Business or they go all in, you'll see new organizations looking at the cloud this year when previously they swore they would never go.  Never say never.  When companies look at spending 500k, 1 million, or even more on doing an upgrade every couple of years, you have to ask yourself why?  Wouldn't you rather just do one last migration to SharePoint Online and then never have to worry about it again?  If I was a CIO, that's certainly where I would be looking.  Of course, moving to the cloud has it caveats, concerns, downtime, performance issues, and risks.  I understand that it's not right for everyone.  However, if Office 365 is viable for your business though, why wouldn't you do it and never have to worry about another migration again?

After the forms session, I had a conversation on SPCtv with Greg Lindhorst, Sonya Koptyev, and Karuana about the future of forms.  Be sure and watch it for more information.

SPCtv Insights into the Future of Forms

Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is a consultant at Hitachi Consulting specializing in SharePoint and Office 365 for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

Corey specializes in delivering ECM and search solutions to clients using SharePoint. Corey has always focused on rapid adoption of new Microsoft technologies including Visual Studio 2013, Office 365, and SharePoint.

He is a member of the .NET Mafia (www.dotnetmafia.com) where he blogs about the latest technology and SharePoint. He is dedicated to the community and speaks regularly at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...