SharePoint Workflow or Microsoft Flow?


Hi all,

I'm well experienced in SharePoint, but have never used workflow (don't ask me how).  In my new role we have the following requirement so I was wondering if you have any advice as to whether SharePoint workflow or Microsoft Flow (or a combination / something else) would be best to use.

The requirement is a process flow around the creation, internal approval and signing of contracts for new consultants (or extending contracts for existing consultants):

  1. I draft a contract in Word 2016 and store the file in a SharePoint doc library.
  2. I currently manually email a link to the contract to others for input / update.
  3. I send a link to the contract to either 1 or 2 managers for approval.
    1. They make any changes they see fit and then email me to tell me it's now OK to be sent to the consultant.
    2. In automating the process, we'd need a feedback loop if further changes are required.
  4. Once approved, the file needs to be sent to the consultant and 'signed'.  Things to note:
    1. We currently convert it to PDF, storing a copy in the same place as the original Word document, so the consultant can't make changes.
    2. We email the PDF to them as an attachment.
    3. They may want changes made so we'd have to go back through the whole update / manager approval cycle.
    4. At the moment, if they're happy with the contract, they print it out, sign it with a pen, scan it and send it back as an email attachment.
    5. We save the signed copy along with the original Word document and PDF.
    6. The consultant may not yet be on our Office 365 system, but if we could build it to use links (rather than email attachments) and give them access to the specific file(s) they need that would be great.
    7. We use Office 365 Business Premium.

This must be crying-out for some kind of workflow / approval automation, so if I can benefit from the Community's wealth of experience as to where to start that would really help.  It's worth noting that I'm an advanced end user rather than developer so would like to solve this with 'out-of-the-box' functionality.

Hope you can help and thanks as always, Oz

31 Replies

Hey @Stephen Siciliano ,


I've got a question regarding the "Revisions Completed" link in the email sent out in the IF NO branch of the Check if Approved condition.  How was this implemented? In what way does it notify flow to restart the approval loop?



Hello, if you want to make it repeat inside of the Flow until it's approved, then you add a "Do until" loop. This loop would check at the end if the request has been approved yet -- if not then it'll restart the loop.

Do you use Microsoft Form to build the form?

Microsoft Forms is a great and simple way to get started. You can also use Microsoft PowerApps.

The costs will be rather insane for larger organizations (like mine) using Flow over SPD workflows for simple tasks. I my opinion something has to be adjusted how the plans work...

Does anyone know how to convert an existing SharePoint 2010/2013 workflow to Flow? I do not want to rebuild the workflows into Flow. I want to convert them. Does Microsoft has a solution to do this? We have over 850 workflows and it is a daunting task to try to rebuild all these works into Flow.

@Jlaws I'm not aware of a way to convert.

Thanks for the reply @Rob Ellis. It seems like my only option at the moment is to rebuild these workflows in MS Flow. Hopefully Microsoft can provide a solution to this issue in the near future.

@Jlaws I think if Microsoft decides to retire the native workflows then they certainly should have a suitable alternate mechanism. Most likely whole world is hooked into native workflow and may have the same exact questions (I certainly worry about the same). So just curious if there is any pressing need at your site at this time to convert the native workflows into FLOW.

The approach I have taken is to define all the new requirements into FLOW and anything already in Workflows stays there for time-being. Even if a site template has a workflow already built into it, it does create a new workflow every time I create a site from that template. I don't discourage myself against that as FLOWs can not really be made part of the site templates. So I assume there is no real case for Microsoft to retire native workflows, and eventually FLOW will win over workflows with additional advancements over period.

FLOWs also might have additional pricing angel to it as it grows in future.

There's no pressing need at this time but starting in February 2020 we want move to Flow completely, new and old workflows. I thought MS would have a way to convert/migrate old workflows to Flow by now since flow is replacing SharePoint Designer. I think MS is going to retire Designer by 2025.

@Jlaws If you decided to do it, how is that going for you? Any particularly helpful resources or notable catches?

@Brian . two of the most helpful resources I found when I was first learning Flow (Power Automate) 2 years ago were the videos on YouTube by Shane Young and the assistance given by the Microsoft Power Automate Community where I'm now a super user ( Questions range from basic to very complex, it's a friendly community and questions get answered quickly. But you don't have to ask a question; you can learn a lot by just browsing the community.


Los Gallardos
Microsoft Power Automate Community Super User