InfoPath is a Microsoft software application that allows users to design and fill out electronic forms. It gained prominence due to its ability to streamline data collection, reduce paperwork, and simplify business processes. InfoPath forms were used for various purposes, such as surveys, feedback collection, and data entry.
While InfoPath 2013 was once a popular solution for form creation, it faced challenges as technology evolved. Microsoft officially discontinued InfoPath in 2014, and it no longer receives updates or support. This leaves organizations using InfoPath in a dilemma, as they need a modern and sustainable replacement to continue their form-based operations.
In this blog, we will explore the alternatives and solutions available for InfoPath replacement in a modern and efficient manner. Whether you’re a business looking to migrate from InfoPath or a newcomer seeking the best tools for form creation, this guide has you covered.
Why Microsoft discontinued InfoPath
Microsoft’s decision to discontinue InfoPath in 2014 marked the end of an era for many organizations reliant on this form-building tool. There were several reasons behind this move:
Technological Shift: InfoPath was primarily designed for on-premises solutions, which became less relevant in an increasingly cloud-centric world. Microsoft shifted its focus to cloud-based services like SharePoint and Office 365, leaving InfoPath behind.
Complexity: The complexity of InfoPath’s underlying architecture made it challenging for Microsoft to adapt to rapidly changing technology landscapes. This hindered its ability to provide timely updates and security enhancements.
Evolving Needs: Modern businesses required more flexible and mobile-friendly form solutions. InfoPath’s inability to meet these demands became evident as mobile devices and responsive design became the norm.
Common challenges and limitations of using InfoPath
Despite its widespread use, InfoPath had several limitations and challenges, including:
Compatibility Issues: InfoPath forms often faced compatibility problems when viewed on different browsers or devices, leading to an inconsistent user experience.
Complexity of Use: Creating and maintaining InfoPath forms required technical expertise, making it less accessible to non-technical users.
Lack of Mobile Responsiveness: With the proliferation of mobile devices, InfoPath forms didn’t adapt well to different screen sizes, which was a significant drawback for mobile users.
Limited Integration: InfoPath had limited integration capabilities with other software applications, which hindered seamless data transfer and processing.
Obsolete Technology: As technology progressed, InfoPath became outdated, lacking features that modern businesses needed, such as robust analytics and real-time collaboration.
Why do you Need Microsoft InfoPath Replacement?
The discontinuation of InfoPath by Microsoft isn’t merely a matter of software obsolescence; it has significant implications for organizations. Here’s why you should consider replacing InfoPath:
Security Concerns: With the end of support for InfoPath, Microsoft no longer provides security updates or patches. This leaves your organization vulnerable to potential security breaches and data leaks.
Compatibility Issues: As technology evolves, InfoPath forms may not work seamlessly with new operating systems, browsers, or devices. This can lead to user frustration and hamper data collection.
Compliance Risks: Organizations often need to adhere to regulatory standards, and using unsupported software like InfoPath can lead to compliance issues. This can result in legal troubles and reputation damage.
Missed Opportunities: Modern form-building tools offer advanced features like analytics, conditional logic, and integration with other applications. Sticking with InfoPath means missing out on these opportunities to streamline and enhance your data collection processes.
Limited Collaboration: InfoPath’s lack of collaborative capabilities can hinder teamwork. Collaborative form editing, real-time feedback, and concurrent access are crucial in today’s business environment.
InfoPath Replacement Options
If you’re in search of a suitable replacement for InfoPath, you’re in luck. There’s a multitude of options available, catering to various needs and preferences. Let’s explore these alternatives, both from trusted partners and third-party sources, to help you make an informed choice:
From our partners:
Microsoft PowerApps is a powerful solution for organizations deeply embedded in the Microsoft universe. Its seamless integration with SharePoint and Office 365 allows for a smooth transition from InfoPath. With a vast template library and an array of connectors, it caters to a broad spectrum of form-building needs, from simple data collection to complex, workflow-driven applications.
- Seamlessly integrates with the Microsoft ecosystem, including SharePoint and Office 365.
- Empowers users to create custom forms and automate processes.
- Offers a wide range of templates and connectors for a tailored experience.
For organizations already invested in Microsoft solutions, SharePoint Online is an excellent SharePoint InfoPath replacement. It provides a comprehensive platform for form creation and management. Users can seamlessly design, share, and collaborate on forms, ensuring a familiar and efficient experience within the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem.
- Part of the Office 365 suite, SharePoint Online provides robust form-building capabilities.
- Offers easy integration with other Office applications.
- Enables you to create, manage, and share forms within a familiar environment.
Microsoft Forms simplifies form creation with its user-friendly interface and deep integration with Office 365. It is tailored for quick and straightforward form development, making it ideal for surveys, quizzes, and feedback forms. Real-time analytics provide valuable insights into the data collected.
- User-friendly and closely integrated with Office 365.
- Perfect for creating surveys, quizzes, and feedback forms.
- Offers real-time analytics to gain valuable insights.
Nintex Forms and Workflow
Nintex Forms and Workflow is the go-to option for organizations with complex workflow needs. It offers advanced forms and workflow solutions that enhance the efficiency and automation of business processes. The high level of customization ensures that it can cater to specific and intricate requirements.
- Provides advanced forms and workflow solutions.
- Enhances the efficiency and automation of business processes.
- Highly customizable, offering tailored solutions for complex workflows.
Kudzu Forms, as a partner solution, is designed to offer simplicity and integration capabilities. Its user-friendly interface makes it suitable for a variety of form-building needs. It’s an accessible and practical choice for organizations looking for a quick transition from InfoPath.
- A partner solution designed for creating forms and surveys.
- Known for its simplicity and integration capabilities.
- A user-friendly platform catering to a variety of form-building needs.
Other third-party Options:
JotForm stands out for its versatility and customization options. Whether you need a simple survey or a complex order form, it has the features you require. With a vast selection of integrations, it’s an excellent choice for organizations looking for flexibility and adaptability in their form-creation process.
- Highly customizable and versatile online form builder.
- Offers a wide range of features, from basic surveys to complex order forms.
- Supports various integrations for enhanced functionality.
Typeform is the go-to option for organizations that prioritize creating engaging and visually appealing forms. It offers an interactive user experience, making it ideal for surveys, quizzes, and feedback forms. The platform focuses on delivering a unique and engaging experience for both creators and respondents.
- Known for its engaging and visually appealing form designs.
- Ideal for creating surveys, quizzes, and feedback forms.
- Offers an interactive and user-friendly experience for both creators and respondents.
Formstack is a comprehensive platform that offers advanced features, workflow automation, and extensive integration options. It’s a powerful solution for organizations looking for a one-stop-shop for streamlining data collection and processing.
- A robust form-building platform with advanced features.
- Provides workflow automation and extensive integration options.
- Suitable for organizations seeking comprehensive solutions.
Cognito Forms excels in handling complex form requirements, offering advanced calculations, conditional logic, and payment processing capabilities. It’s the right choice for organizations with intricate form logic and processes that demand precision and flexibility.
- Known for its advanced calculations, conditional logic, and payment processing capabilities.
- Suitable for organizations with complex form requirements.
- Ideal for creating forms with intricate logic and processes.
Zoho Forms is part of the Zoho suite of business tools, offering a user-friendly interface and advanced features. It caters to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, providing a versatile and cost-effective solution for form creation and management.
- Part of the Zoho suite, offering a user-friendly interface.
- Ideal for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Provides advanced features for form creation and management.
These InfoPath replacement options offer a variety of features and benefits, allowing you to choose the one that aligns best with your organization’s specific form-building needs. Whether you opt for a partner solution from Microsoft or explore the options provided by third-party vendors, you’re sure to find a tool that streamlines your form creation processes and keeps your data collection efficient and secure.
Assessing Your InfoPath Forms
As InfoPath faces retirement, it’s crucial to evaluate your existing forms to ensure a smooth transition to a modern solution. Conducting an InfoPath assessment is an essential step in this process.
Importance of conducting an InfoPath assessment
Conducting an InfoPath assessment holds significant importance for your organization. Here’s why:
Identify Critical Forms: An InfoPath assessment helps you identify which forms are essential for your operations. It’s an opportunity to prioritize and decide which forms need immediate migration and which can be phased out.
Data Migration Planning: Assessing your forms allows you to plan the migration of your existing data. You can determine how to transfer information from InfoPath to the new platform effectively.
Determine Requirements: By evaluating your forms, you can identify the specific requirements and features you need in your new form-building tool. This ensures that your replacement solution aligns with your organizational needs.
Cost and Resource Planning: Understanding the complexity of your forms and the volume of data to migrate enables you to plan your budget and allocate resources effectively.
User Training: An InfoPath assessment helps you determine the level of user training required for the new platform. It ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruptions.
Step-by-step guide on how to assess your existing InfoPath forms
Conducting an InfoPath assessment is a systematic process that involves the following steps:
List all your existing InfoPath forms. Categorize them based on their purpose, importance, and usage frequency.
Gather feedback from users regarding their experiences with the forms. Identify pain points and areas that require improvement.
Examine the data stored in your InfoPath forms. Determine what information is critical for your organization and which data can be archived or deleted.
Verify the compatibility of your forms with the new platform. Ensure that all data and features can be seamlessly migrated.
Security and Compliance:
Review the security measures in place for your forms and check for compliance with industry regulations. Identify any areas that need adjustments to ensure data security and compliance.
Assess the integrations your forms have with other systems or applications. Determine if these integrations can be maintained with the new platform.
Data Migration Plan:
Develop a detailed plan for migrating data from InfoPath to the new platform. Specify how data will be transferred, ensuring minimal disruption to your operations.
Identify any customizations or unique features in your forms that need to be replicated or replaced in the new solution.
User Training Plan:
Based on the complexity of your new platform and the needs of your users, create a training plan to ensure a smooth transition.
Budget and Resource Allocation:
Based on the assessment, create a budget that includes costs for migration, training, and any additional resources required.
Conducting an InfoPath assessment may seem like a comprehensive process, but it’s an essential step to ensure a successful transition to modern form-building alternatives. It enables your organization to make informed decisions and minimizes disruptions during the migration process.
Factors to consider when choosing an InfoPath replacement.
As you embark on the journey to replace InfoPath, it’s crucial to make an informed decision. Here, we’ll delve into the key factors you should consider when choosing an InfoPath replacement and offer guidance on evaluating your organization’s unique needs.
Integration Requirements: Consider your organization’s existing tech stack. Your chosen replacement should seamlessly integrate with other tools and systems your organization relies on. Ensure it can work harmoniously with your CRM, database, or project management software.
User-Friendliness: Evaluate the user interface of the replacement solution. Is it user-friendly, or does it require extensive training? The ease of use can significantly impact the adoption rate within your organization.
Customization Options: Assess the level of customization the new platform allows. Can you create forms that meet your specific needs? Look for a solution that enables you to tailor forms to your unique requirements.
Mobility and Responsiveness: In today’s mobile world, it’s essential that your forms are accessible on various devices. Your chosen solution should support responsive design to ensure an optimal user experience across smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
Security and Compliance: Data security and regulatory compliance are paramount. Confirm that your replacement solution meets your organization’s security and compliance requirements. Ensure it has features for data encryption, user authentication, and audit trails.
Cost Considerations: Budget constraints are a reality for most organizations. Calculate the total cost of ownership, including licensing, setup, and ongoing maintenance, to ensure it aligns with your budget.
Scalability: Think about the future. Can the solution grow with your organization? Scalability is vital to accommodate increasing data volumes and expanding user bases.
Workflow and Automation: Evaluate the extent to which the replacement solution supports workflow automation. It should streamline business processes, reducing manual tasks and improving efficiency.
Real-time Use Case for InfoPath Replacement
A leading insurance provider relied on thousands of disparate InfoPath forms. These forms were difficult to build and update, and they generated siloes of data. The organization used Power Platform and Microsoft 365 to restructure its data and unify related forms into single, automated business applications.
- InfoPath forms were difficult to build and update, and generated siloes of data
- Organization used Power Platform and Microsoft 365 to restructure data and unify forms
- Streamlined business processes
- Easier for field staff to collect, analyze, and manage data
- IT has more time for other high-impact efforts
The journey to modernize your form-building processes is now a necessity. This blog has guided you through the demise of InfoPath, the reasons behind the need for a replacement, a selection of viable InfoPath alternatives, the importance of conducting an InfoPath assessment, and the factors to consider when making the right choice.
We understand that this process can be complex, and that’s why we’re here to help. If you’re seeking a smooth and hassle-free transition, consider signing up for our InfoPath migration services. Our experts will ensure your InfoPath replacement journey is as efficient and effective as possible, so you can focus on what matters most—your organization’s success.