Summary: Online form builder, InfoPath with Office 365 has been discontinued. We discuss issues with the solution and alternatives for you to try.

InfoPath is an online form builder solution that was released with Microsoft Office in 2003 and could be used in conjunction with SharePoint. We’ve previously discussed some great all-in-one SharePoint Alternatives on the blog.

If you are a user of InfoPath you’ll be aware of its capabilities to design forms with a variety of controls that are connected with the data it collects. Recently Microsoft has discontinued it’s online form builder solution, InfoPath, and is currently developing a new solution. That leaves many wondering, what was wrong with InfoPath and how can it be replaced?

What Were Some Issues?

Initially the form solution met businesses requirements, but restrictions of the tool emerged throughout its existence such as its XML foundations (this was where the data was stored). The XML foundations caused issues when forms were published in SharePoint and as HTML display issues. Overall the functionality and usability of InfoPath has become dated, and because of these revelations, it is no longer supported in Office 365. With current development of a new replacement still underway there is a gap in your ability to simplify your workplace with necessary forms.

What Key Elements Are Now Missing?

Below are a few examples of forms you could create using the online form builder, InfoPath:

  • Expense Reports
  • Insurance Claims
  • Permit Applications
  • Inventory Management
  • Market Research
As you can see, or are already aware, these forms are essential for the success of your organization’s day-to-day functionality. That being said, there are online form builder solutions aside from InfoPath that can assist you in creating, and designing, a variety of fully-functioning forms in addition to improving the flow of all your internal communications; an intranet.

Can An Out-Of-The-Box Intranet Replace Your InfoPath?

Using an out-of-the-box intranet not only would assist you in having fully functioning forms (you own the software, there’s no chance of discontinuation), but it also provides a variety of other essentials necessary for an organization like yours:

Online Form Builder

Streamline workflows, automate business processes and eliminate manual business tasks. Build any number of Online Forms with smart logic like conditional triggers, formula calculation, database query fields and spreadsheets.  With our simple security settings you choose who can see, search for and report on form submissions. Create private fields, toggled sections and even brand your forms.

Policy and Document Management

Centralize all of your company policies, procedures and manuals so employees can easily search and retrieve important documents. Choose to attach files or use our wiki-like web docs, and add tags to make content even easier for your employees to find. Part of document and policy management is ensuring up-to-date revisions and changes are made, keeping your content fresh and relevant.  With our scheduled review process content managers will be notified when their document or policy needs to be revised.

Training and Onboarding

Easily keep employees informed on the latest policies and procedures, or streamline new employees through a consistent process that will enable them to get up-to-speed and more productive faster. Quickly organize training courses, workshops and seminars, as well as track, manage and report on registrations and waitlists.

Employee Engagement Tools

The engaging elements of an intranet are designed to feature enterprise social networking where it pertains to business needs. An intranet can provide two-way communication tools such as Live Chat, Company Blogs, Idea Share Exchange and Employee Message Boards. You can build community and conversations with an all-in-one intranet that may not exist in your physical environment which brings peers together from various locations or departments.

Have you made the switch from InfoPath to an intranet? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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