EfficiencyNext ready to support orgs losing Microsoft Access Web Apps

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in From the Cloud, From the Mind, Press Releases, Uncategorized | Comments Off on EfficiencyNext ready to support orgs losing Microsoft Access Web Apps

Microsoft has recently announced it is axing its Microsoft Access Web Apps capability in Office 365 and SharePoint Online. https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/the_microsoft_access_support_team_blog/2017/03/31/access-web-apps-to-be-retired/

This capability allowed those who work with Microsoft Access the ability to publish database applications into SharePoint without code. While there are were technical ceilings for what the technology could do, it none the less is incredibly impressive and used by organizations. As of now, it is not possible to publish any new Access Web Apps, and inside of a year (April 2018), existing database applications that have been deployed to SharePoint will be shutdown.

We view the decision to discontinue Access Web Apps in Office 365 to be a tremendous mistake. When advocates of Office 365 demo neat features and then receive notice they will be killed with only three months notice, they look like fools, Microsoft looks like it can’t stick to its commitments, and customers are sent scurrying for replacements. It’s a lose/lose/lose.

What is perhaps most concerning is there is no obvious underlying technical justification for this move. Access Web Apps are Add-Ins, an extendable part of SharePoint that lives separately from the core code. Keeping the feature available (at least through Access 2016’s support life cycle) would not have been an undo burden. If nothing else, SharePoint Online’s infrastructure made such a thing very practical. While this is purely conjecture, the discontinuation of Access Web Apps feels like a way of pushing developers toward PowerApps, a no-code/low-code platform that is similar but definitely not at feature parity with Access Web Apps.

Please note this does not affect SharePoint 2013/2016 on-premise customers. If you are running Access Web Apps on premise, Microsoft has guaranteed they will continue to work, and that the next version of SharePoint on-premise will ship with the necessary services to continue that support.

So, turning off the rant now. If your organization had plans to implement Access Web Apps in its SharePoint Online environment, and no longer can, contact us! We have a platform called EfficiencySpring that provides relational database interfaces using the same Add-In approach Access Web Apps used. Supported data sources include SQL Azure and SQL Server. A video of this capability is below:

We stand ready to assist organizations that want scalable databases inside their SharePoint Online environments, and perhaps just lost what they had been planning to use.