Salesforce to Retire Workflow Rules and Process Builder

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Rumors have been swirling for quite some time about the potential for Workflow Rules and Process Builder retirement – and it’s true, it really is happening.

Salesforce has been rapidly enhancing Flow’s functionality and encouraging us to migrate from Workflow Rules and Process Builder to Flow. If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the support documentation on Salesforce Help or Trailhead, you may also have noticed that the advice on which automation tool to use has been updated recently.

Check out “Choose the Right Automation Tool” on Trailhead and you’ll see the following message:

“For all behind-the-scenes automation needs, we recommend that you use Flow Builder. Use Process Builder only if you’re already familiar with using it and you need to edit an existing process. To create a new automated process, use Flow Builder instead.”

Workflow Rules don’t even get a mention, except under the guise of approval processes!

This table is from Trailhead, “Choose the Right Automation Tool”:

Workflow Rules & Process Builder Phased Retirement

So, the writing has been on the wall for some time, but during Dreamforce ‘21, the Product Manager responsible for the retirement, Patrick Stokes, delivered more detail about what to expect.

Patrick explained that there will be a formal end-of-life roadmap, governed by an end-of-life council, and they have several stages of retirement planned (Safe Harbor):

  • Spring ‘22 release: launch migration tool for Workflow Rules
  • Summer ‘22 release: launch migration tool for Process Builder
  • Winter ‘23 release: you will no longer be able to create new Process Builders or Workflow Rules

As you can see, it will be a gradual process over the course of years, not months, so no need to panic. Even better, Salesforce plans to deliver migration tools to support us.

Summary

Workflow Rules and Process Builder have been around for quite some time (Workflow especially) and so, migrating your existing processes to Flow will be no easy task. Not only will setting up new Flows take time, there is also the need to upskill for many Admins and Consultants, who may not yet be entirely comfortable with using Flow. 

If, like me, you want to get started on your journey with Flow, Salesforce Ben has plenty of resources to help you on your way! Here are just a few suggestions, but there are many more on our website.

Introduction to Salesforce Flow

Create Your First Flow – Mass Emailing Contacts

Salesforce Flow Examples + 8 Top Tips

How to Solve Salesforce Flow Errors

26 thoughts on “Salesforce to Retire Workflow Rules and Process Builder

  1. I knew it was being pushed but wasn’t expecting this considering how user-friendly the process builder was. I hope the conversion tool they refer to is robust. we have very complex builder running for extremely important parts of our business.

  2. I was expecting this. When you navigate to a field which is being used in a process builder and press the “Where is this used?” and click on the reference label URL next to Type = Flow, it will automatically convert to a flow which you’ll be able to save.

    1. Actually, it does not convert to flow, rather Process Builder is internally a simple type of flow under the hood. There is a conversion tool available now at UnofficialSF.com that will convert both WorkFlows and Process Builder.

    2. Yes – as Daryl says, it doesn’t actually convert it; you can’t save the edits to automations created in Process Builder when you open them in Flow because they’re missing some of the metadata. (There may be some you can, but not the ones I’ve explored)

  3. Worried about Outbound Soap Messages. Flows / Process Builder doesn’t current handle that capability. Is there a plan to offer “the same” functionality in Flow?

  4. Makes sense this was coming. Reducing the options for automation tools and increasing the ability of Flow makes sense to me. Though I feel for those that have built years of automation into WF Rules and Process Builder

  5. From this article, sounds like existing workflows will still work (at least beyond Winter 2023). So is there a need to migrate existing automation? Would it be enough to learn how to use Flow so new automations are created in this way?

    1. Hi Karl,

      All dates are currently Safe Harbor and existing Workflow Rules and PB won’t disappear for some time yet. I suppose the rollout of conversion tools and prevention of new rules will be just over a year, but who knows when they will remove existing ones from the platform?!

  6. As things currently stand, Field Updates made within an Approval Process can’t trigger a Flow. So Process Builder needs to stick around until that is fixed.

  7. It’s interesting what will happen with SF Certifications. As of the October’20 till May’21 the Workflow Rules were among the “preferred” ways to deal with business process automation in SF Certification Questions (Admin, Developer, etc…)

    1. I’m studying for the admin exam right now so I’m really concerned about this. I guess I am going to have to contact SF support. I don’t think the current exam has been updated to reflect this.

  8. Flow is a great tool, but when you have something simple like a field update or an email alert, a workflow rule is so much easier and faster to implement. And for process-heavy objects like Cases, I’m worried that we’ll end up with a Flow that’s a snarling mess of nodes that will be a nightmare to maintain.

  9. I will need to re-think my strategy around when to add on to an existing automation component (Process) vs when to create a new automation component (Flow or Process). Any thought around which criteria should define a distinct Flow?

  10. And nobody yet is concerned about the fact that flow is STILL in BETA? We’ve implemented a complex flow in my org, and the thing is buggy as all get out. And as my TA would point out, just like Processes, not fully bulkified.

    You can take my processes, (and maybe I’m just showing my age here), but Salesforce can pry Workflow out of my cold, dead hands…

    1. Christine Marshall

      Reply

      Hi!

      Thanks for your comment – what makes you think Flow is still in Beta? Flow Orchestrator is Beta but Flow/Flow Builder is not – at least I can’t find any information to say it is?

      Christine

    2. Christine Marshall

      Reply

      Hi again!

      I’ve spoken to my contacts at Salesforce who confirm that Flow is not Beta – it was GA in the Spring ’19 release.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Does anybody know if Flow Triggers will have access to CURRENT formula field values during the BEFORE PHASE (like the soon-to-be retired Workflow Rules has access during the BEFORE PHASE)?

    Because right now they don’t — Flow Triggers can only access PRIOR record values!

    Problem Scenario:

    (A) We have several cross-object formula fields that evaluate 10+ different objects to derive a complex status for reporting.
    (B) This complex status needs to be indexed for reporting — meaning we must use a primitive text field marked as “External Id”.
    (C) Significant integration / automation (3rd Party Vendor Programs) makes recursion a problem so AFTER SAVE is best avoided.

    Today, we use Workflow Rules to just transfer the value of the formula into the indexed text field.

    This doesn’t work with Flow Triggers. To the best of my knowledge, soon-to-be-retired Workflow Rules is the ONLY THING IN SALESFORCE that can perform this function! Not even a custom-coded solution can perform this task.

    Can anybody tell me if I am missing something?

  12. Any idea why Salesforce is depreciating process builder?
    PB is the preferred automation tool for 95% of functional Salesforce people, as flows are more complex to do.

    1. Christine Marshall

      Reply

      Salesforce feel it’s important to unify process automation, moving away from multiple tools which hampers maintenance and innovation, choosing instead to focus on a single tool – Flow. There are also known limitations and performance issues with PB, so Flow is the better option.

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