Everybody works. Whether you build houses, work in an office or manage a multi-billion-dollar company, at the end of the day, everyone has worked. Even though the definition of work can be very different, it can always be done smarter. Microsoft’s Power Platform offers a set of powerful tools that can increase efficiency, decrease friction, and in time give you happier employees.
The Power Platform consists of 3 products; Flow, PowerApps and PowerBI. This blog post will focus on the first 2 products. Individually Flow and PowerApps are very powerful but combined you can perform highly complex tasks – all without having to write a single line of code!
The Power Platform is the cornerstone of the future landscape of Microsoft. All applications, from Excel to Project, to Dynamics will be intertwined with a unified data store called the Common Data Service. The Power Platform will be the glue that combines one system to the other – all in a seamless integration.
We’ll begin by defining Flow and PowerApps, but before we do so, I’d like to point out that both Flow and PowerApps are included for free in most Office365 subscriptions. Everything described in this blog post can be achieved with no extra costs!
At the core, Flow is a tool that allows you to automate things. You can set up a Flow to auto-archive attachments on your emails, or you can set up a large-scale integration between 2 Line of Business systems. Everything is done in a simple graphical interface, where the different steps of your Flow are building blocks that can be moved around to fit your exact need. Flow comes with hundreds of different connectors to all of Microsoft’s other products, as well as a wide range of connectors to 3rd party application. On top of this, Microsoft has added several pre-defined templates that can help you get started in seconds. Just select a template, add your credentials, and you are good to go.
PowerApps allows anyone to create apps without having to write any code. It can even create the app for you based on an already existing data source. Like Flow, PowerApps allows you to create apps through a simple graphical interface where the elements of your app are easy-to-use graphical building blocks. With PowerApps, there is also a large library of ready-to-use templates, ranging from simple to complex apps. All can be tried on demo data before being enabled on your own environment.
With PowerApps, you can create apps that can be accessed and used virtually anywhere. You can, of course, use the apps you create on your mobile devices through the PowerApps app, also, PowerApps can be integrated on websites, in your existing SharePoint site and even in PowerBI reports.
Utilizing Flow and PowerApps can provide small changes to your everyday work with a huge impact. The possibilities are virtually endless, but I’ll try to provide some concrete examples that help you get going quickly.
The first example is building on the data you already have. Organizations organize risks in one way or another. A popular way is to use a list on a SharePoint site, which is a simple and structured way of working with risks, but it does require the user to sign into SharePoint, find the list and create the risk items.
Using out of the box functionality in Modern Sharepoint, you can create a fully functioning PowerApp in minutes. In the ribbon on your SharePoint list, you have a PowerApps button. Simply select it, give the app a name, and 30 seconds later you have an app that allows your users to work with their risks from virtually anywhere.
The standard app created from existing data comes with 3 screens; Overview, View, and Edit. You can make all the changes you want to, and when finished you can publish it to your organization for others to use.
Adding on top of this, you can set up a Flow that notifies the person assigned to mitigate the risks whenever a change is made to the risk. For details on this, I’d recommend that you watch the recorded webinar on October 23rd, where I’m taking you through all the necessary steps to achieve this functionality.
The Power Platform Conceptualized
At Projectum, we invest heavily in utilizing the tools provided with the Power Platform to create value not only for ourselves but also for our customers. We achieve this by always staying one step ahead of the trend and current development of technology, and re-think how we can organize and manage work smarter and more efficiently. This has given us many valuable insights and has also resulted in several custom implementations of both Flow and PowerApps, where standard components have been extended using our extended knowledge within the world of Project, Portfolio and Work Management. So far, the list includes classic workflows, auto-population of fields in Project Online and Dynamics 365, advanced business logic and LOB-integrations.
Soon, Projectum will introduce the Power Suite, which is a set of small but highly useful PowerApps that allows users to remove friction from their work and focus on creating value instead. The Power Suite library of apps will grow over time and offers more diverse solutions.
If you’ve watched the webinar accompanying this blog post (in case you haven’t, here’s the link), you have already seen how easy and simple it is to get going using Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. Users with little to no coding background can create complex apps in PowerApps, and combined with Flow, they can build advanced business logic on top of this. The Power Platform will change the way we work, making it easier to perform manual work, and enabling users to work the way they prefer.
If you’re interested in hearing more about what the Power Platform can do for you, go watch the webinar here. Here, you’ll also find links to the Power Platform as well as information on how to get in touch with Projectum if you need any guidance on how to get started.
PPM Consultant at Projectum ApS
Andreas is a PPM consultant in our Århus office. He creates solutions for Project and Portfolio Management in medium/large organizations. Focus areas include developing project, portfolio and resource management solutions using Microsoft Project, Project Online and other applications in the Office 365 suite.