Optimizing Business Processes with Office 365, Teams and the Power Platform

Optimizing Business Processes with Office 365, Teams and the Power Platform

Microsoft 365 provides an extensive set of tools providing a method to optimize your organizations business processes.  In this post I’ll provide an example.  When building a process, I want to focus on these attributes;


  • Creator – Easy to create and maintain.
  • Consumer – intuitive and encapsulated (not having to use many systems to get their job done)


  • Foster the ability to collaborate on work items throughout the process.


  • Continually provide visibility and insights into the process for all stakeholders

For this example, I’m using a safety walk. A safety walk is when a safety inspector walks the floor of a facility and records their findings.  If the inspector finds an issue requiring action, they begin the process.  An action can be dispatching a service technician to fix something that is broken or creating a purchase requisition to obtain a product or service needed to remediate the issue.  In many organizations this would involve access to several systems making the process a bit cumbersome and storing data in silos making reporting difficult.  To simply the process we’ll use just one interface Microsoft Teams and remove the data silos for information so it can used as a feedback loop helping to continually improve the process.   

Here is a high level overview of the architecture.

The “Safety Tracker” app was built using Power Apps.  I created one from scratch with no code in a few hours.  When an issue is created several workflows are started using Power Automate.

  • A text is sent to the facilities manager. Whenever an issue occurs, we want to ensure all relevant parties are notified and we are providing visibility and transparency. 
  • A post is created in Teams.  This gives visibly to our co-workers and provides an opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing. 
  • Depending on the type of issue we have the ability to begin a process in another system.  In our example we need to add new safety helmets to stock so we are creating a purchase requisition.  If a repair were needed a work order would have been created and the appropriate technician dispatched.  In my example I’m showing Dynamics as the receiving system however this can be SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow etc. there are connectors for 200+ systems. The relevant data from these system is also shown within Teams so the system consumer doesn’t have to jump to another system to complete the process.
  • We then update views and list to simplify and consolidate data for reporting. Power BI reports and dashboards were created and added as a tab within the Team. 
  • Additional Tabs are added to Teams to include end to end functionality for the process.  In my example they include OneNote and File Share capabilities for sharing and reviewing documentation.

To see a demo of the system please check out this video.

I hope you found this post useful and it has inspired you to try this approach on your use case.

Microsoft Tech News and Product Updates: 1/25/2021

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Please find below an overview of last weeks product news, post and announcements. 

What’s a PowerPoint Party?

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
Key customer benefits of the expanded SAP and Microsoft partnership | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft AzureSAP
Architectural Decisions to maximize ANF investment in HANA N+M Scale-Out Architecture – Part 1 – Microsoft Tech CommunitySAP
Deploy SAP AnyDB (Oracle 19c) with Azure NetApp Files – Microsoft Tech CommunitySAP
High-availability solutions for SAP SAPMNT & General Purpose share on Azure (SOFS use-case) – Microsoft Tech CommunitySAP
Business Applications
Microsoft, Adobe and Tom Siebel: This is why they’re working together to build a new CRM platformTechRepublic
Quickly respond to changing retail needs with an intelligent supply chain – Microsoft Dynamics 365 BlogDynamics
Microsoft Edge 88 Privacy and Security Updates – Microsoft Edge Blog (windows.com)Edge
Common policy configuration mistakes for managing Windows updates – Microsoft Tech CommunityWindows
App Dev
Troubleshooting Integration Service Environment Deployment Failure – Microsoft Tech CommunityLogic Apps
Simplify Authentication with Managed Identities for Azure Resources | Data Exposed – Microsoft Tech CommunityAzure SQL
Enhanced Table Extraction from documents with Form Recognizer – Microsoft Tech CommunityAzure AI
Azure SQL Connectivity Performance Tips & Tricks | Data Exposed – Microsoft Tech CommunityAzure SQL
Azure Data Factory Enables Data Wrangling at Scale with Power Query (microsoft.com)Azure Data Factory
Serverless Architecture and Concepts. What is it? – Microsoft Tech CommunitySQL Serverless
Microsoft 365
Making risk less risky The Intrazone podcast – compliance (microsoft.com)SharePoint
Plan your day with My Day in To Do (microsoft.com)To Do
Taking command: How Microsoft employees are doing more with Microsoft Teams – IT Showcase BlogTeams
Chatbots in Microsoft Teams | Build with Power Virtual Agents – YouTubeTeams
Microsoft and SAP plege to integrate Teams with SAP business apps by mid-2021 | ZDNetTeams
Intune Support Tip: Using ADMX for the Office Channel – Microsoft Tech CommunityIntune
Microsoft 365 Information Protection and Compliance Deployment Acceleration Guides – Microsoft Tech CommunityInformation Protection
How IT leaders are securing identities with Zero Trust – Microsoft SecurityZero Trust
Using Zero Trust principles to protect against sophisticated attacks like Solorigate – Microsoft SecurityZero Trust
The dynamic duo: How to build a red and blue team to strengthen your cybersecurity, Part 2 – Microsoft SecurityStrategy
ManufacturingManufacturing Blog
Examining the Manufacturing Talent Crisis: Women in the Workforce | MAPILeadership
Getting a Grip on What’s Next for Robotics in Manufacturing | NISTTechnology
How Barcode Integration Can Lead Your Digital Transformation | Manufacturing Business Technology (mbtmag.com)ERP
Addressing the skills gap in manufacturing’s new normal – Microsoft Industry BlogsLeadership
Microsoft invests in General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary Cruise | ZDNetTechnology

Microsoft Tech News and Product Updates: 1/18/2021

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Please find below an overview of last weeks product news, post and announcements. 

Figure 1 New 85″ Surface Hub

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
How to use Azure Cost Management views | Azure Portal SeriesYouTube
Optimize Operating Costs with Cloud Economics in AzureMechanics
Jamming to a new tune: Transforming Microsoft’s printing infrastructure with Universal PrintIT Showcase
Ten things you can implement to save costs in your Azure environmentChannel 9
Business Applications
What’s New in Microsoft Forms | January 2021Forms
Push tasks from corporate to frontline workers with task publishing in TeamsTeams
Manufacturers who sell direct with omnichannel retail gain powerful customer insightsChannel 9
Inside look at the new Surface Hub 2S 85Surface
Scan changes and certificates add security for Windows devices using WSUS for updatesWindows
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ with LTE Advanced | First Look at DesigMechanics
App Dev
Data Validation at Scale with Azure SynapseSynapse
Intro into security principles in the context of database systemsDBA
Principle of Least Privilege (POLP)DBA
Inspecting application metrics with dotnet-monitorChannel 9
Microsoft 365
Gain more flexibility with 250 GB file size support in Microsoft 365OneDrive
8 new productivity hacks for frontline workers, managers, and ITTeams
Approvals in Microsoft Teams, Now Generally AvailableTeams
Getting to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business Server and hybrid configurationsTeams
Microsoft Teams for frontline workers. 2021 UpdatesMechanics
FastTrack now assists with more threat protection capabilitiesSecurity
Azure Active Directory empowers frontline workers with simplified and secure accessSecurity
Access Reviews for guests in all Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups is now in public previewAAD
Making renewing certificates easier at Microsoft with Microsoft AzureIT Showcase
Netlogon Domain Controller Enforcement Mode is enabled by default beginning with the February 9, 2021 Security Update, related to CVE-2020-1472Security
Microsoft Teams DLP Playbook!!!DLP
Increasing resilience against Solorigate and other sophisticated attacks with Microsoft DefenderDefender
ManufacturingManufacturing Blog
Recognized for Doing Right: Evolving ESG at CabotMAPI
Sometimes You Just Have To Go Fishing Says Manufacturing ExecutivesNIST
Supply Chain AI: Getting the Most Bang for Your BuckNED
Robots Ready to Grow in 2021Industry Week

Microsoft Tech News and Product Updates: 1/11/2021

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Please find below an overview of last weeks product news, post and announcements. 

Best of Showcase: How Microsoft Azure powered Microsoft internally in 2020

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
Deploy SAP ASCS/ERS with Azure Files NFS v4.1 sharesSAP
Azure Cost Management and Billing 2020 year in reviewAzure
Business Applications
Level up with Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist AssociateAzure
Best of Showcase: How Microsoft Azure powered Microsoft internally in 2020IT Showcase
With reinforcement learning, Microsoft brings a new class of AI solutions to customersAI
Quickly create reports in the Power BI service (preview)Power BI
How Agic Technology deployed Supply Chain Management in 2 weeks to help Invitalia fight the pandemicDynamics
Introducing Sleeping Tabs Experiment: Improving Memory Usage in Microsoft EdgeEdge
App Dev
4 common analytics scenarios to build business agilityAzure
Enable unified data governance with Azure PurviewAzure Friday
Extracting Value from Text and Audio to Inform Business StrategyChannel 9
Microsoft 365
OneDrive Roadmap Roundup – December 2020OneDrive
“The self-maintaining intranet” 🎙 – The Intrazone podcastSharePoint
SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: December 2020Sharepoint
What’s New in Microsoft Teams | December 2020Teams
Enabling your organization for safe online meetings and collaboration with Microsoft TeamsTeams
Does Your Organization Record Teams Meetings? Bookmark this link! Hi Teams Community,Teams
Best of Yammer in 2020Yammer
How to get more new data types in Microsoft ExcelYouTube
How to use tagging effectively (Part 1)Defender
Collaborate with anyone in any organization with any email address!Azure AD
What’s New: Improved Analytics Preview Graph in Public Preview !Sentinel
Attack simulation training in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 now Generally AvailableDefender
Zero Trust networking at Microsoft hinges on communication, collaboration, and expert knowledgeIT Showcase
Privacy breaches: Using Microsoft 365 Advanced Audit and Advanced eDiscovery to minimize impactSecurity
The dynamic duo: How to build a red and blue team to strengthen your cybersecurity, Part 1Security
ManufacturingManufacturing Blog
IoT is now Generally Available as a solution covered by FastTrack for Azure to eligible customersIoT
Johnson Controls and Microsoft join forces to create healthier, safer and more sustainable buildingsTransform
How Daycare and Industrial Entrepreneurship Relate to Manufacturing’s RecoveryNIST
How Manufacturers Are Reengineering Themselves — and Their FuturesMBT
Robotics Give Hyundai a Leg Up on Next Gen VehiclesIndustryWeek