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;

Simplicity

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

Collaborative

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

Insightful

  • 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: 11/2/2020

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

Looking to drive adoption and create a better user experience?  Pin a commonly used app to Teams.  In the example pictured above I’ve pinned our intranet “MSW” to the rail (left side control bar). Now I don’t need to leave teams to access company news and information.

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
Taking your automation to the next level with PowerShell 7YouTube
Azure Cost Management and Billing updates – October 2020Azure
Collecting and displaying niping network latency measurements with Azure MonitorSAP
First Look at Azure AutomanageTech Community
  
Business Applications
Microsoft unlocks the full potential of the smart building ecosystemIoT
Power BI October 2020 Feature SummaryPower BI
  
Windows
Plan to deploy and manage updates for Windows 10 and OfficeYouTube
Windows updates and recovery: smooth and seamless for IT and end usersYouTube
  
App Dev
5 Things you didn’t know about Azure Cognitive Services | Azure Tips and TricksYouTube
Azure SQL Auditing of Microsoft support operation is now in PreviewTech Community
Understanding Azure Arc Enabled SQL ServerChannel 9
Policy as Code with Terraform and SentinelChannel 9
  
Microsoft 365
SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: October 2020SharePoint
What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2020Teams
New training resources for Microsoft Teams admins and IT Pros on MS LearnTeams
Connect to your own data with more new data types in ExcelExcel
Microsoft Productivity Score and personalized experiences—here’s what’s new to Microsoft 365 in OctoberMicrosoft 365
How to Manage SharePoint and Microsoft Teams with PowerShell CoreSharePoint
A practical guide for managing sharing with OneDriveOneDrive
Announcing Multi-Geo coverage in Germany and NorwayMicrosoft 365
  
Security
Announcing the Investigation Insights WorkbookSecurity
Unilever CISO on balancing business risks with cybersecuritySecurity
Back to the future: What the Jericho Forum taught us about modern securitySecurity
Advanced Incident Management for Office and Endpoint DLP using Azure SentinelSecurity
Connect your Favorite Apps to Microsoft Cloud App SecuritySecurity
  
ManufacturingManufacturing Blog
Microsoft named a Leader in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT PlatformsIIoT
The Future of Connected DevicesNIST
Automating for a Touchless Supply ChainMBT
  

View previous weeks news, tech posts and announcements here on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @MrLouisG

Have a great week!

Technology Strategist

Microsoft Manufacturing

Microsoft Tech News & Product Updates: 9/7/2020

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

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
Connector for AWS in Azure Cost Management + Billing is now generally availableAzure
5 ways to optimize your backup costs with Azure BackupAzure
Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – August 2020Azure
Azure Shared Disk Support for Clustered SAP ASCS/SCS on Windows ClusterSAP
  
Business Applications
Managing speaking engagements at Microsoft with the Microsoft Power PlatformIT Showcase
Ways you can deliver quick and agile customer experiencesDynamics 365
  
Windows
Microsoft Expressive Pixels: a platform for creativity, inclusion and innovationWindows
Update on Adobe Flash Player End of SupportWindows
  
App Dev
Start your DevOps pipeline in the Azure CloudTech Community
Learn how to deploy .NET Core apps to Azure with GitHub ActionsChannel 9
Cosmos DB Referencing TablesJames Serra
  
Microsoft 365
TLS 1.0 and 1.1 deprecationOffice 365
SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: August 2020SharePoint
What’s New in Microsoft Teams | August 2020Teams
Microsoft Lists in Microsoft Teams is now generally availableTeams
Microsoft Teams Devices for Shared Spaces July and August UpdateTeams
Application Guard for M365 Apps public previewM365
What’s New with Microsoft 365 | August 2020YouTube
  
Security
How Microsoft does Zero TrustYouTube
Mitigating vulnerabilities with identity security posture assessmentsTech Community
New & Updated Security Tools (Group Policy)Tech Community
Microsoft Security: What cybersecurity skills do I need to become a CISO?Security
Force firmware code to be measured and attested by Secure Launch on Windows 10Security
3 ways Microsoft 365 can help you reduce helpdesk costsSecurity
  
ManufacturingManufacturing Blog
US Productivity Jumped Record 10.1% in Q2, But Output SunkMBT
  

Workforce Transformation: Building Digital Skills

As we beginning emerging from the global pandemic and worldwide recession we face the daunting task of rebuilding. Though different for every business, similar themes like changing business models, resiliency in supply chain, modernizing business process and realigning security to new threats have emerged.

Common to solving these and all the others tasks on our seamlessly endless to do list is our people. By transforming our workforce, increasing digital skills and engagement we enable  every employee to rebuild, renew and rethink our business. We have the opportunity to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before. The key is investing in our people.

This Sway provides a summary of programs Microsoft offers designed to increase digit IQ and prepare for the new world we are all face.

Click on this image to launch Sway

Microsoft Tech News & Product Updates: 7/13/2020

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Please find below an overview of available resources and what’s new at Microsoft.

The Future of Work

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
How to create dashboards with Azure Monitor dataYouTube
Assess your VMware workloads for a move to Azure VMware Solution with Azure MigrateTech Community
Microsoft Azure Advisor: How to Improve performance, security, and reliability of your Azure VMsTech Community
SQL Server 2019 is released for SAP NetWeaverTech Community
Business Applications
Making buildings smarter with Azure IoTAzure
Azure AI: Build mission-critical AI apps with new Cognitive Services capabilitiesAzure
Easily add voice commands to your apps with Custom CommandsTech Community
Streamlining Microsoft’s payment processes with Microsoft Power AutomateIT Showcase
How to manage the Power Platform at enterprise scale AND help solve REAL problems with Alan ChaiChannel9
Power BI Desktop June 2020 Feature SummaryPower BI
2020 release wave 2 plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform now availableDynamics 365
Microsoft acquires Orions Systems to expand Dynamics 365 capabilitiesDynamics 365
Windows
Proactively monitor ARM-based Windows Virtual Desktop with Azure Log Analytics and Azure MonitorTech Community
App Dev
Azure Certifications for DevelopersTips & Tricks
One Ops Question: What are Azure Blueprints?Tech Community
GDPR for Database DevelopersTech Community
Accelerate extraction of text, data and structure from your documents with Form RecognizerTech Community
Microsoft 365
On-demand training sessions for SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Yammer, and Stream – 2020-H2Tech Community
Introducing Microsoft Teams displaysTech Community
Re-imagine meeting room experiences with Teams-enabled devices for shared spacesTech Community
Teams: How to get the most from Together modeTech Community
Add additional properties to the profile card using the profile API in Microsoft GraphTech Community
The future of work—the good, the challenging & the unknownMicrosoft 365
Security
Introducing event timeline – an innovative, new way to manage your security exposureTech Community
Microsoft Security Matters Newsletter – June 2020Tech Community
Microsoft Threat Protection advanced hunting cheat sheetTech Community
Announcing GA: Mark new files as “sensitive by default” in OneDrive & SharePointTech Community
Security Controls in Azure Security Center: Secure Management PortsTech Community
Information Protection: Notes from the fieldTech Community
New study shows customers save time, resources and improve security with Microsoft Cloud App SecuritySecurity
Inside Microsoft Threat Protection: Correlating and consolidating attacks into incidentsSecurity
 
Manufacturing Industry Blog
Making buildings smarter with Azure IoTAzure
Recognizing Supplier Quality Problems Before They SpreadMBT

View previous weeks news, tech posts and announcements here on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @MrLouisG

Remote Work Resources

  • Enabling remote work with Microsoft 365 Part 1, Part 2,  Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 6 – Series on YouTube by Stephen Rose
  • If you own Office 365 and are currently deploying Teams, we have multiple free programs we can offer to assist. If you are interested, we can schedule a 30-minute call to review the available resources.
  • If you have users that are not licensed for Teams, we are offering a free 6-month Office 365 E1 subscription to our clients affected by COVID-19.
  • Microsoft is offering Windows Virtual Desktop at reduced rates.  If you are interested, we can schedule a call to review options.
  • We have created a PowerApps CRISIS COMMUNICATION template and reclassified Push Notifications from premium to standard licensing so you can use the apps full functionality.  Details are available here. Schedule a remote MTC session to review app and provide deployment guidance.
  • To assist our customers and community in their crisis response efforts, we’re extending the Priority Notifications promotion into the second half of 2020. Ongoing access to Priority Notifications will be available to facilitate in crisis response and recovery efforts. After the promotion period ends, licensed users will be able to send Priority Notifications according to the terms of their subscription.
  • Leverage a bot to answer questions and keep employees up to date. Here is a the template for FAQ Plus.  You can find a description of other available templates here.
  •  Build a Crisis FAQ bot using Power Virtual Agents
  • Build a crisis management site in SharePoint to connect people and information here is the blog post and the Look Book so you can add to your tenant.
  • In partnership with Commvault we are offering free data protection for devices through 9/1. Please see offer here.
  • The Microsoft Work from Home Guide can be downloaded from this blog post. This is the guide Microsoft distributed to its employees.
  • Partner PTC is offering use of their AR Remote Assist Product Vuforia Chalk for free through June.
  •  Dynamics 365 Remote Assist allows field technicians and engineers to collaborate with colleagues and experts from different locations, reducing travel and resolving some of the immediate obstacles facing us all. Dynamics 365 Customer Service or Dynamics 365 Remote Assist may be available free of charge for up to 6 months if you are implementing a solution in response to COVID-19, either on a Microsoft-provided template or custom implementation.  
  • User Solutions, a producer of production scheduling software systems, announces it will offer Resource Manager for Excel (RMX), a standalone production scheduling and materials requirements planning system, free of charge to manufacturers temporarily repurposing their production lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Microsoft has created a detailed guide for enabling remote work designed for IT Pros. It can be downloaded from this blog post.
  •  New identity features help empower essential Firstline Workers

Join the community Microsoft Tech Community: Enabling Remote Work

Please see my post Enabling Remote Workers for a categorized overview of resources and my Enabling Remote Workers PointDrive for a more comprehensive list of documentation.

Have a great week!

Microsoft Tech News and Product Updates; 06/29/2020

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. A couple of items of note from last week;

Product News, Tech Posts & Announcements from last week

Azure Infrastructure
Deploy to Azure Container Instances with Docker DesktopAzure
Introducing Azure Load Balancer insights using Azure Monitor for NetworksAzure
Simplifying declarative deployments in AzureAzure
Azure.com operates on Azure part 1: Design principles and best practicesAzure
How Azure.com operates on Azure part 2: Technology and architectureAzure
New and improved learning experience with Microsoft LearnLearn
New scale-up SAP HANA reference architecture and moreAzureCAT
Azure portal June 2020 updateTech Community
Business Applications
Behind the Tech: Drew Endy: Bioengineering pioneerYouTube
Power BI Desktop June 2020 Feature SummaryPowerBI
Dynamics 365 Project Operations preview is now availableDynamics
Windows
New on Microsoft Learn: Stay current with Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 AppsTech Community
App Dev
Azure Arc enabled data services with Travis WrightYouTube
How to set up test environments in Azure for DevelopersMechanics
How Microsoft’s engineers learned the language of DevOpsIT Showcase
Elastic Jobs in Azure SQL Database – Part 1Channel9
Microsoft 365
What’s new to Microsoft 365 in JuneMicrosoft 365
Drive effective meetings with Teams apps while working remoteMicrosoft 365
Safe Documents is Generally AvailableMicrosoft 365
Security
CISO Stressbusters: Post #2: 4 tips for getting the first 6 months right as a new CISOSecurity
Endpoint analytics is now available in public previewEndpoint Manager
How Secure Score affects your governanceTech Community
Feeling fatigued? Cloud-based SIEM relieves security team burnoutSecurity
Lessons learned from the Microsoft SOC—Part 3d: Zen and the art of threat huntingSecurity
Defending Exchange servers under attackSecurity
Modernizing the security operations center to better secure a remote workforceSecurity
Proactively reduce lateral movement path risk to your organization with Azure ATPTech Community
MIP and Compliance V-blog#3: Setting up a secure collaboration environment – Security Admin POVSecurity
 
Manufacturing Industry Blog
Microsoft acquires CyberX to accelerate and secure customers’ IoT deploymentsSecurity
How the Virtual Twin Experience Can Help Manufacturers Ramp Up Production While Implementing Social Distancing in FactoriesDelmia
7 Manufacturing Digitization Challenges — and How to Overcome ThemNIST

View previous weeks news, tech posts and announcements here on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @MrLouisG

Remote Work Resources

  • Enabling remote work with Microsoft 365 Part 1, Part 2,  Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 6 – Series on YouTube by Stephen Rose
  • If you own Office 365 and are currently deploying Teams, we have multiple free programs we can offer to assist. If you are interested, we can schedule a 30-minute call to review the available resources.
  • If you have users that are not licensed for Teams, we are offering a free 6-month Office 365 E1 subscription to our clients affected by COVID-19.
  • Microsoft is offering Windows Virtual Desktop at reduced rates.  If you are interested, we can schedule a call to review options.
  • We have created a PowerApps CRISIS COMMUNICATION template and reclassified Push Notifications from premium to standard licensing so you can use the apps full functionality.  Details are available here. Schedule a remote MTC session to review app and provide deployment guidance.
  • To assist our customers and community in their crisis response efforts, we’re extending the Priority Notifications promotion into the second half of 2020. Ongoing access to Priority Notifications will be available to facilitate in crisis response and recovery efforts. After the promotion period ends, licensed users will be able to send Priority Notifications according to the terms of their subscription.
  • Leverage a bot to answer questions and keep employees up to date. Here is a the template for FAQ Plus.  You can find a description of other available templates here.
  •  Build a Crisis FAQ bot using Power Virtual Agents
  • Build a crisis management site in SharePoint to connect people and information here is the blog post and the Look Book so you can add to your tenant.
  • In partnership with Commvault we are offering free data protection for devices through 9/1. Please see offer here.
  • The Microsoft Work from Home Guide can be downloaded from this blog post. This is the guide Microsoft distributed to its employees.
  • Partner PTC is offering use of their AR Remote Assist Product Vuforia Chalk for free through June.
  •  Dynamics 365 Remote Assist allows field technicians and engineers to collaborate with colleagues and experts from different locations, reducing travel and resolving some of the immediate obstacles facing us all. Dynamics 365 Customer Service or Dynamics 365 Remote Assist may be available free of charge for up to 6 months if you are implementing a solution in response to COVID-19, either on a Microsoft-provided template or custom implementation.  
  • User Solutions, a producer of production scheduling software systems, announces it will offer Resource Manager for Excel (RMX), a standalone production scheduling and materials requirements planning system, free of charge to manufacturers temporarily repurposing their production lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Microsoft has created a detailed guide for enabling remote work designed for IT Pros. It can be downloaded from this blog post.
  •  New identity features help empower essential Firstline Workers

Join the community Microsoft Tech Community: Enabling Remote Work

Please see my post Enabling Remote Workers for a categorized overview of resources and my Enabling Remote Workers PointDrive for a more comprehensive list of documentation.