PowerApps in Office 365 can bring massive productivity gains and cost savings to the organizations who use them successfully. For simple use cases, casual Office 365 PowerApp users can create fast, reliable and mobile-friendly apps without prior programming skills!

Microsoft built PowerApps to help office workers devise custom productivity solutions for internal or external use to save money, save time, and eliminate inefficiency. The real benefit of this technology is its ability to integrate and leverage the amazing capabilities of all of Office 365 applications: Access, Dynamics 365, Excel, Flow, Forms, Invoicing, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Planner, PowerBI, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Tasks, Teams, To-Do, Word, Yammer and others. PowerApps can also connect to third-party services like Salesforce. Improperly configured workflows to any of these services can expose sensitive data, so be sure you’re working with an organization that understands how to implement securely.

Companies can eliminate paper-intensive work, for example, and thus remove many of the problems common to manual entry processes. Bookkeepers can use PowerApps to speed up month-end data collection and deliver faster – and more accurate – invoicing.

This post will present some ideas for making that potential work for your organization using rudimentary apps you can customize and start using today!

#1 – Integrate Outlook, OneNote and Planner for better meetings

This PowerApp streamlines note-taking at meetings. It also helps ensure tasks and assignments are properly surfaced. Using the attendee email addresses and meeting descriptions directly from Outlook Calendar, the app starts OneNote with the all the meeting details already inserted so the user can quickly start taking notes and pictures of whiteboards. The app connects to Planner so the user can quickly assign tasks, and also publish the meeting minutes (and resource links) to all meeting attendees in one click.

#2 – Connect Teams and Planner to Outlook to improve customer service calls

Create a PowerApp that simply transforms an Outlook email to a Planner event assigned to a Team user. For example, using a distribution email for customer service calls or a customer inbox, the PowerApp could systemically form and publish a task for the customer service team.

#3 – Build a sales lead app with Dynamics 365 and Outlook

With this PowerApp, sales people could open a simple app on their tablet or phone, use it to take a picture of an item a customer asked about and email or text it to the customer, while at the same time creating a sales-qualified lead in Dynamics 365. Click here to see that app in action and get started making your own sales enablement tool!

#4 – Craft a visitor badge and confidentiality agreement with Flow, Word, SharePoint and Outlook

For those organizations who need to authenticate visitors at sensitive locations, the front desk can cause bottlenecks and a poor visitor experience. Solve that by automating the process. Sculpt a PowerApp that walks a visitor through a self-serve registration. The process verifies the meeting appointment by email address, prompts for basic user information, takes a picture, requires digital authorization, and merges that information into a Word template. The merge document and badge are printed quickly, and digital versions are created and stored in a SharePoint library. The PowerApp even names and tags the digital documents so they can be retrieved as needed by search. Microsoft helpfully posts guidance on building the progressive registration form.

These five integrations may spark other ideas. In fact, such inspiration is the driving force behind PowerApps.

Think of processes that slow your business down or introduce delay or error and imagine how the vast capability of Office 365 could be extended.

The business advantage from PowerApps is they allow the people who really understand the business and who work at it every day to plumb productivity gains from applications already in place.

Advanced Business Systems Deserve Advanced Technical Skills

PowerApps can expose sensitive data if not properly configured. Office 365 integrations to enterprise back-office applications such as Salesforce or Oracle EBS may require proficiency with application programming interfaces (APIs).

The right IT resource will empower business process innovation without compromising business system integrity.

Find out how Peters can help streamline common business processes with end-to-end collaboration solutions. Learn more about our collaboration tools such as our self-service HR site.