I went to work every day prepared to die in a tiger cage…

…my cage, however, is that my organization invests into systems that support the student life cycle. Systems which support staff are very often de-prioritized, lost in the enterprise queue.

Today I would like to present my contribution to “Better Together” and how the Power Platform / Dynamics products work better together.

#BetterTogether using Power Apps & Power Automate

Joe Exotic (it’s possible)

Every three years, to start the big push towards physical inventory, the asset management office reaches out to the managers and directors with the main goal of identifying whom has been delegated the responsibility of conducting the physical inventory. The delegated persons will then be sent targeted instruction and information to fulfill the procedure according to policy.

Power Apps

The managers and directors will use Power Apps to interact with connections to SharePoint and Office 365 Users.

Power Automate

A recurring trigger will get the SharePoint items and convert to a CSV file to be uploaded into an AD group using a PowerShell script.

SharePoint List

I chose to use a SharePoint List because unfortunately there is no database view that has the information I need; it is in the queue.

SharePoint List Columns
A simple SharePoint List to store the data

I did get fancy by adding a calculated column which I use to extract the samaccountname for AD.

SharePoint Calculated Column
Using a calculated column within a SharePoint List

I created a view that I use later in Power Automate.

SharePoint List View
A customized SharePoint View

Power Apps

The welcome screen for the manager or director. In OnStart, I set a variable ‘_curUser’ which allows me to display a filtered gallery.

App > OnStart > Set(_curUser,User().Email);
GalleryDept > Items > Sort(Filter(PropertyCoordinatorMaintenance,ManagerEmail = _curUser || DelegatedEmail = _curUser),DeptID,Ascending))
Power App welcome screen
The Power App Welcome screen

Selecting Gallery Items

Most of the managers and directors have very few departments however, some have near a dozen. All departments need to be assigned a Property Coordinator. I decided to allow single selection, by clicking a gallery item or multi-selecting gallery items via a checkbox. Either way the item(s) are added to a Collection.

Checkbox code in Power Apps
Multi-select Gallery Items
GalleryDept > checkbox_Dept > OnCheck > 
			LookUp(CheckedItems, coll_DeptID = ThisItem.DeptID)
CheckedItems Collection
CheckedItems Collection

Assigning a Property Coordinator

Depending on the previously collected items, the manager or director can then select a person who they would like to assign the physical inventory task.

Employee Selection Screen
Overlay to assign the Property Coordinator

Using a simple text input box I can filter Office 365 Users.

GalleryEmployee > Items > Filter(Office365Users.SearchUserV2({searchTerm:textInput_Employee.Text,top:50}).value,!IsBlank(Department))

The !IsBlank( ) was added to filter the users results even more as I am only interested in staff and faculty; students do not have departments.

Gallery to search Office 365 Users
Filtered search of Office 365 Users

A selected item gets added to the ‘SelectedEmployee’ Collection.

GalleryEmployee > OnSelect > ClearCollect(SelectedEmployee,{coll_emplName:DisplayName,coll_emplEmail:UserPrincipalName})
Visual confirmation of assignment
Visual confirmation of selected employee to be assigned
Welcome screen visual confirmation of assignment
Visual confirmation of assignment

Power Automate

A recurring schedule runs a Power Automate flow to create a CSV file for import into AD. The detail file is also created at the same time only to provide a quick glimpse of the transactions.

Power Automate flow diagram
Overview diagram of the Power Automate flow

Get Items from SharePoint

I add Filter Query, Order By, and Limit Columns by View criteria to the ‘Get Items from SharePoint’ step.

Get Items from SharePoint detail
Get Items from SharePoint expanded

Using the applied step from above, I create CSV tables with selected columns.

Create CSV tables
Create CSV tables

Lastly, create SharePoint files for consumption.

Create SharePoint Files
Create SharePoint Files


How is this #BetterTogether? Three years ago I was using Power Query, Word (mail-merge), Google Forms, and Google Sheets. As you can imagine, a lot of managers and directors asked, “Is this a phishing scam?”. Now we have an integrated and dynamic experience for the user.

Where is Power BI?

This idea was only approved yesterday (04/20/2020) by our accessibility office so I didn’t want to create a Power BI report without knowing if my datasource would even be used. As a Super User in the Power BI Community, it will not take much to get Power BI connected to a SharePoint List and then create a couple of measures for this dataset. There is the other issue, I am one of the few that has a Pro license so embedding into the Power App itself does not do much good.

Where is Teams?

The app is actually in the Teams General Channel. There is a small issue in that I cannot add the Teams O365 group to the app which would give share permissions to the members. I have submitted a ticket to have our tech support to take a look. I also have created a couple of Power Automate flows to ‘Post Message to Channel’ and ‘Post Message to User’ as the flow bot using a SharePoint trigger.

I am excited to see how other folks are doing #BetterTogether!

Chris Mendoza

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