As any good TV chef can tell you, cooking up a great dish is significantly easier than you might think. Raiding the cupboard for what you have, is often much more cost-effective (and simpler) than spending a fortune on expensive, gourmet ingredients. Microsoft Office 365 (O365) is not too different.
In our experience, when confronted by complex process, business, and IT challenges, many organisations follow their gut reaction and buy a shiny new bit of enterprise or SaaS kit. Of course, this isn’t always the best choice. IDC predict that £1.6 trillion will be spent on business transformation efforts by 2022 but McKinsey say that 70% of these will fail. If this comes to pass, then £1.1 trillion will be spent on tech that fails to deliver sufficient ROI.
This is where O365 comes in. While many organisations have already poured significant investment into this familiar software, what they don’t know is that it’s stuffed to the gills with the tools to solve almost any problem they might experience. So, we’re here to share the recipe for maximising your investment.
Here at Ntegra we have created countless custom apps for our clients by raiding their respective O365 cupboards. Take a look at our list of essential tools for building powerful applications, and several key examples of solutions we have created:
Wait! Come back! So, we know that SharePoint has historically suffered from a litany of problems, and previously you would be right. However, Skoda wasn’t always considered a good car, but they made a concerted effort to address their weaknesses and now look at them.
SharePoint’s own journey has not been dissimilar, and it’s here to stay. The app is now a fundamental part of the Office suite, powering essential elements like Groups and Teams. Microsoft has even positioned SharePoint as the content services layer/content management system of the suite.
The fundamental upgrade for SharePoint can be found in its development framework, which has been significantly improved to cater to modern development techniques. Most importantly, these updates now allow you to build apps that ‘don’t look like SharePoint’, providing your organisation’s new app with a slick and engaging user experience.
Microsoft’s workflow and automation tool, Flow can be used to optimise and streamline business processes with digital and robotic process automation. However, one theme within Microsoft tools is that they typically launch with strong functionality options but not enough to replace other heavyweight workflow apps. Flow has been no different.
Except, over the last several years a catalogue of features has been added, enabling huge flexibility in process automation. So much so, in fact, that some of our customers have moved away from 3rd party workflow tools like Nintex entirely. Instead, they prefer to exclusively use Flow for custom application automation.
For those who are unaware, Azure is Microsoft’s answer to AWS. The service provides much of the same capability as AWS and other cloud hosting suppliers, but there are two key features I’d like to call out:
Both of these Azure functions are incredibly useful for automating processes, executing bulk tasks, and supporting maintenance in a flexible way. Leave the rote, repetitive tasks to the machines, and set your teams’ productivity free.
PowerApps, another tool fuelled by Azure, allows developers to create apps for iOS, Android, and Windows (of course) and offers native integration to a variety of Microsoft-based and third-party applications. These include, but are not limited to, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint and OneDrive in the Office 365 productivity suite, as well as external Dropbox, Google Docs, SAP, Oracle, Dynamics CRM and REST APIs.
The real benefit of PowerApps is that it has been designed to enable non-technical users to develop mobile apps and capabilities without the need to write code. Yes, this is genuinely the case. While PowerApps does require a degree of logical technical knowledge to use, the average support team will have the capability to manage this ever-improving tool.
As a reporting suite, PowerBi is a collection of software services, connectors and apps, all of which allows data to be visualised and shared, regardless of source, type or location. PowerBI enables any organisation to rapidly connect and analyse its data, further powering a rich and engaging output.
“While many organisations have already poured significant investment into Office 365, what they don’t know is that it’s stuffed to the gills with the tools to solve almost any problem they might experience”
At Ntegra we have used all of these tools, and more, in numerous, innovative combinations over the years. As a result, we have created some truly remarkable apps for our customers, saving them a fortune on expensive SaaS licenses for bespoke products. Here are a few of our favourites:
Using the Material UI framework (Google Design), we created a global intranet for over 40,000 employees. Personalisation was a key concern and we were able to implement language translation, news, case studies, company policies, and more, in over 31 BILLION personalisation options.
Global Tax Accounting Administration Tool
Finance always answers to strict compliance measures. We understand this, which is why we built a global tax accounting app that tracks, manages and supports the administration of global statutory and tax accounts for a client that operates in over 80 countries.
This Global Tax Accounting Administration tool issues automatic requests for accounts and standardised the capture of responses. The tool also includes a global reporting dashboard that provides a comprehensive view of company finances, provides tracking reports to aid teams in their capture of new markets, and assists with compliance responsibilities.
Commercial Contract Management
This commercial contract management app enabled local markets to track and manage commercial contracts with customers. The app also included all the appropriate data and evidence surrounding these deals, as well as tracking the supply of services agreed throughout the lifespan of the contract.
Opportunity Management Platform
This opportunity management platform was developed to support our client’s proprietary approach to building a holistic view of existing sponsorship deals and new partnership opportunities. This included a deep assessment of possible opportunities in key business categories, the output of which is displayed via interactive PowerBI dashboards that are easy to consume and actionable by the accounts team. Ultimately, this enabled their teams to make the correct recommendations to their clients.
Microsoft Office 365 really is what you make of it. Whether you’re looking for a simple way to display information, encourage your teams to communicate, or radically alter your analytical and productive output. All the ingredients are in your O365 cupboard; you just need the recipe to bring the dish to life.
Get in touch to see how Ntegra can help you fully capitalise on your Office 365 enterprise license, no matter your business needs.