My wife and I enjoy cooking (eating mostly for me) and a recurring theme of any good telly chef’s repertoire is the idea that cooking up great dishes is easier that you think. Furthermore, it can often be done by raiding the cupboard for odds and sods rather than spending a fortune on expensive ingredients. Office 365 is a lot like this.
Over the last few years we have been working with clients who have complex processes, business or other IT challenges that need to be resolved and often the gut reaction is to go off and buy a shiny new bit of enterprise SaaS kit (or similar) to sort it out.
The reality is that most organisations have already made a significant investment in Office 365 which is jam packed with tools that solve almost any problem you have…IF you know how to use it.
Here at Ntegra we have created dozens of custom apps for our clients by raiding their respective Office 365 cupboards and in true Jamie Oliver style, the response has been ‘Pukka’.
Office 365 has new and powerful tools and they are improving all of the time. Here are our go to apps that can be used to create some powerful applications and some examples of the tools we have built with them:
Stick with me on this one…We know historically SharePoint has had low street cred, and historically you’d be right. Skoda wasn’t always considered a good car, but they made a real effort in the right places to improve. SharePoint is the same and what’s more, it’s here to stay and fundamental part of the Office suite, powering elements like Groups and Teams. Microsoft themselves have started to position SharePoint as the content services layer/content management system opening new avenues for use.
The fundamental change is that over the last few years the development framework within SharePoint has been significantly improved and offers the ability to develop using all modern techniques.
This enables applications to be built that ‘don’t look like SharePoint’ and provide a slick and engaging experience to users like any modern website or tool. This hasn’t been widely accessible before.
Flow is Microsoft’s workflow and automation tool and can be used to streamline business processes. A theme with Microsoft tools is that they typically launched with some functions but not enough to replace other heavyweight workflow apps which are then built on over time. Flow has been no different, however over the last year or so more and more features have been added to enable huge flexibility in process automation. So much so that some of our customers have moved away from 3rd party workflow tools like Nintex and use flow instead for custom application automation.
Azure is Microsoft’s answer to AWS. It provides lots of the same capabilities as AWS and other cloud hosting suppliers, but there are 2 key features I’d like to call out:
These are incredibly useful for automating processes, executing bulk tasks and supporting maintenance in a flexible way, which is really a real key part of any business application
PowerApps is powered by Azure, and means that users can create apps for iOS, Android and Windows (of course) and offers native integration to a variety of Microsoft-based and third-party applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint and OneDrive in the Office 365 productivity suite, as well as Dropbox, Google Docs, SAP, Oracle, Dynamics CRM and REST API.
The benefit of PowerApps is that it has been designed to enable non-technical users the ability to build mobile apps and capabilities without the need to write code. Yes, this is genuinely the case, however it does still need some logical technical knowledge to use and the average support team can generally manage this and it’s improving all the time.
PowerBi is a collection of software services, connectors and apps that ultimately enables data to be visualised and shared, providing a true reporting suite. Regardless of source data type and location, PowerBI enables you to connect your data and create rich and engaging output quickly.
At Ntegra we have used these tools in various combinations to create some great apps for our customers and saved a fortune on expensive SaaS licenses for bespoke products.
Here is a selection of just a few:
For over 40k employees globally, an intranet built using the Material UI framework (Google Design) with features such as personalisation (over 31 BILLION personalisation options to tailor content), language translation, news, case studies, company policies and more
Global Tax Accounting Administration Tool
We created an app that tracks, manages and supports the administration of global statutory and tax accounts for a client that operates in over 80 countries. The tool issues automatic requests for accounts included the standardised capture of responses. This includes a global reporting dashboard that shows details around the company finances, it also provides tracking reports to support the team capture markets/teams who are not compliant in a variety of areas
Commercial Contract Management
We created an app that enabled local markets to track and manage commercial contracts with their customers. This included all the appropriate data and evidence around the deals as well as tracking the supply of services agreed in the throughout the lifespan of the contract.
Opportunity Management Platform
We built out a tool to support a client’s proprietary approach to build a holistic view of existing sponsorship deals and new partnership opportunities enabling the team to make the right recommendation to their clients. This included a deep assessment of 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.
Office 365 really is what you make of it. All the ingredients are there to rustle up anything from a picnic to a banquet. All you need is the recipe.
Get in touch to see how Ntegra can help you fully capitalise on your O365 enterprise license.