News From the Factory: August 20 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

The summer hasn't slowed things down for us.  We've been busy with customer service automation and automating SharePoint site creation and permissioning.

Our Co-Founder's Rem and Sean are on LinkedIn and would like to connect with you.

If you don't want to miss any of our updates, click here to sign-up for our newsletter today.


Format your PowerApps formulas

This will help make those long formulas much easier to read.


This Free Online MS Teams course had been Refreshed

Learn about how to enable teamwork in your organization using MS Teams.


A video walk-through of using Bing Image search in PowerApps using Flow

Expand the publishers notes for Flow and PowerApps files


Did you miss the Business Applications Summit? Here's a listing of some great sessions, with video

Share this one with your team


Quit living in your inbox

This may help as a way of convincing users to start using SharePoint instead of Outlook for collaboration.


The Ignite session catalog is online

We'll see you there!


The MS Flow preview program is online

Get early access to upcoming functionality and prep your production Flows for updates.


Free PowerApps training material

Free and Delivered directly into your Inbox. (Did we mention it's free)


Here's a great MS Forms feature

Another way to easily share your Microsoft Forms with respondents - you can use stock functionality to generate QR Codes


Add progress indicators to your #PowerApps

If you haven't got a usable app, what have your really got?


Create a SharePoint Subsite from #MicrosoftFlow

Bookmark this one - it's a great addition to your SharePoint automation toolkit.


Protect your corporate data in #MicrosoftFlow using these great tips

The tools are available, start using them


Intelligent communication with Microsoft Teams

Here's how Teams fits into the modern workplace (and with it's siblings in Microsoft's collaboration stack)


You can also follow Fidelity Factory on LinkedIn, so you won't miss any of our updates.

News From the Factory: Jul 30 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

We were at the Business Applications Summit in Seattle last week. What a ton of great content, people and announcements. Here is a great recap from the PowerApps team.

Our Co-Founder's Rem and Sean are on LinkedIn and would like to connect with you.

If you don't want to miss any of our updates, click here to sign-up for our newsletter today.


Document Management vs. Content Management Explained

This gives you a quick rundown of these similar, but different types of storage and retrieval systems.


MS Teams Live Events are in Public Preview

You could run your next Town Hall meeting via teams.


Carlsberg is using Microsoft AI solutions

The worlds 4th largest brewing company is aiming to get new varieties of beer to consumers in less time.


Jumpstart your SharePoint / Flow integration

A great post from the Melissa Hubbard at AvePoint on how Flow and SharePoint integrate.


From the Business Applications Summit

MS Flow add-in for Excel announced


Flow Features Announcement

Business Process Flows, Office App Add-ons and more...


Connect modern SharePoint lists to MS Flow

This great article by Wonder Laura shows you how you can connect SharePoint data to your business processes.


MS Flow: Advanced Patterns and Practices lab available for download

Free training for your Flow team with this great resource.


Start planning your upgrade - SharePoint 2019 Public Preview is available

Here's a list of what you'll find in the new release (and what you won't too)


PowerApps preview program - be the first to know

With releases shipping every few weeks, this could be a good way for your team to stay ahead of the curve.


Improve the performance of PowerApps by republishing them

Read on to learn more about how you can improve the experience of your users in PowerApps.


Updated MS Flow licensing diagram

This may help with some of the Flow licensing questions you have.


You can also follow Fidelity Factory on LinkedIn, so you won't miss any of our updates.

News From the Factory: Jul 12 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

We're currently working with customers on automations that create and email reports and continue to see interest in field data capture.  We've also been working on solutions that automate the movement of line of business data.

Our Co-Founder's Rem and Sean are on LinkedIn and would like to connect with you.

If you don't want to miss any of our updates, click here to sign-up for our newsletter today.


Find Availability and Book Meetings in Your PowerApp

This video from the PowerApps team shows you how to do some serious scheduling from within your PowerApp.


SharePoint Pages a Bit Laggy? Check out this New Tool

Just released - the Page Diagnostics Tool. You can use it to find out why your classic SharePoint pages aren't performing like you'd expect.


G & J Pepsi Cola Bottlers are Using PowerApps

They are using Microsoft PowerApps, Flow and PowerBI to automate store audit and merchandising processes.


July MS Teams Teams Update

Now you can archive a Team and restore it later (if you need to), among other great new features.


Transferring Excel Skills into PowerApps

Here is a guide to leveraging what you have learned about Excel into PowerApps.


Get started with SharePoint site remote provisioning

Site Templates may no longer be the best way to repeatedly create sites with common features. This blog by Russ Maxwell (MSFT) will help you get started.


Infographic: SharePoint Document Libraries 101

The good folks at AvePoint have created this infographic that covers the important things that everyone needs to know about Document Libraries.


Video: 14 PowerApps Hacks

Audrie Gordon from Microsoft drops some great tips for us PowerApps peeps. (The rounded photos definitely look better)


New PowerApps Feature: App Checker

Build better PowerApps quicker. Now you can get more details on your errors and accessibility issues.


You can show your support for Project Andromeda (Surface Phone)

Its been rumored that this device may not go froward. Here are details on a petition you can sign to show yuor support.


Automate the creation of PDFs

Improve your business processes by using Microsoft Flow and SharePoint to automatically create PDF versions of a document.


How executives can lead the way in SharePoint and o365 adoption

We couldn't agree more. Critical from vision through to deployment.


Load your PowerApps Quicker

The new Concurrent function will allow your users to get working with shorter loading times.


Build Better PowerApps

Definitely one for the developers. Follow the tips in this post from the PowerApps team to create more maintainable (and performant) PowerApps.


You can also follow Fidelity Factory on LinkedIn, so you won't miss any of our updates.

News From the Factory: Jun 28 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

We delivered an App in a Day session in Calgary last week.  Thanks to all who attended and to Microsoft for hosting the event.

Since our last post, we've been working with customers on PowerApps to uplift legacy forms as well as to streamline field processes.  We've also been using Flow to better integrate our clients data and processes.

We'd love to hear some feedback on our newsletter, about your projects or to connect with you. 

Hit up either Rem or Sean on LinkedIn - we'd like to stay connected with you.



How Teams Measures Up

Here's a look at how Teams measures up when compared with its rivals.


Cerner is Using Teams to Improve Their Collaboration

See how Cerner (a Health Care Technology Provider) is using Teams to keep their people connected.


Setup a Flic Button with Flow

Here's a quick tutorial from Sandro on how to setup a Flic button to trigger a Flow.


The Matrix of Skype vs. Teams Functionality

In case you were wondering how the feature sets of these products line up, here's a look.


Using Environments

This will affect many aspects of your Flow deployment including governance, security and administration. Recommended reading!


Video: Embed PowerApps in PowerBI

A quick video tutorial on how to embed your PowerApps in PowerBI.


Overview of Teams and Channels in Microsoft Teams

Ever wonder when you should be using a Channel vs. Team? This will help you.


How to Improve Business Processes with Office 365

This will help you understand where to use tools like MS Forms, Teams, SharePoint and Flow in your solutions.


MS Teams for Android - share a video while on a call

Now you can connect, face to face with your team. 3-2-1 GO!


Understand PowerApps Delegation

Want to build performant PowerApps that process large volumes of data? Read on my friend. Read on...


Pass a Parameter into a PowerApp via URL

There is no lack of integration options for PowerApps. Here's another great option for integrating PowerApps forms into your business processes.


Improve SharePoint User Adoption

Is your SharePoint adoption lagging? SharePoint Steve has created this guide that should improve a few things for you.


Validate Calls to the MS Flow HTTP Request Trigger

The Highly Versatile and Very Useful HTTP Request Trigger

Our team has found the Microsoft Flow Trigger 'When a HTTP Request is Received' to be an extremely useful addition to our toolbox.

We've used it in cases where:

  • We would like one Flow to call another
  • We would like to return JSON or other data to a script hosted in a page
  • We would like to return markup generated from other systems to be embedded in a page
  • Please, let us know about the cool stuff you've done with this trigger in Flow in the comments below.

In some of the solutions we've created within SharePoint, this Trigger has unlocked new patterns in our CSOM / REST based solutions that weren't possible before. 

 When a HTTP Request is Received {"do" : "awesome stuff"}

When a HTTP Request is Received {"do" : "awesome stuff"}

Heads Up

This awesome trigger is an Azure hosted endpoint that will kick-off an instance of your Flow. This is what makes this trigger so functional and beneficial to us in our solutions.

This also means that this endpoint could potentially be called by anyone with its address.

Here is an example of a URL that is generated by this trigger:

The endpoint created by this Trigger is very unique. I've bolded two of the URL parameters above that include long and varied strings of letters and numbers. The complexity of these make it more difficult for someone to find and use your endpoint.

Validating Requests

Below are a few considerations you'll want to take while using this trigger to initiate your Flow.


Given that it is possible for anyone to access this endpoint, make sure the simple questions have been answered:

  • Is corporate data at risk / exposed?
  • Should this actually be a secure call?
  • What would happen if someone from outside of our organization called this endpoint?

This completely non-technical step is probably the most important one that you'll take. 

Flow Options

Here we will present a couple of simple options you can use with Flow to mitigate the risk of unwanted use of your service.

1 - Create Your Own Secure Token

This quick and easy addition to your Flow requires that callers provide a token when they call your Flow endpoint.

 Check that the caller is providing you with a secure guid / key before continuing your Flow.

Check that the caller is providing you with a secure guid / key before continuing your Flow.

You can validate the requests received by your Flow from calling applications by requiring them to provide you with a key.

Here is a description of our pattern:

  • Trigger: When an HTTP Request is Received
    • Use the relativePath Trigger Property to specify the URL Parameter AccessGuid
    • This changes how callers will use your Flow. The URL for the trigger will now contain the slug /{AccessGuid}/
  • Condition: Evaluate the AccessGuid
    • Compare the value of the AccessGuid Parameter with the value embedded in Flow
  • Action: Control Terminate
    • Stop the Flow if the AccessGuid url does not match the embedded Guid using the Control Terminate Action

2 - Check the Header

You can use the Data Operations - Parse action to parse the Header information received by the When a HTTP Request is Received Action is called.

 Parse the Request's Header information to check the Request's origin information.

Parse the Request's Header information to check the Request's origin information.

In the example above, we use another combination of Conditions and the Control Terminate method to validate that the Request's Header information meets our requirements.

  • Action: Data Operations Parse JSON
    • Parse the Headers value of the Request
      • Open one of the Flow runs and copy the JSON generated in the Headers property.
      • In Edit Mode, add the Parse JSON task, and click the Use sample payload to generate schema link on this Action.
      • All you need to do next is paste in the value you copied in the previous task
    • If you aren't familiar with this Action, this blog post by Serge Luca contains an example of its usage.
  • Condition: Is the Referrer empty
    • We use a formula to evaluate whether or not the referrer is empty: @empty(body('Parse_JSON')?['Referer'])
    • Terminate the Flow if the condition fails
  • Condition: Does the Referrer Match our Domain
    • We use another formula to check and see if the Referrer is our o365 domain (we are planning to call the endpoint from SharePoint Online)
    • indexOf(toLower(body('Parse_JSON')?['Referer']), '')

    • Terminate the Flow if the condition fails

Logic Apps

You can step up the options available to you for securing an endpoint if you were to use a Logic Apps Trigger rather than the Flow Trigger we've been discussing in this article - here is a post on this topic from the Logic Apps Team

Although not Flow, it does provide you with other options for automation with a secure HTTP endpoint.

Thank You

Hopefully you find this post helpful.  We'd be interested in hearing about how you're using this endpoint or other methods you have used to validate the requests recevied by this trigger.

Combine MS Flow with SharePoint for More Powerful Web Parts

Modern SharePoint Pages were introduced in 2016.  These pages allow you to quickly author pages that support different types of content that can be added using web parts.

The list of available web parts is growing and by the sounds of it, improvements and new web parts are on their way.  Here is more news on this from the SharePoint Conference 2018.

One of the gaps we've found (apparently, we aren't the only ones) is that there is no equivalent to the Content Editor Web Part (CEWP) or Script Editor web part for Modern SharePoint pages. There are a couple of other options for filling this gap:


If  you prefer learning via videos, here is a YouTube demonstration of how we built this solution.

A MS Flow Solution to the CEWP Gap in Modern Pages

You can use a combination of the Modern Embed Web Part and MS Flow to create web parts that expose information from across your organization quickly and easily. 

The Business Case

SharePoint provides a great way of visually connecting people with information.  Using SharePoint's features you can improve collaboration and enable business users.  

In many of our solutions, we rollup or otherwise display business information from within SharePoint or other systems using APIs. 

In this Case

We want to provide a custom listing of Active Projects in our Planning department, so that users can quickly jump into the subsite created for this project.

Solution Outline

In this solution, we will create a Flow that returns HTML content to be rendered in SharePoint using the Modern Embed web part.

Here is a more detailed description of the solution:

  • Create a Flow that is initiated by an HTTP Request
  • Use MS Flow to connect to our list of Planning Projects in SharePoint
  • Use Flow to Transform part of the the data returned from the SharePoint list so that it can be returned as HTML
  • Provide the Flow's caller with an HTML HTTP Response
  • Use a Modern SharePoint Embed webpart to make the call to Flow each time the page is loaded and present the markup that is returned to the end user.

1 - Get Started with MS Flow

If you haven't already done this, you're missing out. You'll be impressed by how intuitive this tool is and by how quickly you can build very useful solutions with this product. Login Here

We also recommend the Microsoft Flow guided learning site.

2 - Create a Flow using the HTTP Request Trigger

 When an HTTP Request is receipt by this trigger, you can kick off a new instance of your Flow.

When an HTTP Request is receipt by this trigger, you can kick off a new instance of your Flow.

Start out with an HTTP Request Trigger - This means that your Flow will run whenever this endpoint is called.

 The extremely useful and versatile HTTP Request Trigger. 

The extremely useful and versatile HTTP Request Trigger. 

IMPORTANT: After you save your Flow the HTTP GET URL is generated.  You will need this later!

3 - Connect to a SharePoint List (or just about anything else)

There are a multitude of connections you can make with Flow.  I suggest you have a look for yourself on the Flow page of Connectors.

In this example, I'm using Flow to hook up to SharePoint, but there are over 200 types of connections you can make with Flow.

  Connect with Flow   Flow offers a up a ton of connectors from cloud and on-premises apps.  Yes - you can connect to on premises data using the on-premises data gateway.

Connect with Flow

Flow offers a up a ton of connectors from cloud and on-premises apps.  Yes - you can connect to on premises data using the on-premises data gateway.

Okay, back to our steps.  We're going to add a connection to SharePoint to our Flow.

Add Action: Send an HTTP Request to SharePoint

 The Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action

The Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action

You could also do this with the SharePoint - Get Items action.  However, in this example, I've used the Send an HTTP Request to SharePoint action.  You can see that this is a basic REST API call to get items. I'm querying our Projects list to get items.

4 - Prep Your Data

Here are a couple of steps I've taken to prep the data returned from SharePoint so that it can be returned by the Flow as HTML.

Add Action: Data Operations - Parse JSON

 Action: Data Operations Parse JSON

Action: Data Operations Parse JSON

Add the Data Operations - Parse JSON action. 

Important: You'll want to run the Flow once yourself and get the response from your SharePoint action and click on the Use sample payload to generate schema link.

Add Action: Data Operations Select

 Data Operations - Select

Data Operations - Select

Add this action beneath the Parse JSON action.  The Data Operations Select action allows you to select and transform specific elements from a collection to create a new collection.  Here is the more specific detail from Microsoft.

You should be able to select the value element from the previous step.  You can see that I've created a bit of HTML for each item that has been returned from the list of Projects. 

IMPORTANT: Click on the small icon on the far right side of the screen to map a simple JSON string instead of the default key value pairing. 
Also - You'll need to add double quotes around your HTML string or you will receive the error 'Enter a valid JSON'.

Add Action: Data Operations Join

Data Operations Join

The join action allows you to take multiple items from a collection and combine them into a string.  In this case, we are joining the HTML strings from the previous step into a single string - separating each with a <br>.  Here's more on the Data Operations Join action. 

5 - Create an HTTP Response

In this step, we'll create a response for the request that triggered our Flow to begin with.

Add Action: Request Response

 Send back HTML with the Request - Response action

Send back HTML with the Request - Response action

Our response includes CSS, HTML and the output from our Join action in the previous step.

6 - Connect to MS Flow with the SharePoint Embed Web Part

This is the last step.  All we need to do now is add a Modern Embed web part to the page and use iFrame markup that points at our Flow endpoint.

 You may have thought you'd done some cool stuff with the The Embed Web Part before, but this is probably way better than whatever that was.&nbsp; :)

You may have thought you'd done some cool stuff with the The Embed Web Part before, but this is probably way better than whatever that was.  :)

Add Modern Web Part: Embed

Okay, this is the easy part.

  • In a modern SharePoint page, add an Embed web part
  • In the Website Address or Embed Code, add iframe HTML to connect to your Flow endpoint.
    • <iframe width="100%" height="400px" src="[From Step 2]"></iframe>
  • From Step 2 in this blog, you'll find instructions on getting the endpoint for your Flow HTTP Trigger.
IMPORTANT: I recommend taking some steps to secure this endpoint so that it confirms the referrer domain and / or add a token in the secure client app that is calling your Flow.  You can add logic to confirm this in your Flow and handle these requests accordingly.


In completing the last step, you should be able to see the Embed Web Part connecting to your MS Flow endpoint and rendering the HTML response on the page.

Hopefully you find some use in this pattern!  We think it may be a quick and easy way of exposing data from across your organization in SharePoint without custom code, third party web parts or a lot of effort.

Please post questions or comments below, we'd like to hear from you!


News From the Factory: Jun 11 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

Our team was in Toronto last week running an App in a Day training session at the MTC @ downtown.  Aside from that, we're working with PowerApps and to address a few interesting end to end processes and working on some more traditional SharePoint solutions.

We'd love to hear some feedback on our newsletter, about your projects or to connect with you. 

You can use the button on the left or hit up either Rem or Sean on LinkedIn.




Fidelity Factory Teaming with Microsoft to Deliver App in a Day Sessions

We're excited to be delivering these sessions with Microsoft in Calgary and Toronto.  Use the button below to register for App in a Day Training in a city near you. (Microsoft)


Flow of the Week: Approval Reminders using Parallel Branches

Remind. Everyone. (Microsoft)


Add Intelligence, Automation and AI to your SharePoint Content

Here are some great updates on the availability of great new features for SharePoint (Microsoft)


Middleware Friday: Infobip and MS Flow bring you SMS Triggers

How cool is this. (Integration User Group)


PowerApps Webinar Listing

Learn something new today. (Microsoft)


Change the Colors of Modern SharePoint Sites

Modern SharePoint Essentials. (PixelMill)


PowerShell Cmdlets for Flow and PowerApps

These will make your life easier. (Microsoft)


Video: Automatic Transcription and Recordings in Teams

Yet another great addition to Microsoft Teams. (YouTube)


Blog: Flow for SharePoint Designer Workflows

Out with the old, in with the rad. (Microsoft)

SharePoint and OneDrive Security

Video: Build a Flow with Custom Forms and Approvals

Straight up from John L. (Microsoft)


News From the Factory: May 23 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

Our team has been busy working on Light Duty Project Management, Communications Portals and data capture in MS Forms for our clients.

We'd love to hear some feedback on our newsletter, about your projects or to connect with you. 

You can use the button on the left or hit up either Rem or Sean on LinkedIn.

Training Opportunity: Register Today

We are happy to be working with Microsoft to deliver App in a Day sessions in Toronto (June 5) and Calgary (June 18).  You can register for these sessions below. 




Fidelity Factory Teaming with Microsoft to Deliver App in a Day Sessions

We're excited to be delivering these sessions with Microsoft in Calgary and Toronto.  Use the button below to register for App in a Day Training in a city near you. (Microsoft)

SP Conf 2018 Announcements.PNG

Rundown: SharePoint Features Announced at #SPC18

Naturally, the big SharePoint conference comes with big announcements. (CMS Wire)

Surface Tablet.png

Is a $400 Surface Tablet Coming?

"Microsoft is working on a new line of budget Surface tablets to better compete with Apple’s low-cost iPad optionsaccording to a report from Bloomberg." (TheVerge)

PowerApps File Upload to Blob

PowerApps Feature Alert: Upload Files to Blob Storage

Capture files in PowerApps and send them to Blob storage. (Microsoft)

The Surface Hub 2 is Coming

The Surface Hub 2 Announced

You'd best submit that PO for approval now. (Microsoft)

Search for Words in your Images using o365.png

Search for Text in Images Using o365

New o365 search capabilities making this possible. (Microsoft)


MS Business Applications Summit

July 22 - 24 in Seattle - Connect people, products and ideas. (Microsoft)

ECM in under 3 minutes.png

Video: ECM In Under 3 Minutes, How to Conduct a Content Audit

Valuable content for the ECM crowd. (YouTube)

SharePoint and OneDrive News

Windows 10 Timeline View

Quickly look back at all the apps you've used and when you've used them. (PCWorld)

SharePoint and OneDrive Security

New Security and Compliance Resource for SharePoint and OneDrive Available

Keep your content secure people. (Microsoft)


News From the Factory: May 10 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

Things have been busy!   The general interest in Flow and PowerApps hasn't slowed down.  We're seeing interest in Escalating Approval Processes, Light Duty Project Management and Collaboration Solutions.

We'd love to hear some feedback on our newsletter, about your projects or to connect with you. 

You can use the button on the left or hit up either Rem or Sean on LinkedIn.


Industry News

PowerApps and Flow.PNG

Blog: Governing and Managing Flow, o365 Groups and PowerApps

Helpful Tips, Tricks and Tools

Excel Power Bi and JS.png

JavaScript and Power BI Visualizations are Coming to Excel

Microsoft announced support for these features this week. (Techcrunch)

Your Phone.png

Your Phone App for Windows to Support iOS and Android

Access your iOS and Android features from your Windows PC. (TheVerge)


MS Teams at Microsoft

How Microsoft addressed the needs of their modern workplace with their Teams product. (Microsoft)

Step By Step Instructions for Setting up the Help Desk PowerApp

The Help Desk PowerApp Sample is Ready

Here are your step-by-step installation instructions. (Microsoft)

Download The Teams Customer Success Kit

Get the MS Teams Customer Success Kit

Guides, Templates, Flyers, Posters and More... (Microsoft)

Flow Upload Files and More.png

An Excellent Flow Walkthrough

Upload images and return data tables in PowerApps using Flow. (Microsoft)

SharePoint Update - Spring 2018

From the Product Team: SharePoint Update

Find out what the SharePoint Team has recently completed and what they'll be working on next. (Microsoft)

SharePoint and OneDrive News

Limited Access Policies in OneDrive and SharePoint Available Now

Stop users from accessing your site using unauthorized devices.  Now generally available. (Microsoft)

Say No to InfoPath

PowerApps is your Way Forward from InfoPath

Follow this article for great instructions on how to replace your InfoPath forms with PowerApps. (Microsoft)


New Tools, New Governance: Office 365 Groups, Flow and PowerApps


Microsoft has released great tools and services available through Office 365: MS Teams, PowerApps, Flow to name a few.

Turning these services on will provide huge benefits to your business.  As with all great technology, don't forget to manage it properly. 

We hope this post will help you on your way to effectively govern and manage these tools for your organization.

PowerApps and Flow

Powerful Tools

PowerApps and Flow are a great combination for routing information to the right person(s) or place at the right time on any platform or device.  We have seen significant adoption and interest from our clients.  We expect this to continue as these products continue to mature and develop.

 PowerApps and Flow

PowerApps and Flow


These tools offer the ability to quickly build and deploy high value solutions that will quickly put smiles of the faces of your users.  Along with this, a lot of mileage can be covered with these tools with little or no code and in a relatively short amount of time. 

These tools provide great benefit to many of the organizations we visit. Once activated, any licensed user can create a PowerApp or Flow. 

Environments: A Key Management and Governance Tool

Once these services are enabled, a default environment will be created on your tenant.  Each environment has two built in roles; Environment Admin and Environment Maker. 

Environment Admin: Anyone in the Environment Admin role has full rights to the environment including role assignments. 

Environment Maker: Users in the Environment Maker role can create PowerApps and Flows. 

IMPORTANT! By default, all users in the default environment are granted the Environment Maker role and it cannot be removed.

Mo' Software, Mo' Problems?

If you look at your organization, how many mission critical apps are in MS Excel or MS Access and were (maybe many years ago) created by an engineer or accountant? 

Now consider how much further these solutions could evolve using a tool like PowerApps and Flow - with the availability of hundreds of connectors?

Don't feel too bad though. Most organizations have experience with their users creating undocumented, ungoverned Excel Spreadsheets that drive mission critical processes.

Effective Management

Control with Tools

Manage with Environments

Several environments can also be created to control how PowerApps and Flows are deployed. 

Helpful Tip! You can create Production and Test environments, then turn the Default environment into a sandbox. 

Manage with Roles

You have full control of the Environment Maker role in the new environments and can add only the users you want to allow to create new Apps/Flows.  This however, does not limit who can create Apps and Flows in the Sandbox (Default) environment.   

Manage with PowerShell

The great folks at Microsoft have recently released PowerShell cmdlets for PowerApps and Flow (

You can create a script to list all apps in the Sandbox (Default) environment and delete them.  This would allow you to create a true Sandbox where anyone can create, but the environment will be regularly be swept clean.

A PowerApps connector for Flow is coming, this will make it easier to create a Flow to manage the Sandbox (Default) environment.

Office 365 Groups

Capabilites and Adoption

Office 365 Groups are available by default to all users. Office 365 services that use groups include Outlook, SharePoint, Yammer, MS Teams, StaffHub, Planner and PowerBI.

Why is this a concern?

When an Office 365 Group is created the following items are created for the group:

  • Shared calendar
  • SharePoint library
  • Shared OneNote Notebook
  • SharePoint Team Site
  • Planner

The footprint of an Office 365 Group and how it will be governed is something you should consider as soon as your users begin using Groups.


Each user in your organization can create up to 250 Groups and Office 365 administrators. have no limit on the number of Office 365 groups they can create. The maximum number of groups and organization can have is 500,000.

Without proper training and communication, its likely that your employees will create Office 365 groups without knowing it. A common mistake users make is clicking the New Group button in Outlook, mistaking this for a distribution group.

 The New Group button

The New Group button

Effective Management

Fortunately, there is a method for controlling who can create Office 365 Groups.

The process is outlined in this Microsoft support article:

Implementing the solution outlined above will benefit you with is better control of MS Teams, Planner and (in general) Office 365 Groups. 

This way, MS Teams can be active and everyone can participate in a Team, but limit the creation of a Team based on need and business value.  Each request for a Team should go through an approval process - applying light governance.

In Closing

We offer consulting services to help our clients solve these types of problems.  However, our hope is that articles like this will help you do this on your own. 

News From the Factory: April 25 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

Last week we had a chance to meet with some great folks from the MS Flow and PowerApps teams while they made a stop in Calgary.  We've highlighted some of the news and demos we saw with them during their visit.

We've been seeing interest in small scale PMO solutions, uplifting legacy forms and light business process automation. 

We'd love to hear some feedback on our newsletter, about your projects or to connect with you.  You can use the button on the left or find Rem and Sean on LinkedIn.



Hot Dog No Hot Dog MS Flow AI Demo

Video Tutorial: MS Flow + Cognitive Services

Kent Weare and Jon Levesque demonstrate the capabilities of MS Flow and Image Recognition via Custom Vision in this great video tutorial.

The Intrazone SharePoint Podcast

Listen Up: A New SharePoint Podcast from the Product Team

Released Bi-Weekly, you'll want to subscribe to this one.

Test Flow Feature Dropped

Feature Alert: "Test Flow" Button

Spend more time developing and test your flows quickly with this addition. Check out the latest release notes here.

Security and Compliance in MS Teams.png

Security and Compliance in Teams

An overview of Retention, Legal Holds, eDiscovery, Privacy and related features in Microsoft Teams.

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MS Flow Environments. 

If you aren't using these yet, you probably should be. 

SharePoint Lists in MS Teams

Embed SharePoint Lists in a MS Teams Tab

"A new ‘experience’ was added to Microsoft Teams which allows you to create a Teams Tab that surfaces a SharePoint list and it’s pretty nice."

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Step Up Your MS Flow Game

From the Product Team, here is a great learning resource for all skill levels. 

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Free Whitepaper: Modernizing ECM with MS Content Services

"How content is created, managed, and shared—and how users collaborate with that content—has gone through a drastic evolution from traditional enterprise content management (ECM) "

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OneNote App for Office to be Replaced by Windows 10 Version

"The OneNote 2016 app for Office 365 will be put on hold"


News From the Factory: April 11 2018

Book a Demo

We have a number of demo's prepared or would be interested in just catching up!

Our Update

We've seen a ongoing interest and project work in the areas of ECM, Reporting, Dashboards, Portal Development and Collaboration from our clients since our last update.

Technology wise, we are hearing a lot of questions about Teams and how it fits into the collaboration stack that is already deployed.  If you're struggling with this as well, use the button on the left to connect with us for a meeting to discuss this or other questions.



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Ignite 2018 in Orlando: Registration is Open

This is one of the best conferences for folks invested in Microsoft solutions. 

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Teams & Skype Admin Center is Rolling Out

This is still being rolled out, once available you'll have more control on how Teams can be deployed in your organization.

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SharePoint ECM 101: The Content Organizer

This extremely helpful feature makes it easier to make sure content is classified and stored in the right places.

15 GB Files in SharePoint

Now you can Host 15 GB Files in SharePoint Online

Slightly more than the old 50 MB limit.

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Step by Step Documentation Got you Down?

The Steps Recorder does a great job of documenting your steps with screenshots! Best of all, its free with Windows. 

Document Flow, PowerApps and SharePoint Solutions with ease.

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Free SharePoint Online Training Videos

The good folks at Microsoft have offered up these great training videos.

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Introducing Custom Site Designs for SharePoint

Now you can create lists, call MS Flow, set a theme and other cool stuff when a SharePoint site is provisioned. 

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Want to Build a Bot?

Well this is awesome.  Learn how to build a bot with this quick and easy tutorial.

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Why Modern SharePoint Matters

"Unlike guitars and whiskey, software doesn't improve with age."

This blog post by Bob German at Microsoft does a great job of breaking down the Modern SharePoint UI and why its important.


News From the Factory: March 27 2018

Our Update

MS Teams, PowerApps and SharePoint Forms.

The interest we have been seeing from our clients in Microsoft Teams hasn't stopped.  If you've been checking into it too, let us know if you have any questions. 

Since our last update, we've been busy delivering solutions using SharePoint, PowerApps and Flow.  Our clients have been investing in processes centered around the areas of tracking resource utilization, regulatory compliance, project management, marketing and communications.  

You Like?

This is new for us.  We decided to take our email newsletter and begin posting it online.  We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or email us here.


New Demos

We've got new demo content available for MS Teams, Flic buttons, PowerApps and SharePoint



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The Flic Hub is Here

No more need to link these amazing buttons to your phone.  Better get your wallet. 

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Keeping Up with MS Flow

The changes and updates come fast and furious for MS Flow. If you'd like to stay more up to date, here is a great post by Daniel Laskewitz (AKA o365 Dude) on how to stay up to date.

Differences between the new and classic experiences for lists and libraries

SharePoint Experiences: Modern vs. Classic

If you are looking for a little more insight into the differences between SharePoint's Classic and Modern experiences, here is a good place to start.

SharePoint Communication Sites

SharePoint Online Communication Sites

Wondering what these sites are and how you might use them in your organization?  Microsoft has released this helpful article. 

Content Management Updates in SharePoint

New ECM Features in SharePoint

If you're using SharePoint's ECM features, you won't want to miss this YouTube video from the Microsoft Mechanics on recent updates. 

Add Attachments to SharePoint Lists using PowerApps

PowerApps: Add Attachments to SharePoint Lists

This highly requested feature and is now available in PowerApps.  

CALSPUG Flow Meet Up

Microsoft Flow Team in Calgary April 19th

Kent Weare and John Levesque from Microsoft's Flow product team will be attending CalSPOUG.  There is limited seating available follow the link to register now. 


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Guest Access Coming to Teams

At long last...  

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2018 Edition: Nielsen Norman Group 10 Best Intranets

These guys definitely know their portals.  If you've got one, had one or need one, give this a read. 

Simple Steps to Avoid SharePoint Governance Failure

Simple Steps to Avoid SharePoint Governance Failure

Establish Commitment

If you're going to introduce governance to your portal, you must commit.  When considering the commitment required for your governance, consider the following:

  • Stakeholders from top down must be committed to the initiative
  • Establish a means of enforcing the polices, rules and standards
  • Establish the content affected and the users that will be expected to commit to the governance plan  

Establishing a high level of commitment is dependent on consensus.

Preparing for SharePoint Online Content Recovery


Understanding the backup and restore capabilities of your team as well as the services offered by Microsoft will allow you to define how you can best support content restores. 

This post from a Microsoft Support Technician identifies the services Microsoft makes available for content restores.  In the SharePoint Online Service Description, you'll find Microsoft's official word on their support for backing up and restoring content.

Its up to you to understand the capabilities of your team and how their skills, tools and knowledge of SharePoint Online can support content recovery.

Supported Content

Carefully consider the content that will be deployed into your SharePoint Online sites. 

If you are deploying mission critical content into SharePoint Online, be sure to understand the business impact that a restore will have on this content and that this content may have to be rolled back to a previous state.

The risk of deploying any content to a cloud service, is that you are giving up at least some level of control over the content.  Considering that you don't have control over where the content is stored, without a third party product or service, you are fully dependent on your provider for recovering lost content.

Identify, govern and communicate the content you will support for deployment into SharePoint Online.

Proactive Preparation

Preparation is a critical part of being able to respond to the needs of your business.  Like any other solution, you must understand the requirements the business has of the system.  Don't overlook requirements the business may have for restoring document content from SharePoint Online. 

Here are a few content restore scenarios to consider when thinking about what your business may be faced with:

Item Level Scenarios

  • A document goes missing
  • A file becomes corrupted
  • An item is accidentally deleted

List and Library Level Scenarios

  • A list or library is deleted
  • List or library settings / configurations / customizations are changed

Site Level Scenarios

  • A site is accidentally deleted
  • A content type / workflow or other customization is deleted
  • Items are deleted from a Gallery
  • Complicated Security or Permissions are removed

Site Collection Level Scenarios

  • A Site Collection is Deleted
  • Custom Master Page, Page Layouts, Themes or CSS are Deleted
  • Custom Solutions are Deleted

Planning Site Collections

The lowest level that Microsoft will restore content for a SharePoint Online customer is at the Site Collection level.  This means that when a restore is requested, all content currently active in a Site Collection will be replaced by the requested backup.

Be strategic in how you deploy Site Collections into SharePoint Online.  This article identifies the boundaries and limits for Site Collections and other areas of SharePoint Online.  

  • Before creating a Site Collection, qualify your decision using these guidelines:
    • Create Site Collections when you need a boundary for managing content of a similar purpose. Examples of this is where a Site Collection is dedicated for content such as Teams, Apps, Records, Communications Portal and Social purposes.
    • Create a Site Collection when you need to create a strict security boundary for content that needs to be administered in a highly secure way (HR and Finance content are examples of this).  You might have different Site Collection Administrators and controls on the content you are storing in these types of Site Collections.
  • Consider that having content divided between many Site Collections can add difficulties when multiple Site Collections need to be restored at once.  Deploy Site Collections sparingly.
  • Keeping all of your content in a Single Site Collection will force you to roll back all content to the restore point - having a greater impact on the business.

Responding to Content Recovery Requests

In any event, how your team responds to these types of incidents is critical.  If your team is well trained in the Office365, and SharePoint Online features, there is a lot they can do to respond and recover content quickly and easily on their own.

Tactics for Resolving Content and Configuration Issues

Security and Compliance Center
  1. Identify when and how the issue occurred
    1. Use the Security & Compliance center > Audit Log search
    2. This records all user activity in your SharePoint Online
    3. From here you will be able to determine when the issue occurred
  2. Troubleshoot the issue yourself
    1. For Content Issues, have users check the List and Site level Recycle Bins
      • Content is stored in the Recycle Bin for 90 days (by default)
      • After this period of time, the content is moved into the Site Collection Recycle Admin
    2. As a site Collection Admin, you can access the Site Collection Recycle Bin as well.
      • Once content is moved into the Site Collection Recycle Bin, it will stay there for another 30 days
      • Under the default settings, a piece of deleted content should still be recoverable from the Recycling Bin for 120 days
    3. Version history (if its been activated) can be used on a list or library to recover previous versions of a file.
    4. If a custom Workflow, Content Type or Configuration is deleted or removed, you may need to recreate it manually - is there a copy in your Development or Test Environment that you can refer to?
    5. As a SharePoint Online Admin, you can recover deleted Site Collections as well.  Read all about how to restore a Deleted Site Collection here.
  3. Know When to Escalate
    1. If the content you are missing is valuable enough, consider if it is worth contacting Microsoft or using other Tools.

How Microsoft Can Help

Microsoft takes a backup every 12 hours.  These backups are kept for a period of 14 days. Microsoft restores at a Site Collection level, not at the subsite or item level.  A Site Collection Restore replaces all of the content currently in the Site Collection with the backup.  Consider what this may mean for your business:

  • When you realize you need content restored by Microsoft, don't delay contacting them.  Once the 14-day period has passed, the restore you need may no longer be available. 
  • Considering that Microsoft takes a backup every 12 hours, if the item you need to have restored was deleted 1 hour after the last backup, a restore will roll you back to the point of the last backup.  Consider the impact to the rest of the business - how much other important work will be lost. 
  • Understand that your users of the Site Collection will face an outage while the Restore operation completed.  The amount of time the restore will take is dependent on the volume of content being restored. 

The Value of Third Party Backup Solutions

A third party solution may offer you more control over backup and restore capabilities than what is offered by Microsoft.  Why to consider using a third party tool:

  • More ability to perform more granular restores
  • Setup your own backup / restore schedule
  • Store content backups in the cloud or on premises

Third party solutions offer more flexibility and additional recovery options.  However, these solutions come with a price tag and a cost of ownership to consider.