Administration and Management Options for Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

Administration and Management Options for Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

This article provides a rundown of options for managing the Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. As with many enterprise tools, administrators have a number of options available for managing and administering this powerful tool set.

We’ve been discussing governance, management and administration of the Power Platform with a number of clients lately. We thought the timing was right to list these all together in one place!

MS Flow & PowerApps: Managing Deployment and Usage in your Organization

Should PowerApps and MS Flow be Available for Everyone in Your Organization? 

If your organization has an Enterprise Office 365 license (E1, E3, E5), chances are that most, if not all, of your employees have access to create PowerApps and MS Flows.

PowerApps and MS Flow are turned on by default for all employees. Your employees will be able to see a Flow button in SharePoint, Excel, and MS Teams.

Also, by default, all available connectors, including social media and personal storage, are accessible to all members.

However, if you wish to operate more control on access rights, there are methods for turning off these services for employees. A few of our clients have opted to do this until they get a better understanding of the impact such access might have on their operations and data security.

Along with care in planning the deployment of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, administering and management of these tools are critical.

Along with care in planning the deployment of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, administering and management of these tools are critical.

 

Are You Ready for Organization Wide PowerApps and MS Flow Access

As per our clients, some of the major concerns that occur if access to PowerApps and MS Flow is available to all employees are:

•    Increase in the number of support calls

If everyone in an organization decides to create apps and flows, then as soon as they run into something they can’t figure out, they will open a support ticket with IT.  If this were to occur, then the increase in the number of support tickets submitted would be tremendous and costly for the organization.

•    Mission critical apps developed by front line employees

Based on the number of videos and demonstrations available for learning, it does not take a lot of skills to create a data-integrated app.  This increases the likelihood of a front-line employee creating a “simple” app that can quickly evolve into a mission critical application.

Such “simple” apps do not usually go through proper development lifecycles, thorough testing, performance tuning, and sign offs, and hence can prove fatal in the long run, if something goes wrong.

•    Loss of control (visibility) by IT department

All apps, by default, are stored in the PowerApp/MS Flow default environment. If, in an organization, most employees take advantage of creating Apps and Flows, there will be hundreds of Apps/Flows to manage, and it will be difficult to determine mission critical applications from the myriad apps hosted in the default environment of the organization.

Other Independent Apps in Use and their Impact

The concerns listed above are all valid, but let’s look at how things are today and how front-line employees are leveraging existing technology, outside of PowerApps and MS Flow, to streamline their day-to-day work activities.

MS Access may not be as prevalent today as it was years ago, but with majority, if not all of our clients, there are still a few database systems that are in use and are part of their critical business processes.

A more common application that employees use these days to create “simple” apps is MS Excel. We have seen a wide range of uses for Excel, from simple forms to full-blown XRM and Accounts Payable processes.  A good portion of these Excel files contain mission critical data, business processes/rules, logics and calculations. These files are typically stored on local computers or on file share systems. If the person who created the spreadsheet leaves the company, the file is usually left to the IT department to figure out the intricacies (usually macros).

IT departments typically have no visibility or clarity on to how many of such “simple” mission critical Excel spreadsheets are present, at any given moment, in an organization. Therefore, there is a need to organize such apps by enabling access to PowerApps and MS Flow for employees.

There are pros and cons for enabling PowerApps/MS Flow and maintaining the status quo. Nevertheless, PowerApps and MS Flow do make a compelling argument for empowering employees; therefore, Microsoft has addressed most the concerns listed above.

 

Exercising Measured Admin Control on PowerApps and MS Flow Access

PowerApps and MS Flow come with an Admin Center (requires P2 license), through which admins can see all Apps and Flows created by employees with their metrics. 

Admins can create Data Loss Prevention Policies that can limit the type of connectors that PowerApps and MS Flow can use. For example, admins can limit employees from creating a flow that can automatically send an email attachment to DropBox.

Admins can create environments to better organize their apps and flows. With the help of such measured admin control, the default PowerApps and MS Flow environment can be used by everyone in the organization, and at the same time, mission critical or enterprise apps/flows can be moved to a more controlled environment.

If employees of an organization are encouraged to move their “simple” Excel apps to PowerApps and MS Flow, their IT department would have better control and visibility over the apps, as the author of each app or flow is clearly documented in PowerApps and MS Flow.

There are ways to better control or manage how PowerApps and MS Flow are distributed. Here are some recommendations:

•      Create subsets of employees with different access rights

•      Create a mechanism for employees to request access to PowerApps and MS Flow

•      Set clear expectations for support; the most common rule we have deployed is that if employees create their own PowerApp or Flow without permission or approval, it is not supported by the IT department

•      Delete (or turn off) PowerApps or Flows for authors not listed on the ‘allow list’; this can be done using Flow

 

Conclusion

With all the administration tools, templates, reports and admin connectors available for PowerApps and MS Flow, Microsoft has done a good job of addressing some of the major IT concerns.

It is a major shift in the thinking for IT departments to allow employees access to development tools. But as mentioned earlier, employees are already working around IT by leveraging tools like MS Access, MS Excel and other cloud services that are usually paid using their corporate credit cards. Apps created with such independent tools are hard to monitor.

By enabling employees with controlled and organized access to PowerApps and MS Flow, subject matter expertise is leveraged, IT ceases to be a bottle neck, Apps are better monitored and tracked, and there is improved accountability and transparency for each app created, as app authors can be clearly identified in such an environment.

This can be achieved gradually by an organization. To start with, as mentioned earlier, admins can experiment with a subset of employees, track progress, and adjust as necessary.

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.

News

Format your PowerApps formulas

This will help make those long formulas much easier to read.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

This Free Online MS Teams course had been Refreshed

Learn about how to enable teamwork in your organization using MS Teams.
Source: www.edx.org

 

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

Expand the publishers notes for Flow and PowerApps files
Source: youtu.be

 

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

Share this one with your team
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

Quit living in your inbox

This may help as a way of convincing users to start using SharePoint instead of Outlook for collaboration.
Source: www.cmswire.com

 

The Ignite session catalog is online

We'll see you there!
Source: myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com

 

The MS Flow preview program is online

Get early access to upcoming functionality and prep your production Flows for updates.
Source: flow.microsoft.com

 

Free PowerApps training material

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

 

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
Source: support.office.com

 

Add progress indicators to your #PowerApps

If you haven't got a usable app, what have your really got?
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

Create a SharePoint Subsite from #MicrosoftFlow

Bookmark this one - it's a great addition to your SharePoint automation toolkit.
Source: www.sharepointeurope.com

 

Protect your corporate data in #MicrosoftFlow using these great tips

The tools are available, start using them
Source: blog.mastykarz.nl

 

Intelligent communication with Microsoft Teams

Here's how Teams fits into the modern workplace (and with it's siblings in Microsoft's collaboration stack)
Source: www.microsoft.com

 

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.

News

Document Management vs. Content Management Explained

This gives you a quick rundown of these similar, but different types of storage and retrieval systems.
Source: www.cmswire.com

 

MS Teams Live Events are in Public Preview

You could run your next Town Hall meeting via teams.
Source: techcommunity.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: news.microsoft.com

 

Jumpstart your SharePoint / Flow integration

A great post from the Melissa Hubbard at AvePoint on how Flow and SharePoint integrate.
Source: www.avepoint.com

 

From the Business Applications Summit

MS Flow add-in for Excel announced
Source: www.microsoft.com

 

Flow Features Announcement

Business Process Flows, Office App Add-ons and more...
Source: flow.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: wonderlaura.com

 

MS Flow: Advanced Patterns and Practices lab available for download

Free training for your Flow team with this great resource.
Source: aka.ms

 

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)
Source: blogs.technet.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

Updated MS Flow licensing diagram

This may help with some of the Flow licensing questions you have.
Source: twitter.com

 

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.

News

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.
Source: youtu.be

 

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.
Source: techcommunity.microsoft.com

 

G & J Pepsi Cola Bottlers are Using PowerApps

They are using Microsoft PowerApps, Flow and PowerBI to automate store audit and merchandising processes.
Source: customers.microsoft.com

 

July MS Teams Teams Update

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

 

Transferring Excel Skills into PowerApps

Here is a guide to leveraging what you have learned about Excel into PowerApps.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: www.avepoint.com

 

Video: 14 PowerApps Hacks

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

 

New PowerApps Feature: App Checker

Build better PowerApps quicker. Now you can get more details on your errors and accessibility issues.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: thenextweb.com

 

Automate the creation of PDFs

Improve your business processes by using Microsoft Flow and SharePoint to automatically create PDF versions of a document.
Source: www.cleverworkarounds.com

 

How executives can lead the way in SharePoint and o365 adoption

We couldn't agree more. Critical from vision through to deployment.
Source: www.cmswire.com

 

Load your PowerApps Quicker

The new Concurrent function will allow your users to get working with shorter loading times.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: powerapps.microsoft.com

 

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.

 

News

How Teams Measures Up

Here's a look at how Teams measures up when compared with its rivals.
Source: www.computerworld.com

 

Cerner is Using Teams to Improve Their Collaboration

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

 

Setup a Flic Button with Flow

Here's a quick tutorial from Sandro on how to setup a Flic button to trigger a Flow.
Source: blog.sandro-pereira.com

 

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.
Source: twitter.com

 

Using Environments

This will affect many aspects of your Flow deployment including governance, security and administration. Recommended reading!
Source: docs.microsoft.com

 

Video: Embed PowerApps in PowerBI

A quick video tutorial on how to embed your PowerApps in PowerBI.
Source: youtu.be

 

Overview of Teams and Channels in Microsoft Teams

Ever wonder when you should be using a Channel vs. Team? This will help you.
Source: docs.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: www.cmswire.com

 

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!
Source: mspoweruser.com

 

Understand PowerApps Delegation

Want to build performant PowerApps that process large volumes of data? Read on my friend. Read on...
Source: docs.microsoft.com

 

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.
Source: community.dynamics.com

 

Improve SharePoint User Adoption

Is your SharePoint adoption lagging? SharePoint Steve has created this guide that should improve a few things for you.
Source: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com