Office 365 and Business Automation

If Only I could clone myself

Every week at 3pm on Thursday afternoon I send an email to my staff….the only thing is that I don’t actually send it. My clone sends it.

By “my clone”, I mean the low code automation tool in the back of the Office 365 ecosystem.

A reduction of steps and code

Years ago I reduced a user setup process down from 50 steps to 10 by created a batch file. Really, it was less a batch file, and more like a lot of batch files, a javascript file, and several txt files. I did not mean to create a solution that required code maintenance, but there I was. That was over 15 years ago. What I realized was that I really valued automation when it created value in terms of meeting a business need.

Low Code Solutions and Lower Barriers

Over time, there has been an increased emphasis on creating solutions that require less and less code. Up to the point that if you know excel, you can more than likely create a lot of automation in a business. The issue is usually knowing the power of the tools at your disposal. If you’re using Office365, then the Power Tools they’ve created are HUGE for business value add. This isn’t a post about Business Intelligence, but i’m convinced that most businesses need to utilized Power BI and yet, most don’t even realize that’s an option they have. On the same note, everyone used to use Zapier, but now you have another low code automation solution included with Power Automate.

Initial Cloning

At first I started by hating the requirement to send an email every week. What was I to do while on vacation? A simple click to pull a row using an excel formula, another click and an automatic email with specific weekly info. BOOM. Weekly email done.

The reality is, that the best way to reduce spend is to fully utilize the tools you’re already paying for. That takes knowing them. Most things I’ve built like this are to power my workflow. To highlight the need, there’s one specific buildout that I’ll go into further in the next post. The hopes are to explain the need for actually understanding the power of cloud services for which you already have access.