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WayneSingh
Regular Visitor

1 Question for discussion

Hi All,

Hoping to get some discussion happening, and come up with a best but fast solution as this is only a stepping stone for the business.

I have been asked to create a very simple CRM approach, the idea being to capture whats in peoples heads (and outlook contacts) into a central list, but also get them into the idea of entering those details somewhere.  Inching towards a proper CRM at some point in the near future.  No I cant go straight to a CRM this is the approach they want.

So the idea I have at the moment is this.  A simple Microsoft Forms form for them to enter the details, then a PowerAutomate that will pick up the entry, populate a SP List item and then if possible create a contact in the 'Contacts' for the owner of those contact details.  So for instance I might put in a contact but specify someone else as the owner.  The system will create the contact in their 'contacts' so they are available in Outlook.  Alternatively if that isnt possible, which likely isnt as I would need to have each of them logged in on a step for permissions to their list, then maybe I can have multiple global lists (one for each owner) and populate that.

Here is the idea in a workflow

ContactsFlow.jpg

Thoughts and/or suggestions?


And thank you in advance for any input.

2 REPLIES 2
Amanthaper
Responsive Resident
Responsive Resident

Hello @WayneSingh - interesting scenario,

Your MS Forms to Sharepoint design is technically doable and could work but I foresee some challenges.

First off, design wise you'd start the flow with a "When an item is created or modified trigger" and compare the SP item to entries in an address book using the "Get contacts (V2)" action. You'd then use a condition control to look for any existing entries and if none exist then use a "Create contact (V2)" action to add the new contact. Like this.

PAUG_contactdiscuss2.png

PAUG_contactdiscuss3.png

The main problem I see with your proposed solution is the ability to browse the address book and create a contact for another user (contact owner).

Power Automate triggers & actions are tied to a connection, in this case the user developing the flow \ O365 account owner.

PAUG_contactdiscuss4.png

For your scenario the flow would have to dynamically connect to the contact owner's O365 mail account and a create a new contact entry which is technically unfeasible.

I don't see how you can do the last bit without using fully delegated or shared mailboxes with Powershell scripting or some sort of Exchange role-based access control which would only allow for Contacts management (feasible). A creative idea would be use a UI Flow to create the new contact using the Exchange Admin Center (EAC).

If your process isn't completely married to the part of actually creating the new contact, you could always email the account owner all important contact details and have them create their own contact as a workaround. 

Alternatively I can think of 2 other options.

If you need a quick-n-dirty solution (cringing as I type it...) for a handful of users and you're a Microsoft office shop then I'd suggest an MS Access database. There's an out-of-the box Contact Management template available with an option to create Outlook contacts (still can't create a contact for others) and ability to map data to an enterprise database or SharePoint with simple point-and-click.

PAUG_contactdiscuss1.png

You could supplement this with a desktop UI flow and the EAC as another creative solution to add a new contact for another user. Pros are fast delivery, minimal or no development, mapped data to a DB or SP will be easier to migrate to a future CRM. Cons are Access is not very shareable nor web friendly and could be intimidating for a non-DB or non-programmer. You'd also have to locally manage databases or put a live instance on a network drive somewhere for everyone to use (management nightmare).

Another alternative is to use a PowerApp screen to capture contact details and combine it with a flow and follow the same process I've described above. It still won't solve the connection issue.

 

Hope this helps,

Aman

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Thank you @Amanthaper , and it is exactly what I was thinking.  

 

I can think of two other options though.  I create a new 'Global Contact List' and populate that, but it defeats the purpose of the Owner field.  Secondly (and your idea made me think of this), I wonder if I can create a contact in my address book, then somehow attach that as a Business Card to attach to an email?  If I can do that, then I can delete the contact out of my address book again.

Outlook Item.png

Contact.png

As for the rest of it, that all works and pretty much the way you were thinking too.

Flow.png

That last step is a little convoluted as there are 4 possibilities each with a slightly different email format.

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