I am looking for some advice in how to start learning and using PowerApps, in relation to my actual needs and usecases. I have looked through vast amounts of YouTube videos, learning ressources etc., but I feel like I just need a general guideline, to actually get going. I apologize for the wall of text I am submitting here, but I wanted to make sure to be very specific, so you could provide feedback on a good basis.
First of all, I am an a mechanical engineer, so by no means an IT-professional. I am however pretty highly skilled within IT, but completely autodidact. I work for the Engineering department of a bigger company, that is just starting to roll out some of the good stuff in Office 365.
I have been assigned to create a SharePoint site for our team, and have quickly been asked to also create various other sites. Creating the site itself in the modern experience is pretty straight forward, as far as I can see, but getting some actual useful content into, to give people some "what's in it for me", is where I am at currently.
I decided that to start by creating two sites:
1. A Sharepoint Communications Site called "Technical Core", that is going to be a knowledge base, not only for the engineering department, but basically everyone within the technical field of our company(so also R&D, etc.).
2. A Sharepoint Team Site called "Engineering", that is going to be where our team works.
Now I would like to create some initial quality content for these sites, before just flooding the sites with user content. Therefore I want to start by creating the following content:
1. An absence form to allow employees to manage their absence from the Sharepoint Team Site and from an app on their phone. I started creating this in a list in Sharepoint, and basically pretty much have it running in a completely manual form by now.
I started this by creating some lists in Sharepoint to hold the catagories and terms, thinking that it could then be maintained easily later. Also I assumed that I would need that to be able to route people through forms, by either cascading drop-downs or something:
Afterwards I created the actual "form" in a seperate list. My thought was that this would be the database for all the requests:
Now I want an app that I can include on our team site and that employees can access on their phones to send requests and see what they have submitted before with statuses etc. I also want the workflow for approval to get running. Finally I want to have a calendar to pick up on all the approved absences from employees in our team. I want to be able to show this calendar in a specific form on our teamsite, to visualize coverage during, say, a month at a time. Our current form of this is completely manual where people fill in excel, but it shows pretty much what picture I would like to see:
I would like you guys to comment on the way I have approached this task. Also I would like your feedback on where to go from here? Should I start creating Microsoft Flow(s) to handle the approval flows? Should I start creating the calendars? Should I start working in PowerApps?
2. A task management system to handle various types of tasks/projects. So I am going to create some kind of hierachy in tasks, to ensure that things has a child/parent relationship when it applies.
For starters, I want to supply our technicians in the field with a form that they, again, can use on their phone, to request product/procedure changes. These requests will, like the absence form, naturally have a database, which I assumed would be the suggestion/request list, but this list will only be a "history" of the the filled forms.
During filling in, the technician will also answer whether they have experienced anything in relation to this, that may or may not involve a non conformance to product specifications. Their request will then land in one of two databases: ECR(Engineering Change Request) or NCR(Non Conformance Report), making sure there is something referencing the either ECR or NCR child to it's parent suggestion/request. Depending on what product group they selected, a group will from there be responsible of assigning an investigator to handle the case. All the information from the suggestion/request will be automatically filled, and there will be the required fields below to document the ECR/NCR along with functionality for the receiving party to either accept or reject the "case". At a certain point when filling the ECR/NCR, after either describing the undeseriable current design in ECR or finding the root cause in an NCR, I want the ability to start other form(s) that become child's of the ECR/NCR parent. These will go to another database, and be called CAR (Corrective Action Reports), and will have their own functionality to assign a responsible, change the status etc. and will be directly related to the ECR/NCR it is affecting. Last but not least, I want one last "form" to be able to create "Tasks", that can be created from either of all the above forms. Tasks will have a database of their own, where users can filter out i.eg. all their tasks across all the above "projects". Tasks will too have an assigned responsible, a status, etc.
This time I started kind of mapping it in a simple Excel, so I could somewhat get an idea about which lists I need to make for various choices throughout the forms. I will not include all of them here, as I assume you get the idea from the absence form. Here is an example of a list that I will use for the user to choose the severity level during analyzing risks when filling an NCR/ECR:
Finally I started creating the form for tasks, to kind of start with the lowest common denominator in relation to the whole parent/child hierarchy:
Now again, where do I go from here?
3. A knowledge base, including procedures, system information, instructions for our software, templates etc.
We have a lot of various content for this, in different forms such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc. I thought about how I wanted to integrate these into our Sharepoint knowledge base. I started by creating a document library, working with content types, approval, check in/out etc. This is much better than what we have today, but I wanted more. I started trying to put the information into a Sharepoint Wiki instead, which also worked pretty well, and I liked the way you could then make various content dynamic, and be able to navigate around our knowledge base by pressing words within the different pages. However, I then heard that Wiki is pretty 2015, so I was recommended to build this stuff straight into Sharepoint modern pages.
What is your opinion about this? How should I go ahead and build this?
In total, I would like to know how I can get knowledge enough to ensure I can implement these things succesfully. Do I need to learn some basic coding? Do I need to know of some good online resources? Do I need to book a consultant to help with certain things? Do I need to buy any add-ons or something?
I hope you can provide some insight to help me on my way! Your input will be highly appreciated.
PowerApps will create the Front end of a database that depends upon your SharePoint lists as the Back-end tables and relationships. If you do not have much experience with relational databases, I have recently completed a 4 part blog on how to design a PowerApps based on best practices with database design. Please take the time to review them in our Community Blog. By properly constructing your lists up front, you will save hours of frustration and work arounds later. https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/PowerApps-Community-Blog/bg-p/PowerAppsBlog I suggest starting with the overview and going through the next 3 in sequence.
Do you want to use PowerApps to create an app to manage your SP list data?
I agree with @Drrickryp's thought almost. PowerApps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for your business needs.
Using PowerApps, you can quickly build custom business apps that connect to your business data stored either in the underlying data platform (Common Data Service for Apps) or in various online and on-premises data sources (e.g. SharePoint, SQL Server, etc)
Based on the needs that you provided, I think PowerApps could achieve your needs. More details about PowerApps, please check the following article:
PowerApps has its own programming code (built-in functions), you don't need to learn extra Programming language.
More details about the formulas (basic coding) within PowerApps, please check the following article:
In addition, if you want to use PowerApps, you need to sign up for it using your Office 365 work or school account (rather than your Personal account). You could consider sign up for 30-day free trial, if you want to use more features supported within PowerApps, you should purchase a PowerApps license.
More details about the licenses within PowerApps, please check the following article:
Currently, your thought is in right direction. Please take a try to achieve your needs using PowerApps.
If you have any other questions about PowerApps, please feel free to reply here.
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