Ultimate Guide for Creating Business Processes in Office 365

Amir Shingray
Amir Shingray
November 25, 2019 | Enterprise


In any organization, once the initial enthusiasm for implementing Office 365 has subsided, they will start to look for more ways they can optimally utilize Office 365.
Indeed, all the processes of the organization cannot be moved and switched to Office 365 overnight. Nevertheless, it is still imperative to detect and recognize all those areas of improvement where the organizations can have a smooth start by thoroughly implementing Office 365 in all their business processes. 
Office 365 has a diverse range of tools with massive features. Therefore, it’s quite challenging to identify all of them to have an overview of its advantages and disadvantages that could have an impact on the developmental processes of the business. 
To understand it fully, let’s have a quick look at some of the queries and questions that regularly comes up when reviewing the demands and needs for a business process. By going through the requirements, we will be able to determine how Office 365 would respond to each one of them. 
While you’re reading this, it would be fun to wrack your brain in finding some of the business processes in your organization that require improvement. 
In this article, we will focus on covering no/low-code solutions. That would be quite beneficial for your organization if they can afford custom development, as there will be plenty of things to consider.

Tools for Creating Business Processes in Office 365

When the clients are looking for improving or creating business processes in office 365 with a no or low-code tool, there are three options for them to choose from Microsoft FormsSharePoint List/Libraries, and PowerApps
The very first thing to do is to review the present state of the business process and its complications. If the business process is simple and easy such as entering data into an Excel Sheet with no overcomplicated formulae, we suggest Microsoft Forms be the best tool.
Running your business processes in Microsoft Forms is entirely stress-free and pretty much straightforward as it doesn’t require any technical expertise. 
However, one of the prominent disadvantages of using Microsoft Forms is that it provides minimal field types and has limited options. 
If the field types of an organization are quite complex, it is then implementing the Microsoft Forms may not the best option. The next course of action in creating business processes in office 365 is to go for the SharePoint list. It offers a wide array of field types as well as has excellent built-in features, including views and validation. SharePoint list also enables you to utilize other tools like PowerApps. If you think a document upload would initiate the business process, then it’s better to choose Libraries. 

PowerApps is the most complex tools for creating business processes in office 365. Its use should only be chosen when the form’s logic becomes more complicated that SharePoint cannot handle. By using PowerApps, you would be able to perform things like repeating tables, cascading dropdowns, and also you can connect to data outside of the current list. 
Moreover, with the implementation of PowerApps, you would also be able to implement mobile apps. Generally, if the current business process is a complicated InfoPath form, then the PowerApps is the right tool for creating business processes in office 365. However, there is a lot to learn when you’re switching from InfoPath to PowerApps. Get yourself acquainted with a technical expert is recommended.
You should also need to consider the audience for creating business processes in office 365. For instance, if your targeted audience doesn’t have the licensed external users, you may have to stay with Microsoft Forms or SharePoint Lists, as PowerApps doesn’t support external users. 

Suitability for Your Business Process Flow

When the business process has been selected, then the next phase for creating business processes in office 365 is the flow of the process. The ideal tool is Microsoft Visio or any other related tool to streamline the entire process. When thinking about mapping out the workflow, several queries come to mind. Such as is there any approval phase? If there is, then how many? Is there a need for transferring of data upon the completion of the process? 
One of the significant workflow tools in creating business processes in office 365 used to be SharePoint Designer. There has been a rapid increase in organizations that are switching from SharePoint Designer workflows to Flow. 
Similar to PowerApps, you would probably require to learn about the Flow. According to us, it would take an immense amount of time and effort to learn and have the proficiency to run your business processes, especially if you were an avid user of Designer. 
On the other hand, if you’re new to Flow, then this is the simpler and efficient version of SharePoint Designer. 
From personal experience, there are plenty of loops in Flow; however, the new and improved logging assists greatly in those circumstances.
Flow offers a tremendous amount of nifty built-in templates for creating business processes in office 365. For instance, its template sends the data to Microsoft Forms automatically to a SharePoint list. This is ideal for anyone who’s looking for a user experience of Microsoft Forms but requires the data in a SharePoint list that could be utilized for reporting or for a more complicated business process.
One more thing, PowerApps empowers into building plenty of logic with no need of using Flow. For instance, it enables you to send an email directly inside the app, which reduces the expense of overseeing two tools. 

Envisioning the Entire Process

When the desired creating business processes in office 365 completely implemented in your organization, the final phase is to make an impressive user experience. To efficiently achieve that, you can utilize the modern pages in SharePoint to render a personalized experience as per the user’s requirements. Generally, they are mostly referred to us dashboard pages that contain links to forms, gives a view of the lists and libraries. 
You can embed the visualization of data from Power BI. However, you probably need to buy a license. This tool is quite helpful in providing prompt answers about your business process and its functionality. 
Furthermore, Microsoft has recently introduced the connector web parts, enabling you to connect and showcase your data outside of Office 365. 
We hope that considering all the benefits of improving and creating business processes in office 365 would give you a head start in getting solutions for your business operations. 

 

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