Business Transformation
Power Platfrom

Revitalizing internal processes with Power Platform-based virtual community

July 11, 2022

By now, organizations struggling with the new reality of hybrid and remote work realize that business processes, including internal ones, have to become best friends with the digital transformation. This new work reality makes it clear that we have to choose the means that – ideally – accelerate the processes within teams, boost the data transformation and exchange, and facilitate sharing insights based on that data. To bring our own team in sync, we chose to invest in Power Platform development – low-code, scalable, and adjustable solutions that meet our needs and boost business processes. We strongly believe it could work for others as well.

The engine of changes

Providing best-in-class solutions for our customers is a part of our DNA. Perfectionists, by nature, we wanted to optimize our internal processes. As our team expanded, getting rid of tedious manual processes, and automating certain HR activities seemed a good first step. The COVID-19 outbreak, and remote work issues pushed us to look for a solution to embrace the changes of the new normal: digitize HR processes and consolidate our online community scattered around the country. We needed a functional and user-friendly portal available for internal users only. The ready-to-use solutions available on the market failed to meet our criteria for some reason or other. What option did we have but to build our optimal solution ourselves? We couldn’t help but leverage the advantages of Microsoft for our future corporate web portal.

“Who understands our needs better than we? That is how the idea of an in-house built solution, our corporate web portal was born. As a Microsoft tech stack hub, we decided to build Global Galaxy entirely within the MS Power Platform ecosystem on top of MS Teams. Power Apps development turned out to be the right call.”

- Nicolai Krarup, COO at Global Mediator

Step by step, the possibilities of Power Platform turned an HR solution into a scalable and adjustable community portal. Global Galaxy is now a digitized corporate platform, a single source of information for all the colleagues, and a documentation library (thanks to connectors like SharePoint).

Getting there step by step

Being quite young, MS Power Platform offers undeniable benefits like accelerated time to market and cost-efficiency due to low-code development, as well as reduced dependence on third-party tools. Also, using the MS Power Platform means creating an enterprise-scale platform secured by Microsoft security policies.

So, we started our journey with Power Platform by automating the time off request approval process to help the team get used to the new realities. Now, in contrast to the manual processing of piles of papers and thanks to Power Apps development, the flow works as follows. Singed into the corporate portal via work emails, a user interacts with the Time off requests app, an in-house Power Apps-based solution embedded in the portal. The user-friendly interface and intuitive menu allow one to easily view their time off balance, submit the requests, edit and delete them – both approved and pending ones. Depending on the approval status of the request, all the nuances are addressed and respective notifications to the approver/requester are instantly sent. Our portal embraces several applications (personal profile, onboarding processes) and integrates with many services and connectors like SharePoint and Office 365 to cover the documentation library, security policies, and many more.

MS Power Automate comes into play and triggers a rigorous, logical process behind the scenes with any click of a Submit, Edit, or Delete button within the Time off requests app. This Power Platform element allows the developers to address every detail of the process step by step. All the peculiarities and needs of the standard users – the teammates – and the managers are set through not to miss any part of the process. MS Power Automate keeps the wheels turning to make the notifications appear where they are expected and are set to appear, count the days off balance – considering various conditions on the way (like sick leaves, paid/unpaid vacations, or other leave types, national holidays, extra days off) – as required.

Two custom tables have been created in Dataverse to support the logic – the requests themselves and the days’ balance. Once the flow is triggered, a record is added to the table of requests and the respective balance (available days off) record is updated. What the user sees in the app in real-time is the updated number of the available days off along with the request status and comments from the approver. The app then sends the respective notifications to the manager and the HR representative – along with the email to the requester. 3 ways to approve/reject the requests make managers’ life easier and boost the processes: either via the app itself, the email, or MS Teams – thanks to seamless integration with Microsoft and third-party connectors.

The possibilities of Power Platform turned an HR solution into a scalable and adjustable community portal

Flexibility and scalability rock

Originally, the flow behind the scenes was quite basic. As time went by, our needs and our “good-to-haves” evolved and grew larger. And so did our Power Platform expertise and understanding of its strengths. So, we made the best of the technology’s flexibility and scalability and covered diverse types and levels of internal needs, including those for standard users (teammates) and managers (extended menu, functions, and possibilities).

The flow now covers the specific needs of certain managers and teams, including, among others, geographical locations, and respective state holidays. Owing to the Power Apps development flexibility, we built a single app available for separate roles. In addition to their requests, the managers – via the extended menu options – can see the requests of their subordinates, time off overlaps, and days off balance of the team members within teams, as well as approve or reject the requests within the app – in accordance with the organization structure. And among other benefits, the flow automatically registers time in Jira so that the system differentiates between sick leave, paid vacation, or any other type of absence. It also automatically sets the status message in the requester’s calendar.

Under the hood with yet more to come

Progressively, our HR-oriented solution continues to expand. Global Galaxy, our Power Platform development for corporate needs, now embraces an HR onboarding application and candidates’ database and other functionality, available for specific specialists only. And even though the community portal is positioned as an internal solution (at the moment), the external users – some customers – do have access to their team’s calendars to be aware of the vacations and days off.

“What started as an answer to our basic needs (with the Time off requests app making only a small part of the corporate processes), has eventually grown into a powerful stand-alone solution. A solution that turned into a very specific and need-oriented tool that streamlines the processes within an IT organization.”

- Tetiana Falaleeva, Power Platform & RPA Lead at Global Mediator

A virtual community that conveys corporate messages through a single, MS-secured platform. Though many ideas stay in the background when it comes to development, there is always room for more ideas: additional modules (finance in our case), more apps, and improvements. A scalable solution that easily adjusts to the needs of specific organizations and can focus on more than the HR part. We are not going to stop with Power Platform development. Are you?

Subscribe to Global Mediator newsletter

Stay current with the latest insights from us