I don't mind putting up my hands and admitting that even though we are only halfway through 2021 this year has been particularly full on. I've already hit a few of what I like to call 'crush periods' where the totality of work, community, exams, and everything else reaches a point where you think 'how am I going to surmount this? Of course, this may be something you have experienced yourself; that point which borders of getting out of hand and the term unsustainable applies. But you know what? It's been surprising too. These periods haven't been where I would have expected or anticipated them to be given that I have a lot of experience in conclusively dealing with volume and actively managing workload. They've typically emerged out of left field and can then disappear again just as quickly. Now, it's important to state for the record that I consider this to be very much a first world problem. Given what has happened to many during Covid I am extremely lucky and privileged irrespective of how it gets since I have the luxury of a job and one which is in demand; and if I am being totally honest with you I am also a big reason for my own time poverty since I like speaking on the circuit, and writing blogs like this, and teaching, and many other things besides. The point is, in relation to a busy life it's becoming really really important to use what is within my means to economize my time. If you have been following the blog over the past several months you may have noticed: a lot of that involves the Power Platform. In my job, I work with others trying to build Power Apps for things which significantly improve existing business processes. I am personally trying to automate my way out of as many things as possible which I do manually with Power Automate. I build dashboards and reports in order to make better and faster data driven decisions. With Power Virtual Agents, I am loading a bot with Q&A so others don't need to come and ask me about it again and again and again. So as a big advocate of Microsoft Lists, a subject which I've written and spoken about often in the past - and will do once again at the European Collaboration Summit in November - it's been really awesome that Power BI reports can be built on top of Lists. Let's have a look at this, and then let's see if we can get this into the Team
Analyse, Act and Automate. Buzzwords these may be - but the importance of the Power Platform is real. About a year ago, I was sitting in a meeting in Dublin discussing Microsoft 365 with a partner whose business was built upon Power Apps. As much as I was impressed with the app on the IPad they'd recently developed after their receptionist left, it was the dawning on how they viewed Microsoft 365 through the prism of applications. It's very easy to narrate a story on Microsoft 365 around Security, Teamwork or the modernization of devices (three narratives Microsoft typically use today). But I had never considered doing that based upon apps. Never even entered my head.
An increasing amount of our working lives are spent in Team meetings. The biggest issue of mine - at least with the meetings I attend on a regular basis - is that they still often lack insights from data, lack open team discussions based upon and challenging these insights and data driven decision making. All too frequently meetings tend to descend into wild conjecture or arguments based on emotion without anything to back that up. Even worse, not all members of the team always have access to such data to be able to counter arguments based upon data hoarded by other individuals.