It was a good week last week. Why? Because I finally made it back to the Tech Community (Tech) after a long absence. One I hadn't planned. But 2021's been that kind of year hasn't it. Work, speaking, blogging, user groups, Ignite, MVP Summit, MCT Summit. Build, TeamsNation. You name it. Boom. And with Tech it was simply a case that it just piled up and aggregated to the point I couldn't contain it given commitments which took precedence. Like an oil spill in the sea. You see, when you have been in the forums for eighteen to two and are involved in a few thousand threads at that point you have to actively manage it: three weeks ago my mailbox had over 2700 emails to work through because of, well - you know, boom. Now it's true I could have simply gone on and iced them all out the mailbox. But people need help, and I'll be the first to admit I grew frustrated at times not being able to get back and help as much as I used to. Still, what I did learn throughout this period was this - ringfence time for it; and no matter how far I go or where I end up in this community Tech will always be something I do as long as it exists and I am active. Somebody asked me once why do I still do it now that I'm an MVP as if once I was awarded I'd simply blow it out and move onto 'better things'. The reason is this: it's not from some sense that I owe a debt to Tech because whilst it did lead directly to my award my stats will show I've very much paid that back then some. No, the truth is I just simply enjoy it. It's transactional. It's working stuff out. It's learning new stuff whilst helping others. Its good for blowing off some steam, like doing reps on the old barbells or lengths in a swimming pool, or sudoku. And getting back to the old stomping ground I actually discovered something new about Teams this week which is the basis for this blog. Someone asked if I knew where the registration information was for Teams Webinars based on a docs.com article which referenced it as MySite. They couldn't find it. I did. And finding leads to some very interesting implications of what can be done with webinars moving forward. Let's take a look.
approvals using Adobe Sign. Adobe Sign, an eSignature application like Docusign or Hellosign is designed to let people sign documents online instead of using the traditional pen and paper. In other words, when a signer signs an online document wilfully and intentionally it’s considered an eSignature. It constitutes the same as a handwritten or “wet” signature and is a system of agreement which is legally binding as recognised by the US, the UK, the European Union and many other countries in many other parts of the world. The value of having an eSignature app for your organisation is easily describable and typically follows a standard set of narratives such as time as in the ability to do business faster, geography as in the ability to sign from anywhere on any device, the environment or the elimination of manual costs as well as the use of paper, and security and compliance since data is encrypted and the apps are designed to meet industry standards such as SOC and ISO27001 (ISMS). It is a great type of app for our hub for teamwork, but some will no doubt ask - and it's a legitimate question, why use a third party app at all since we have the approvals application? Two reasons here. Number one is there may be times when you need something approved and recorded with more formal attestation, and adding signatures to the approval process is necessary. Secondly we return to the prior point of signing being something intentional and thought out instead of a button click. Now in time the approvals app will support several eSignature applications. For example it's pretty well known that DocuSign has been demoed in sessions run by Microsoft. Yet Adobe Sign is the only one integrated into Teams today and at the time of writing its currently within Public Preview meaning a user needs to be set up for the public preview in the Teams Admin Centre. Like the previous blog on templates, my good friend Vesa Nopanen did a blog on this a while back so I am very much doing this for completeness and pretty much in the event I ever need to jump in and do eSign during our Art of Approvals session which we running on the speaking circuit. I am going to take a slightly different tack from Vesa and do this end to end, from scratch. I'll certainly be using it in real life
With Microsoft Build in the books you would think it high time to decompress, let off some steam and take some time out especially after the madness that was Teams Nation. Unfortunately, we've arrived at that time of the year. The summer circuit is underway; and yesterday I had the privilege of speaking alongside Vesa Nopanen at SharePoint Saturday Cologne: one of my favourite events which is run by my community friends Raphael Kollner and Jennifer Eimertenbrink. Cologne - Köln - is the fourth largest city in Germany, the largest on the Rhine and famous for, amongst other things, the Kölner Dom and Kölsch beer. Having been to Düsseldorf earlier in my career on business but never having made it out of the city or the Bolkerstraße Cologne is definitely one of the places I am sure I will visit to speak when things open back up. But yesterday was all about virtual, and the session Vesku and I did was on Approvals in Microsoft Teams. Now, earlier in the year I did a few blogs on the Approvals app: a few were on Approval flows using Power Automate and Microsoft 365 apps such as one using Forms, Lists and Yammer. Another focussed on Parallel Approvals. Since our session featured it yesterday as part of a roadmap update on what's coming for the app, I thought I would just knock one out about Approval Templates which I think significantly adds to what it is rapidly becoming one of those really strong apps for Teams now it's broken out of Power Automate. Vesku wrote one earlier this month but I thought I would also do one - for completeness and the opportunity to get hands on and get into the nuts and bolts. Based on Microsoft Forms, I don't really need to articulate and evangelise the business value of templates too much simply because templates are templates: they are designed to save time, effort, execution is quicker, repeatable. They help inexperienced users and ensure consistency across an organisation that uses them
So Build is done. It's in the books. I just finished up my last session moderating which was one of those sessions at the back end of the conference. You know the ones. Less attendees, but every one of those attendees die-hards still asking awesome questions to get every last ounce of value out of the event. I remember the first time I was out in Vegas at Inspire. I was still there at the Mandalay doing sessions on the Friday morning when others were still in bed conferenced out or were checking in at the airport to go home. And you have to hand it to the speakers who still show so much passion at the end probably having just done the last few days on about 4 hours sleep a night. So signing out of Build, I wanted to complete a trio of blogs on the new Power Apps for Microsoft Teams which were announced at the conference. The first blog was on Perspectives. The second was on Boards. This one is on Profile+
Day two of Build. It's a good one. And I have the opportunity of following up yesterday's blog on Perspectives with one on Boards. This is the second of three blogs on the three new Power Apps Solutions introduced at Build, and which I think are really building (excuse the pun) on the success of others released over the past six months. I am talking about Bulletins, Milestones, Employee Ideas, Inspection and Issue Reporting. If you haven't used them yet, they are Power Apps within the Teams App store which you can install and which are deployed in Dataverse for Teams. The great thing about these apps is that you can go on and extend their functionality, you can widen their use in broad distribution scenarios, but what is also really cool is that they are straightforward and you can simply use them straight out of the box. They are designed for a specific purpose. So let's get to it for today