Set form fields required based on Business Process Flow Stage

It is imperative to guide the user through each stage of a Business Process Flow. We can set a lot of fields to required in a business process flow stage. However this does not give the best User Experience. In my previous blog I showed how we could use “Task Groups” to keep the stage clean. But now we need to guide the user what fields are required exactly on the form for this stage. This is also possible using Business Rules. Let me show you how!

This blog is part of a series about guiding users and teams through their work. This post is part about an advanced scenario called Task Groups. Click here for an overview of all related post regarding Task Groups. I also added a sample solution you can import in your own development environment so you can see the entire concept in action!

Keeping people in their flow of work by utilizing Asynchronous work or asynchronous processes is one of the key benefits for Business Process Flows. I have written down my thoughts on this subject here. Find out what asynchronous work is, how Business Process Flow can help and more advanced scenario’s.

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Task Groups help you guide work in Business Process Flow

Supporting business users in their work is why I get up in the morning. And in my experience it’s absolutely vital for the adoption of your apps to guide your user. One of the most important tools inside our toolbox of the Power Platform to do so, is a Business Process Flow. On top of that I like to use a concept I called “Task Groups”

This blog is part of a series about guiding users and teams through their work. This post is part about an advanced scenario called Task Groups. Click here for an overview of all related post regarding Task Groups. I also added a sample solution you can import in your own development environment so you can see the entire concept in action!

Keeping people in their flow of work by utilizing Asynchronous work or asynchronous processes is one of the key benefits for Business Process Flows. I have written down my thoughts on this subject here. Find out what asynchronous work is, how Business Process Flow can help and more advanced scenario’s.

Continue Reading “Task Groups help you guide work in Business Process Flow”

My 7 Power Platform Picks for the wave 1 release plan

Twice a year the Power Platform team gives us insight on where they will focus on for the next 6 months. They do so in a so called release plan. This is not the same as release notes as on any given time these plans might change, post-pone or even scrapped altogether. So please always look at the actual release plan when you want to look at what’s coming!

In this post I give my 2 cents on features that caught my eye. These are not necessarily the most anticipated / shiny new feature. It might be the ones I have personally experienced as a pain point or have some more thoughts about.

a person holding a notebook
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on Pexels.com
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Extend Power Virtual Agent with vertical buttons and make this reusable

Sometimes you just want something different then what is possible out of the box. We have a requirement where a client wanted the choices in Power Virtual Agent presented vertically instead of horizontally. Luckily we are working on a platform which helps us achieve such requests. We use the Bot Framework Composer to create a dialog. And with some engineering we can even make such a dialog reusable for the entire bot!

Shows the test window in Power Virtual Agent and how vertical buttons create a nicer user experience inside a chatbot dialog.
Vertical buttons make for a better user experience
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Power Platform at Microsoft Build 2020

The developer conference Microsoft Build was last week. This online only conference was a great success! The Power Platform even got a bigger stage then last year. And the story is similar as the one carried out by Scott Durow and Sara Lagerquist, #ProCodeNoCodeUnite

As I try to digest the news coming from Microsoft Build I will write down my thoughts. And let us start with the Rapid application development blogpost by Charles Lamanna. A write-up of all tools available in the Power Platform which lets you quickly build enterprise apps and automation. Not a lot of news per see, but it shows the focus the team has going into Build.

Rapid application development with the Power Platform
Rapid application development with the Power Platform

Describing the Power Platform as a rapid application development is something I’m used to since the XRM days. I have built a lot of solutions on Dynamics CRM which are not systems of engagement. But by using the tools available you could quickly build and add value.

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Desktop UI Flows – automate your legacy applications!

Following up on my previous blog about automating web apps with UI Flows, it’s time for legacy applications. I will show you how desktop UI Flows for windows applications can automate manual entries in legacy systems.

Imagine you are a call center agent and a new customer is calling to place an order. You enter their contact information and order details in your modern CRM system. However your organization still has a legacy order delivery system. Therefore you need to enter all information regarding their order again inside that application.

This can now be automated using Power Automate UI Flows! I record a UI Flow to enter contact information into this legacy system. A regular Flow inside a model-app starts the UI Flow. After the desktop UI Flow creates the contact in the legacy system a unique identifier is created. We grab the unique identifier of the just created contact. And as a result we can add this to our contact record in the Common Data Service. Let’s check out more details.

Scenaro description of the attended UI Flow automating legacy desktop application
Attended UI Flow scenario
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Automate web apps with UI Flows

So UI Flows for Power Automate is now general available! UI Flows is the new Robotic Processing Automation capability for Power Automate. For my talk on UI Flow during Dynamics Saturday Amsterdam I played around with the public preview. In this blog I will write about my experience automating a web app with UI Flows.

Let’s begin with a short explanation what Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) is and how it compares to Power Automate. The concept of RPA is around for some time now. RPA wants to automate user tasks just as Power Automate. However RPA does so by exactly mimicking the input done by the user. You record the mouse clicks and keyboard inputs and the robot replays those. While Power Automate is a Digital Process Automation tool who utilizes API’s wrapped in connectors to automate the tasks.

Power Automate bridges modern systems with legacy systems
Power Automate bridges modern systems with legacy systems

Microsoft bridges the gap between RPA and Power Automate with UI Flows. UI Flows are great for automating tasks on applications where there are no API’s available. So in my company we have one such application, we use it for our time registration. As a consultant I am scheduled to work for different customers. After my working week I register the time I worked for this customer. This is a mundane and simple task which I really want to automate.

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Synchronous and On-demand Flow inside Model Apps!

Let me first start of with wishing you all a happy new year. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. I enjoyed a few days off and spent it with my family. On to the subject at hand, synchronous and On-demand Flow in Model Apps. As most of you know Microsoft prefers us using Power Automate Flow instead of Classic Workflow. However there are still some gaps in functionality between the two.

When developing solutions I follow Microsoft guidelines as much as possible. This ensures that the solution is durable and I create the least technical debt. With that in mind, I now keep away from Classic Workflow and use Flow whenever I can. Last few weeks I tried to fulfill business requirements within these restrictions.

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Embedded Canvas App – Exploring the OnDataRefresh property

It’s been a while since my last blog. Life took over, but I now finally got round to it. I want to share my experience with the OnDataRefresh property of the Embedded Canvas App. I will continue with my previous example of replacing a dialog with embedded canvas app.

Previous posts:

  • Click here for part 1. In this post I describe the task scenario and show how to set up the Embedded Canvas App and save the task.
  • Click here for part 2. This describes how to use Microsoft Flow to set the owner of the task as the CDS connector did not allow us to do so.

First things first, let me start by apologizing. I gave you wrong advice in part 1. If you want to use the OnDataRefresh property you need to use a “single line of text” field which is required, rather than creating a new field which I proposed first

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Embedded Canvas App – Replacing dialogs – Part 2

In my previous blog post I started making an embedded canvas app to replace dialogs. I started off by creating the app, the screen, some basic navigation and the form. Finally, I added patch logic to save the screen. If you have not read part 1, do not worry this video shows the functionality. The patch logic shows the Relate function, which is very useful, so I would recommend to check that first.

In this post I want to focus on setting the owner of the task. Setting the owner of the task is important because this allows us to distribute tasks to teams or individuals. An entire team could then process the task assigned to them and work them to completion. In this case the credit check that the finance team has to perform will help us resolve the case.

I wasn’t able to set the owner of the task using standard functionality. The PowerApps CDS connector does not allow for updating the owner field. Neither does the Relate function work after the record is created. But of course I have a solution, we can create a synchronous Flow!

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