How Did We Get Here?

The first thing that I want to get across to whoever reads this is…YOU CAN DO IT. If you’re reading this, you may have just embarked on your journey with the Power Platform, you’re organization is thinking about making the switch to go Low-Code, or you’re like me and knee deep in Power Platform, but routinely look up to marvel at where you are.

I’m Duke by the way…I have been working with the Power Platform for two years and have apps and flows in every time zone in the continental United States, hopefully I can get to Alaska and Hawaii, then the rest of the world.

How did we get here? My path to the Power Platform, may seem similar to yours or completely devoid of the nuisances and challenges that you’ve faced. However, we’re here.

I started working in a factory at age 25 while attending school full time, simultaneously. Prior to graduation, I accepted an analyst position in the IT department. For about 7 months I worked as a help desk technician assisting users with issues related to our ERP system. Although, I was grateful for this opportunity, I needed to find my spot and ultimately something that I owned. Each member of the team had their niche and they did well at it.

In the middle of all of this, the guy that took a chance on me and hired me left the company and I felt like I was in limbo. For about two months I did my job wondering what the next phase would be. I knew that new leadership would bring new challenges and who knows, maybe I’d lose my job. Fortunately, things turned out well and I was introduced to SharePoint.

I know, you probably thought that I would say I dove right into the Power Platform, but trust me its happened this way for a lot of people. SharePoint….I can’t say I was too happy about my new role as a part time SharePoint admin, but it was new for me and I had something that I could own. I thought it would be temporary as I was tasked with moving our current company intranet over to SharePoint online, but it blossomed.

The finance team was looking to replace their matrix approval flows. I knew nothing about flows in general (remember factory worker, now IT). Initially we were going to build them using the 2013 workflows in SharePoint, but they weren’t as robust as the CFO needed them to be. We needed a way to resolve this matter and I didn’t want to let my boss down as he was new to the company.

Playing around in a SharePoint list one day, I noticed that there was a button at the very top. The “Flow” button.

What was this “Flow” thing and why was it? Little did I know, it was at this moment that I “discovered” the Power Platform.

To meet the requirements of the finance department, the flow would need to follow our authority matrix for approvals which was manageable because flow has approval functionality, but the fun didn’t stop there, they wanted a dashboard.

There is one small problem with approvals in flow. In order to interact with the request, users would have to use Outlook, for our operation this wasn’t feasible and I wouldn’t recommend it for high volume requests.

Suffice it to say, I was stuck and our solution was incomplete, I’ve only been at this for about 3 months and there seemed like no way up. We needed this dashboard to complete our solution or we were dead in the water. After googling multiple combinations of “dashboard with flow”, “dashboard with SharePoint”, and the like, I once again made another “discovery”, Power Apps.

One week before I was to deliver the finished product, I scrapped all of my work and took a different approach using flow to move the requests once a determination was made in the custom dashboard in Power Apps. I watched tons of videos and practically slept in my basement to make sure we could deliver the solution on time.

During the duration of the project I discovered that I had an affinity for the Power Platform, so much so that I purchased my own tenant so I could make and break things. I began freelancing in addition to my day job and started networking to meet other #PowerAddicts.

Eventually, I left my position at my former employer to become a consultant at Hitachi Solutions of America because I wanted to do all things Power Platform – all day and I’m still learning and growing.

I wanted my first post to be a solution or a tutorial, but I wanted to let you know how we got here. The use of we is intentional. If there is anything that I learned while working on the Power Platform is that it is a community and you should leverage it. Commonality is an overarching theme in Microsoft’s Power Platform community, we may have different use cases and work in different industries, but believe it or not we are all solving problems to aid our businesses in streamlining their processes. I have seen so many different solutions created by the community and I often take bits and pieces and add them to my solutions. Now I’m at the point where I need to pay it forward and share.

We are accountants, former engineers. We are pro developers and citizen developers. The good thing about this platform is that there is a space for everyone, its inclusive. I urge you to follow some of the superstars in the community and if you feel so inclined subscribe and follow me.

We’re going to have fun…

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