5 Microsoft 365 Integrations You Should Be Using Now

One of the biggest perks of choosing Microsoft 365 as the core platform for your digital workspace is the ease and multitude of integrations. Employees often switch between 35 job critical-apps more than 1,100 times a day.* It’s our job as digital workspace specialists to provide our team with the tools they need to be successful, productive, and efficient. So how can we reduce the frustrations and wasted time of tool hopping? Integrations to the rescue. There are so many to choose from, but today’s list is tools/integrations that we consider low hanging fruit. In other words, if you’re not already using these, you probably should be.  

The Power Couple 

Our list begins with two mighty tools, Power Automate and Power Apps. 

Power Automate 

What is it? 

Simply put, it’s a tool to help you create automated workflows. Power Automate enables you to connect the tools you use every day to streamline processes and take the tediousness out of your workday. We use Power Automate for many workflows here at PixelMill. One of our favorites is the PTO request flow. At the click of a button, users can submit a request via a PTO form. It is then sent to their manager for approval via Outlook. When their manager approves the request, they are then alerted in Teams by a flow bot that their request has been approved (or denied), and if approved, their requested dates now display on the Team’s hub calendar, so everyone is in the know of each other’s schedules.   

For a quick visual, the flow looks like this … 

MS Forms –> Approvals —> Outlook –> MS Teams –> Calendar  

They also have a ton of pre-built templates and integrations with third-party toolsets outside of the Microsoft ecosystem like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday, just to name a few. 

Check out Microsoft’s quick video to learn more!

Who needs it? 

Everyone! 😊 No coding experience is required to take advantage of this tool. Power Automate does what its name implies—it empowers users to automate their own tasks. If your workday involves a repetitive task or workflow, Power Automate is probably for you.  

Why use it? 

Power Automate fosters efficiency and helps make better use of people’s time. You can streamline processes and remove roadblocks and frustrations. If you can remove just a few clicks from someone’s day, you can save them so much time in the long run; it all adds up! Remove manual processes so people can spend their time doing more important tasks that they enjoy.  


Power Apps

What is it? 

Power Apps solutions are typically centered around forms and getting people to share and provide data. We love this tool because, like it’s partner-in-crime, Power Automate, low to no coding knowledge is required. Power Apps is designed for rapid business application development. 


PixelMill
 has been experimenting quite a bit with Power Apps, and our delivery team has found great success with the 
Meeting Capture Power App for our client check-ins. This easy-to-configure application captures meetings notes and assigns follow up tasks for the team. When the meeting ends, it posts the notes directly into OneNote, adds the tasks to Microsoft Planner, and then emails the entire team, including the external attendees. Meeting Capture has been an enormous time-saver for Project Management and ensures everyone is on the same page at the end of a meeting. 
 


Who needs it? 

Anyone who wants to create a simple business application that can work on a web page or mobile device.  

Why use it?  

You’re now able to extend the Microsoft toolset, often without any coders and without long, complex processes. So the bottom line? It SAVES TIME! Empower non-coders to build mobile-ready business apps that will streamline operations and encourage efficiencies.   


In-line Training & Information by VisualSP: 

Training is often one of the greatest challenges to digital workspace adoption, engagement, and overall success. After all, if your team doesn’t know what’s available and how you expect them to use their workspace, you’re not setting them up for success. And we all know that one 8-hour day of training is never enough. The chart below speaks for itself. Ongoing training and support are key.  

Our friends at VisualSP have created an in-line training solution to give your users on-demand contextual learning and information when they need it, where they need it. Even better, VisualSP offers a free version of their application, available to everyone, connecting popular training material in-app, in-context

What is it? 

In-line information and training at the moment of need, in the flow of their work, and in the context of their environment. VisualSP has an extensive library of support and help resources built-in, and you can also extend to include your unique help content as well.  


Who needs it? 

Everyone. Anyone using your digital workspace can benefit from this tool.  

Why use it?  

Even the world’s most extraordinary training session can only deliver so much in the long run; people simply can’t absorb and retain everything they’re presented. Users often don’t know what they don’t know until they explore and use the tool themselves. Provide your team the help and information they need when they need it where they need it. Take the frustration away by empowering your users to get the help they need without waiting on you.  


Integrate Teams Apps with Third-Party Tools You’re Already Using: 

What is it?  

Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming the center of many organization’s digital workspaces. Help cut down on clicks and wasted time by bringing in third-party tools directly into Teams. You can manage the apps available to your team via the Teams admin center.  Here are a few many of our clients have found useful:  

Task Management Systems: Jira, Asana, Monday.com, Trello, Wrike 

HR: Workday, ADP, Kronos, Karma 

CRM Systems: Salesforce, Zoho, Monday.com, Freshdesk 

Meetings/Chat/Phone: Zoom, Webex, GoToMeeting, Confluence Cloud

Microsoft Teams continues to innovate when it comes to integrations. Microsoft recently opened up meetings to third-party developers to continue to embrace interactive meetings. This means we can expect to see some more integrations coming our way! 

Design Tools: MindMeister, Adobe Creative Cloud, Invision


Why should you use it? 

These integrations make it easier to get to the tools your team uses most. Fewer clicks mean less heartache and more time doing work on the important stuff. Plus, many of these integrations bring more visibility and transparency for your team.   

Pro-tip: If you’re looking to add a new solution to your digital workspace toolset, look to see if they have an app for Microsoft Teams. While this might not be a deal-breaker, it should be a checkmark on your pro-con list. This feature allows users to more quickly access their tools without having to go to multiple locations.   


Add-Ins for Outlook:  

What is it?  

Outlook offers many third-party integrations so you can speed up workflows and improve external communications.  

Who needs it?  

Anyone using email, so likely, anyone. 😉 

Why use it?  

External communications will always be a necessary part of business, and because of this, email is not going anywhere. Find ways to integrate third-party tools into email to streamline processes and save you time. Here are a few our clients have found beneficial:

Learn how to add Add-ins for Outlook here. 


Did we miss a must-have integration? Have you had success with one of these? Are you looking for help streamlining your processes? One of our Microsoft 365 experts would love to chat with you today 


*Tuesday report from Pegasystems Inc. After studying nearly 5 million hours of live desktop activity of operational support employees, the report found that the average employee switches between 35 job-critical applications more than 1,100 times every day. 

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