2021-04-08

I distinctly remember when Mark told me he had a “Microsoft 365 challenge” for me.

He wanted me to re-build the Collab365 Daily Digest newsletter service using the Power Platform, SharePoint and Teams. To help me learn, he gave me access to all of our on-demand summits, eBooks, YouTube, and if I wanted, access to any online course.

I remember it well as I felt sooo excited …

I had always loved playing with “tech”, and what’s not to like about giving my resumé / cv a massive boost in skills!

The only snag about the challenge was starting as a complete Microsoft 365 novice and learning it without guidance from the team (there was a reason).

My only “Microsoft experience” was using the “big 3”, namely Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I didn’t even know that Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI existed, let alone what they did.

Even though I had thousands of hours of training at my disposal, pretty early on, I hit some significant roadblocks that left me sitting there feeling like I was making NO progress or, even worse, building it completely wrong.

Here are just some of the frustrations I experienced:

  1. I didn’t know how to design the application. Do I start with the screens (UI) first or the data? You can’t Google/Bing “How to build a [Insert your solution] in Power Apps and SharePoint”. There are very few courses out there that show you how to build your exact solution.
  2. How do I manage security, licensing, logging/analytics, testing, deployment, to name but a few! Licensing is undoubtedly one to watch out for as your “ideal solution” could hurt your companies bank balance!
  3. Microsoft has way too many options! The one thing I’ve learned is that Microsoft offers too many solutions to a given problem. Take the choice of data store, for example. Do I use SharePoint Lists, Excel, Dataverse (the new CDS) or some Azure services like table storage?
  4. I didn’t know how much I needed to know about each application. You can spend hundreds of hours just learning something like SharePoint, but at what point is it enough? How much do I need to know, and more importantly, which bits can I skip?

In all honestly, although I’ve learned a lot, the experience was hugely frustrating. I have thrown away more than I have created because I went down too many dead ends.

Why Was I Thrown In The Deep End?

You may think it was a bit “weird” to leave me to my own devices, but there was a method to the madness.

For 2021 and beyond, training others on Microsoft 365 is a massive goal for Collab365. To help us provide you with the best training we possibly can, we needed to experience what worked well (tips, tricks, successes) and what didn’t work well (frustrations, problems, worries).

In short, I was the guinea pig.

We’ve since had countless conversations where I’ve shared everything from my “hell yeah” moments to my darkest days. As we’ve learned the barriers for someone like me, we can deliver training that does more of what worked for me and less of what didn’t!

Say “Hello” To The 5-Hour Workshop I Wish I’d Attended.

The first workshop that aligns with our “new way” will be delivered by Mark Stokes (from Attollo Intranet).

Mark will be running a 5-hour workshop that teaches you how to build a notifications and alerts app using Power Apps / Power Automate and SharePoint.

Mark’s goal is to teach you how to build a real-world application in Microsoft 365 from scratch.

The workshop will teach you:

  • How to design a solution and validate it against the requirements.
  • It will introduce you to Power Apps and Power Automate as well as how to connect them to Data sources.
  • Step by step build of the application so that you can repeat the steps in your own business.

Check the Workshop out here – Learn (step-by-step) how to design & develop a ‘real-world’ Power Platform solution from scratch!

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About the author 

Connor Deasey

It's my ambition to learn and share my experiences with Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform, to provide a fantastic learning experience. I'm a keen videographer and also assist with daily operations at Collab365.

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