Using apps to create an Ecosystem within Microsoft Teams

In today’s collaboration-first environment, Microsoft Teams is rapidly becoming the centre of the modern business. Providing an all-in-one space for communication, teamwork, and knowledge sharing. However, it can become more than that, using apps and automation. Microsoft Teams promises the single-pane-of-glass productivity ecosystem many businesses have been searching for.   

Part of what makes Microsoft Teams so compelling as a central environment for business performance is its flexibility. The open and agile nature of the Microsoft stack, combined with access to solutions like Power Apps and Power Automate, means companies can build their own end-to-end solution in Teams, complete with custom capabilities.  

Through application development within Microsoft Teams, businesses can finally connect all the tools they need for a successful workforce in one, unified space. This synergistic environment paves the way for consistent team experiences, even in a hybrid world. 

Creating a Powerful Ecosystem with Teams Apps and Automation 

Microsoft’s decision to open and enhance the Microsoft Teams environment responds to the rising number of newly distributed teams in the modern world. Via the Microsoft Dataverse for Teams, companies can empower their employees to become citizen developers or work with expert vendors if the project is more complex.  

The Microsoft Dataverse allows organisations to build unique workflows and apps inside of Teams in conjunction with Power Automate and Power Apps. This new, integrated experience means app makers can create and edit workflows within Teams itself, without having to switch between multiple services.  

With this flexible environment, it’s possible for businesses to effectively build out their communication and collaboration ecosystem, based on their unique needs. Applications in the modern world are a way to streamline business workflows and improve the performance of teams in a range of different environments. Apps can facilitate better customer service or support, or simply improve everyday business processes. Of course, for applications in your Teams environment to be truly effective, they need to be designed and deployed with the goals of your business in mind.  

The question for most businesses is simply, where does the application strategy begin? 

Step 1: Discover What’s Possible with Microsoft Teams 

 Apps are quickly becoming an essential part of business operations. Through apps and automation, companies can develop more streamlined environments for their employees to manage their day-to-day work in a digital environment.  

Building applications within Microsoft Teams allows companies to address common problems which may lead to efficiency or performance issues within the team. For instance, companies using the Microsoft Teams Power Apps and automation technology could build workflows to empower and enable hybrid teams trying to manage their schedules in a distributed environment. 

A Teams application could provide an automatic approval queue that sends requests for time off or paid vacation to the right HR managers instantly. The same technology could track things like IT inventory, expenses paid on a business account or guide new employees through an end-to-end onboarding process. Simple apps can make your UCC technology easier to manage, more convenient, and better suited to the needs of your team. 

Step 2: Develop a centralised approach 

The flexibility of the Microsoft environment means there is a wide range of automations and apps today’s citizen developers can build with access to the Microsoft Dataverse. This is an opportunity, but also a potential issue so good governance and clear policies outlined at the start is key. Creating too many different applications at once can be confusing and overwhelming for IT teams who will inevitably be called on to support and fix issues. 

With this in mind, it’s worth defining who will lead your Teams app strategy and who has the expertise in the business to develop successfully and manage permissions accordingly.  

Then, prioritise which apps should be developed and implemented first. The easiest way to get started is to ask yourself which parts of your business workflows are currently causing the most friction for your team? Where are the biggest hurdles affecting employee satisfaction and customer experience?  

For more complex needs it is also worthwhile appointing a Microsoft partner with expertise in the Power Platform and Teams to support you on your journey and even provide off the shelf applications. 

For instance, the Resonate Teams Voice management app can minimise the time associated with getting employees set up with critical voice functionality in an ecosystem. Automating the request process means you don’t have to sit around waiting for another member of staff to be available to help with onboarding and enabling a new team member.  

Alternatively, if employees are wasting too much time on managing call queues and attendants, the Resonate Call Queue and Call Attendant application can provide a self-service environment where owners can gain more control over their workflows. The best opportunities for automation and apps can often be found in the areas where your employees are wasting time on repetitive tasks.  

Step 3: Implementation 

Once you know exactly where you’re going to focus with your Microsoft Teams apps and automation, you can begin to look into implementing your new application-focused strategy. Thanks to the technology already built into Microsoft Teams, it’s easy to get started rapidly if you already have an investment in the Microsoft landscape. 

However, you may want to analyse your data environment first and ask yourself whether it’s important to map objects and connect streams of information before you start working on your deeper automation strategy. You may also need to work alongside your appointed partner and potentially the vendors of your existing systems that you may wish to integrate, who can help you to leverage specific features within your apps.  

Business leaders will also need to be particularly cautious about the standards and policies they implement for their new application strategy. You’ll need to standardise a set of rules about how applications should be assessed, approved, and implemented in your workplace, particularly if you’re going to be enabling citizen developers to access critical data sources.  

Ensuring your application strategy doesn’t come at the expense of compliance or performance will be essential to maintaining a successful app strategy long-term.  

Empower your Business with Apps 

Applications are everywhere in today’s digital-first business environment. Access to the right tools and technology in your Microsoft Teams ecosystem ensures your employees can unlock the functionality they need in a single pane of glass environment. With less time spent jumping between tools and services, teams can achieve a better level of efficiency and productivity.  

It’s time for today’s companies to discover how applications can empower their teams.  

If you’d like to discuss how Resonate can help you navigate this exciting new landscape, please get in touch.

More like this

How to Build a Centre of Excellence for Digital Transformation - 1
What is a Citizen Developer? Citizen development refers to the creation of apps and automation by non-IT employees who see opportunities for digital transformation in their wo ...
Creating an Agile Environment with Apps and Automation - 3
The age of apps and automation has arrived, enabled by a future where anyone can create, innovate, and implement new solutions into their business workflows.