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A digital leap of sales supported by Microsoft Power Apps

7.12.2020

Applications developed with Microsoft Power Apps, a part of wide variety of Office 365 software and cloud services, combine data from a variety of source systems. They can also be used to digitize manual processes as well as workflows handling large amounts of data. This saves time as work becomes more efficient and the quality of work improves, while human errors are reduced. 

Among other things, Power Apps makes it easy to build electronic forms for a variety of needs, from staff satisfaction surveys to resource reservations. When combined with different workflows, they act as tools for process digitization. 

In the past, developing such forms and workflows with customized solutions was expensive and difficult to maintain while requiring a large amount of work. For example, updating customer data required a lot of integration work, and data security became a challenge at every turn. If the mobile version of the application was needed too, the project became even more expensive and difficult. 

Today, the easy-to-use Power Apps has standardized form creation by providing a ready-made form editor that allows a power user to tune in to a wide range of user interfaces and data source systems. It is also possible to process media files with Power Apps. Security is secured in Office365’s Azure cloud, so it’s safe to develop applications that solve organizations’ challenges. 

Mobile sales tool on the go 

Sales, inventory, customer relationship management and human resource management are common core processes for which solutions built with Power Apps are ideally suited. The successful results of our customer projects speak for several benefits. 

Our customer in transportation industry benefited from a sales personnel’s mobile app implemented with Power Apps, which was launched about six months ago. The app shows the contacts that sellers need to get in touch with in the near future to reach their weekly goal based on the number of contacts received from sales management. 

Salespeople can also add their own contacts using the Power Apps basic form. In addition, the app adds quotes in its own section. When a salesperson adds a quote, it goes to several different parties within the organization to ensure that it is prepared in accordance with consistent practices, and all parties involved within the organization are aware of the quotation. 

Documents such as quotes, and contracts are centrally located in an archive built into SharePoint. Document commenting is integrated directly into the tool, so quote and contract-specific discussions are easily accessible when needed. 

From manual tasks to comprehensive reporting 

This solution also serves as a PowerBI-built reporting tool for management, serving management staff at two levels. First, the tool supports the assessment of the quality of salespeople’s work and the achievement of goals from the point of view of the sales manager. 

At the same time, the application’s reporting features support the monitoring by sales management in terms of volumes and euros, as well as the quality of contacts, for example in terms of regional and salesperson-specific differences and other trends. The reporting tool enables a holistic view of sales operations from a helicopter perspective that the organization did not previously have. 

Although things were in order by process before the tool was deployed, the operational activities involved a lot of manual work, such as gathering and entering data into various Excel and SharePoint lists. There were scattered tools that were not connected to each other, and documents and information were often located in salespeople’s emails. 

With the solution built on Power Apps, the organization has achieved a number of significant benefits that have streamlined operations and increased productivity in a short period of time. Among other things, reactive activity has disappeared, and the traceability of measures has improved, as transparency and the predictability it brings have improved as practices in the sales process have renewed. 

Potential for many benefits 

The tool has streamlined salespeople’s work in the field by enabling them to make quotations faster and follow-up on them more securely. The quality of the quotes has also improved and harmonized. The tool is being extended elsewhere for use by the sales organization to expand quote management. 

However, the most significant difference between current and past performance is the way in which the tool and the resulting renewed practices at different stages of the sales process have brought together and enhanced collaboration between salespeople and different sales departments. Intensified cooperation has accelerated the service of the process towards the customer, both qualitatively and in terms of time. 

Power Apps running in the familiar Microsoft operating environment offers countless opportunities to digitize business and community processes. Typically, all of our clients continue to develop either the same or a new process, as benefits like the ones I mentioned above materialize in day-to-day doing as well as among key goal metrics. 

Business digitalization by one process at a time 

When digitizing processes, Power Apps supports agile development in terms of both tools and related practices. The groundwork for this development project in terms of process diagrams and taking a closer look at one’s own work may sound cumbersome and does indeed require a genuine willingness to do as well as support from management. 

However, the results are invariably always very positive and valuable to the organization. Often, during the project, useful aspects also arise that do not always come to mind. For example, employee involvement during the development process has a significant impact on the outcome. 

The most successful project implementations are those where, in the end, employees feel valued when the organization have invested in their work and the improvement of working conditions, they have been able to make an impact, and the end result serves their daily lives. The tool must therefore be as practical as possible to serve both its users across the organization as well as management. 

In essence, digitizing processes is about simplifying work into a more consistent operation that takes place through a single tool. If there are many manual – and often person-dependent – ways to do things in your organization, it’s time to start thinking about how you can combine all of these things into one tool and reform the way processes work. 

Jari Kyläjärvi 
Managing partner 

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