In this post, we won’t get too technical just yet, but we will take a look at an introduction to the power of contextual data from the wider Microsoft Cloud provided by Microsoft Graph and how we can improve UX and create more impact by utilising this data when we build solutions on the Power Platform.
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What we’re currently doing wrong
So you might be wondering what I mean when I talk about taking contextual data from the wider Microsoft Cloud to utilise in our Low Code solutions built on the Power Platform.
Effectively what I’m talking about here is using the data that we, almost without notice, constantly create on a daily basis using the productivity tools and infrastructure tools provided by the Microsoft Cloud such as the Microsoft 365 productivity applications, Microsoft InTune, and more.
On a day to day basis, we’re creating meetings, utilising our calendars as sources of truth to people’s availability, controlling employees devices using management platforms like InTune, we’re sending chat messages, utilising groups for collaboration and so much more.
This is all data we create, but I find, we don’t ever think about as much as the data we more explicitly create by populating a Dynamics 365 form, or something like that. We so commonly create solutions for managing data that we very manually capture, with data examples being things like, customers, external contacts, service issues or ‘cases’, sales, projects and more.
We might create solutions to create this kind of data, or automate processes around it that tap into the toolset we have available using actions like send an email and others, or we might report on that data. But what I don’t so commonly see solutions include, is those actions taking advantage of that data we create using productivity tools such as Microsoft 365 or infrastructure and management tools such as InTune.
The alternative approach
So, what am I thinking is the best way to approach this, or a ‘best practice’ when coming to utilising the entire ecosystem, or at least considering parts of the wider platform?
The answer right now is, I’m not 100% sure, and I think I’ll be thinking about this for a long time to come. But what I’m sure about through discussions with others on this topic, is that through utilising the contextual data we unconsciously create day to day, we could be making solutions so much more powerful, delivering better user experience, and impact.
Resource in Healthcare
One of the huge standout examples that my community friend Stephanie Stasey came up with following my session on this was if we we’re to use the contextual data on people’s availability in a healthcare scenario when a clinician of a specific knowledge base was required.
We could design and deliver a solution which could allow hospital workers to request support from certain types of clinicians, but only request those with current and short term future availability.
Firstly, this could speed up the process of manually reviewing lots of different clinicians calendars especially if there isn’t an immediate understanding of their role which we can make visible with the Graph API.
Not only that, but we could also instantly return available resource without actually having to look at their availability manually at all, with them being the appropriate resource!
Meeting booking from a Low Code solution
Another more basic example that might be useful in scenarios of booking meetings regarding an incident, case, or perhaps an opportunity in Dynamics 365 would be to use the contextual data of people’s availability, tapping into their calendars, to instantly determine whether a meeting time would be suitable.
This would prevent the need to manually head over to their calendar in Outlook, by utilising that contextual data, accessible with the Microsoft Graph API.
Thanks for checking out this series on Microsoft Graph and Power Platform. If you’re enjoying this series, be sure to subscribe to my blog in the footer of this site to get my latest posts.
Next in this series on Microsoft Graph, we’ll take a look at diving into the more technical capabilities by looking at the Microsoft Graph Explorer. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your inbox or my blog for that post coming tomorrow!