The Microsoft teams have been releasing some super cool quick and easy solutions. Microsoft has been doing some really helpful things and my intention is to help give visibility to multiple efforts which may have been overlooked or missed across multiple blog posts or tweets from a variety of different product teams. Not only that but Microsoft has made Office 365 E1 free for 6 months, and has been highlighting the freemium version of Teams. The Power Apps team has made the otherwise premium version of notifications free during the crisis as well. Microsoft has really been doing amazing things to help serve the community and the world in this crisis. I highly recommend starting by reading Microsoft CVP Jared Spataro’s “Our commitment to customers during COVID-19.”
Crisis Communication Power Platform Template – The solution is inspired by a rapid response app built by Schlumberger. This combines capabilities of Power Apps, Power Automate, Teams, and SharePoint. It can be used on the web, mobile or in Teams.
Key features include:
- Employees can report their work status (e.g., working from home) and make requests. This helps managers coordinate across their teams and helps central response teams track status across an organization.
- Admins can use the app to push news, updates, and content specific to their organization, and can provide emergency contacts specific to different locations.
- The app includes the ability to add RSS feeds of up-to-date information from reputable sources such as WHO, CDC, or a local authority.
Microsoft Announced: “As part of this effort, we are also giving all Power Apps users temporary access to a premium feature, Power Apps Push Notifications, so you won’t need any premium licenses to use Power Apps to push information to users. We have reclassified Push Notifications as a standard connector for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Crisis Management Site Communication Portal – How to instructions for creating a Crisis communications site. 4 Step instructions for building out the site. 1) draw wire frame content layout plan, 2) create the site from SharePoint start page, 3) edit and rearrange text, words, links, sections, layouts off of template, and 4) finalize design, content and permissions. The instructions include twitter integration for pulling in feeds, yammer integration for pulling in conversations, resource links, and much more. Here’s a snippet from the instructions:
Going left-to-right, top-down, the crisis management site uses the following web parts:
- Hero – use this to highlight the most important, or newest, content on the site. The one in the example uses the carousel layout.
- Text – use the rich-text editor to add and update the main intent of the site, or an important message. You can use and adjust color, font size, hyperlink and tables.
- Quick links – call out primary resources. These can be internal sites, pages, documents, videos, FAQs, and can be external links, too.
- Yammer Conversations – create an associated “Crisis Management” community and take questions and manage feedback directly from the site.
- Recent, related blog: “Keeping employees informed and engaged during difficult times”
- News – publish daily and weekly news posts. They will appear here on the site and flow into everyone SharePoint start page where News from sites appear.
- Twitter – pull in feeds from public Twitter handles; the above example (per COVID-19) highlights @CDCgov and I also suggest: @CDCemergency & @WHO.
- People – indicate the right people dedicated to the specific crisis. This is tied to Azure Active Directory and on-hover, visitors of the site will be able to see all their contact information.
There are a lot of good resources on this page as well at the bottom. Great resources:
Work Remotely with Microsoft Teams Guidance & Resource pages for links for administrators, communications teams and end users. Work Remotely With Microsoft Teams
You may not know, but even companies who don’t have Microsoft today can get FREE access to Office 365 for 6 months during this crisis using the free 6-month Office 365 E1 offer or the Freemium version of Teams. Reach out to your Microsoft account team or partner if you need help. I work at Perficient and I know we’ve been working hard to help people who are looking to get up to speed quickly.
Support remote workers using Microsoft Teams
There are a ton of great resources:
- New March 9, 2020: Work remotely with Microsoft Teams
- MS Teams 4 tips for working from home with Microsoft Teams
- Collaborate with Office 365
- Work remotely with Office 365
- 9 tips for working remotely
Absence and Out of Office Monitoring Dashboard Solution in Power BI
This solution is part of the Crisis Communication Template, but could be used without the app as well.
Here’s a link to the Git Hub solution: https://github.com/microsoft/powerapps-tools/tree/master/Apps/CrisisCommunication
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