Many organizations and companies choose to block Teams apps that do not come directly from Microsoft, but they approve all team apps from Microsoft and these are thus possible for users to add to Teams.
A challenge with this approach to success is that users do not know how to go about asking for permission to access and use any of the apps that are blocked. Often, IT also does not have routines or solutions to handle this smoothly. In other words, it becomes a source of confusion and inertia in the organization.
When it comes to simplifying and automating processes, we usually, in Microsoft 365, have the tools needed to build simple value-creating solutions with simple means and basic knowledge. In this case, like so many others, we can build a simple and fully functional solution by using Power Automate and Microsoft Forms.
It is of course possible to build even more elegant solutions with even more logic and automation than the one I show below, but the purpose of this post is to show you how easy it can be to get started with Power Automate and Microsoft Forms
How to build a simple “App Request Solution”.
Create a Form
Open Microsoft Forms and create a Form with the fields you consider important for the user to fill in so that you can carry out an analysis/review to decide whether to allow the app or not.
Create a SharePoint Page
Create a SharePoint page on a SharePoint site that everyone in the organization can access. Embed the form on this SharePoint page. By doing this, you can also make this ordering function available “Standalone” on your intranet or as a link in a community in Yammer/Viva Engage.
Copy the link to this SharePoint page to be able to use it later in this solution.
Create a Teams channel
Create a Teams channel that will be “Recipient” of the requests. This is where the requests should appear and then be handled by those who are responsible.
Create a Power Automate-flow
This Power Automate flow should do the following
- Be triggered by new response from order form.
- Retrieve the field values from the response.
- Create a formatted message in a channel
(Here you could of course, with advantage, set up an approval process with a workflow instead of posting a simple post to a channel, but sometimes simple is often good enough.)
Configure settings in Teams Admin Center
In the Teams Admin Center
- Go to “Teams apps” and select “Manage Apps”.
- At the top right, click the button called “Org-wide app settings”.
- In the side panel that then appears, scroll down to the heading called “User requests configuration”. Here you can enter an informative short help text to be displayed to the user when he/she orders an app.
- Enable “Redirect requests to external link” and paste the url to the SharePoint page that contains the embedded form.
- After that, click “Save” and this is all you need to do in the Teams Admin Center.
Please note that if you already have a Helpdesk system, perhaps with ready-customized forms for this type of request, then the rest of this solution is redundant and you can instead enter the link to your helpdesk system’s form. (But now we assume you don’t have this).
You should not have to do more than this. Now it’s just a test drive.
A user has found a new app that she/he wants
A user has clicked on the “Apps icon” in Team’s left menu and searched for the new app she/he wants.
When the person clicks on it, the information text you previously entered in the Teams Admin Center is now displayed. He/she also sees the “Request Approval” button.
When the person concerned clicks on this button, he/she is taken to the SharePoint page on which you embedded the form.
When the person has filled in the required fields in the form and submitted it, our Power Automate flow takes care of the further process and creates the post in the channel we selected.
Since the people who are responsible for the Team Apps have of course set up a notification for new posts in this channel, they are alerted to this new request and can begin their work of analyzing and then hopefully approving the app so that it becomes available to those who ordered it.
If you have some experience with Microsoft Teams, Power Automate and Microsoft Forms, you will see that this is an extremely simple solution and you will hopefully also see that this can be built even more smoothly.
For those of you who are beginners in the field and who can actually identify with this need, this can be a good first solution to start with on your way towards automating/digitalizing your simple internal processes that provide great value for your end users (and hopefully also for your IT staff).
Good luck with your further automation. 🙂