In The Netherlands our colleagues are slowly returning to the office. To help coordinate a safe return to the office a workspace reservation app was developed, which had been built in Power Apps.
In this interview we caught up with our colleague Rik de Koning to discuss how he put together this app in just a few evenings and how, after some further development, several of our clients have also started using the app. This is a great example of the way that Power Apps enables you to automate a process in a very short time.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BUILD THE APP IN POWER APPS?
“At the end of the lockdown in The Netherlands, our development team built a reservation app in Azure. This app performed well, however it occurred to me that not all clients have an Azure environment they can use. I was curious to find out whether I could build an app in Power Apps in an existing (free) Office 365 license. I spent a couple of evenings on it and the Places app was born”.
HOW DID THE ORIGINAL VERSION WORK?
“The initial version of the app was very simple. The app was based on several SharePoint lists that housed the data and used the following basic rules:
- Each colleague could make 1 reservation per week.
- Reservations were available from 10am the preceding Friday.
- You could choose the location for the reservation, back then either Nieuwegein or The Hague.
- You could view the number of free places, as an indication of “how busy it was going to be”.
WHAT WAS THE NEXT STEP?
“Many of our colleagues had spoken to clients grappling with the same challenge: how to enable a safe return to the office. During these conversations our Rapid Circle colleagues would often mention
In a short period of time, we were able to expand the application and make it into a commercial product. Some of the clients currently using the application are Waternet, Regionale Ambulancevoorziening and Jumbo Martitiem.
It is great to see that it is possible to digitise a process so quickly and respond to changes in the way we work. When The Netherlands had a curfew in place, I built an app to automate the process of downloading, approving and showing the official notice from the employer to allow someone to be outdoors during the curfew”.
WHAT DOES THE APP WE CURRENTLY USE IN RAPID CIRCLE NETHERLANDS LOOK LIKE?
“We use the web version of the app in Rapid Circle Netherlands, which is available as a Tab in Teams. A number of colleagues have been given the rights to reserve a place for external guests.”
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE BUILDING THE APP?
“SharePoint has its limitations e.g. you can only save a maximum of 2000 reservations. Our organisation is small, so it wasn’t a problem, but in a bigger corporate environment you hit this number easily. We solved this by adding in an archive function which would archive older reservations in another SharePoint list.
During the integrations of Rapid Circle and Portiva, both organisations temporarily worked in their own Office 365 tenants. As we wanted to use the same app cross-tenants, we created a solution where a flow synchronised the date of both organisations”.
Do you want to know more about the Places app or about Power Apps? Let us know, we are happy to tell you more!