The client company

The client is a leading HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) company that specializes in the fabrication of ductworks for a variety of building types and projects. Its purpose is to deliver high volume requirements to customers utilizing innovative and automated pieces of machinery.

Due to having various stakeholders in their projects, the company needs a comprehensive and synchronized PowerApps Portal extranet so that everyone can use it to their advantage. PowerApps Portal extranets offer organisations a secure solution for sharing files and information among stakeholders.

Extranets allow managers to strictly control and monitor access to documents so it is a smart way of sharing sensitive documents compared to emailing or posting. This was exactly the problem that the client was facing, they needed an HVAC client portal to share documents and get updated about the ongoing process. 

CLIENT

HVAC manufacturer
Established 1969

field of work icon

FIELD OF WORK

HVAC sheetmetal ducting manufacturer

TECHNOLOGY

PowerApps portal (CDS)
Power Automate
M-Files API integration

What were the challenges?

Do you still use email services to keep in touch with your customers and send/receive files related to projects? If yes, you should think twice and know that this old school method seems not to be an appropriate fit for business-related activities anymore.

That was the case for this company. Using the conventional email services, they had no other option but to receive their documents, such as the mechanical drawings, from stakeholders (builders, mechanical contractors, installers, manufacturers) via email. The client staff then had to upload them manually on their document management system called M-Files.

Moreover, another internal system, known as SmartSheet, was used inside the company to show delivery times. However, despite the importance of this data, they could not show them to the stakeholders since stakeholders did not have access to the SmartSheet system.

Above all, both of these systems were limited to their internal staff, meaning that no one from outside the company could access the information. The client needed to provide a secure online ordering PowerApps portal to receive orders and share orders’ status among involved parties. Thus by utilizing the office 365 PowerApps Portal extranet, external partners can have secure access to specific content and can collaborate with other partners to increase productivity.

 

How did the PowerApps portal extranet help?

365 Digital Consulting provided workable solutions using PowerApps Portal and CDS to ensure all stakeholders are aligned with the same information in three approaches below:

  1. Using the PowerApps Portal extranet, the company could create user accounts for their stakeholders and allow them to access their necessary files related to their project and data on the company’s M-Files system.
  2. Next, using the PowerApps portal and M-Files integration, the external parties could have limited access to the data they want from the M-Files with the help of CDS, and get updated about the latest status of their ongoing projects. So part of the system provides a bidirectional synchronisation between M-Files data and CDS using MS Flow and REST API.

Additionally, they were allowed to attach the documents they needed through the dedicated designed forms and it was automatically pushed into M-File without human effort. 

  1. Finally, by PowerApps portal and SmartSheet integration,  registered details of the local SmartSheet system were presented into PowerApps Portal to allow partners to have access.

Now, the M-files and SmartSheet integration with office 365 allow three stakeholders to have access to the information they need without direct access to its source. Users can have secure access to the required information and be able to make changes on their own projects.

PowerApps Portal extranet integration

What were the final results?

The system is now a collaborative platform for HVAC stakeholders on Office 365 to share real-time information and data for construction projects, and ensure ease and correct information flow at all times, whilst helping the mechanical services to have better connectivity within the supply chain.

The PowerApps Portal extranet will provide staff, customers, installers, suppliers, and builders with a platform to submit and review orders online, amend status’ online, upload and easily access files/documents (eg construction drawings, site measures, delivery dockets), access job and order correspondence, whilst also tracking overall project status’ at high level.

After the adequate implementation of M-files and SmartSheet integration with office 365, all stakeholders can now get informed about the current status of the ongoing project, access the required documents, and take the necessary action in case they fall behind the schedule.

Moreover, they are not obliged to use email services anymore to submit orders, send, and receive drawing files. Users on the PowerApps portal extranet can access all the required data through their dedicated panels and submit their requests online.

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