Nashville Modern Excel & Power BI User Group August 2017

I will once again be joining the Nashville Modern Excel User group to speak. On August 17th I will be speaking on “Using Your On-prem Data in a Cloud World” – walking through the benefits of using your on-premises data with cloud-based tools such as Power BI, Microsoft Flow, and PowerApps.

Details can be found on the Nashville Modern Excel Meetup page.

[I will update this page after the meeting]

Cincinnati SharePoint User Group – June 22nd

On June 22nd 2017, I will again be speaking to the Cincinnati SharePoint User Group and this time around we will be discussing workflow. I will present the options for creating workflows in SharePoint and Office 365, as well as look at the process (and potential pitfalls) for upgrading your SharePoint Designer workflows to Microsoft Flow.

Find details on the topic, as well as register on the Meetup page.

[UPDATE]
Thank you so much to everyone who came out tonight to the meeting – I had a great time and the group participation was wonderful.

I mentioned tonight the Known issues and resolutions page Microsoft is maintaining for Flow – here is the link: https://ms.flow.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/release-notes/#known-issues-and-resolutions

There were a few questions about Flow during the meeting that I wanted to make sure I followed-up with – the list of questions & my answers are below:

  1. Can Microsoft Flow monitor list item changes while the Flow is running – meaning can another Flow instance start if a user updates a list item while the Flow is already running.
    • It is my understanding that if the Flow is currently running on a list item, another instance of the Flow will not start when a trigger occurs.
  2. Is there a trigger in Microsoft Flow for item deletes?
    • No, just like SharePoint Designer workflows, there currently isn’t a way to detect item deletes.
  3. Is there a particular patch level for SharePoint 2013 that is required for Microsoft Flow to connect?
    • I haven’t seen documentation noting a specific service pack or patch-level that is needed, but I will ask Microsoft for clarification and post the answer here.

Creating & Upgrading SharePoint Workflows – April 9th 2017

I am excited to be speaking once again at the Nashville SharePoint Users Group. The meeting on May 9th 2017 is in-person and via online meeting and the topic is “Creating & Upgrading SharePoint Workflows”. The details of my presentation are below.

For a long time, we have used workflow for automating business processes in every version of SharePoint, while using various tools to create them: out of the box workflows, SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio, & third-party applications like Nintex and K2.

  • Now that SharePoint Designer will no longer updated and there is a push to move to the cloud, what are we supposed to do now to automate tasks and business workflow?
  • What if you aren’t moving to Office 365 and just want to know what tool you should use to create workflows moving forward?
  • Should you migrate your existing SharePoint Designer workflows to Microsoft Flow or a third-party tool? What would that process look like?
  • Should you continue to build workflows using SharePoint Designer in SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016?In our time together, we will review those questions and more so you can be confident in your path forward with process automation, no matter what version of SharePoint you are using or where it is hosted!

[UPDATE]
I had a great time with the group tonight. There were some great conversation concerning the gaps between SharePoint Designer workflows and Microsoft Flow. Everyone stay tuned to this space and make sure you register for the May 16th Microsoft Virtual Summit.

SharePoint Saturday Nashville 2017

The fourth #SPSNashville will take place on April 8, 2017. I am honored to be working with a great leadership team and this year some of the most talented Office 365 and SharePoint technologists from the around the USA will be joining us for a FREE day of training.

Jeff Teper, Microsoft CVP SharePoint & OneDrive, speaking at SPSNashville 2016
Jeff Teper, Microsoft CVP SharePoint & OneDrive, speaking at SPSNashville 2016

We also have great sponsors who are delivering huge value in the community and will be showcasing their capabilities at our event. Check out our sponsors here.

This year, I will be co-presenting a session with Dan Evans, Microsoft Senior Technical Solutions Architect. Our session will highlight business intelligence (BI) options in SharePoint and Office 365. From Power BI, PowerApps, & Microsoft Flow, we will show you how all of it fits in with SharePoint to make a great BI solution. Our presentation is at 11:15am – join us! Register for SharePoint Saturday Nashville 2017!

SQL Saturday Birmingham 2017

SQL Saturday Birmingham is on March 18th and I will be there! We will be looking at Power BI and the new features it brings to SharePoint modern pages!

You can find out more about the event, as well as register on their website.

[UPDATED]
The #SQLSatBham event was great – a well-run program! I really enjoyed my time in Birmingham and if you have the chance to attend next time you should!

My session was fun and I had a great turnout. Talking about how Power BI and SharePoint together can tell a great data story is always fun!

Use Microsoft Flow to Send SMTP Email

Microsoft Flow is a new product from Microsoft and I am finding it to be a very useful tool. Flow can be a very convenient resource for sending email alerts when something I set as a ‘trigger’ happens. It is also a superior product to ‘IF This Then That’ products because of Flow’s ability to have many steps and conditions. Flow can be used to send email in several ways, but today I will cover how to set up a custom SMTP connection. Flow is in Preview, so some screens or options shown on this post may change.

NOTE: I am going to show how to set up an SMTP connection to GoDaddy’s email service, but any SMTP service that allows connections will work.

First, go to the GoDaddy website and log into your account. Then, click on your name (#1 below) and then select the Visit My Account link (#2 below).

Godaddy account
GoDaddy account

Once you are on your account page, click on the Manage link next to the email listing.

GoDaddy email link
GoDaddy email link

Next, find the account you will be using for your email relay. Select the drop-down menu (#1 below) and then click the Email Setup Center link on the menu (#2 below).

GoDaddy email acount selection
GoDaddy email account selection

When the Email Setup Center page loads, make note of the Outgoing server (SMTP) settings.

GoDaddy smtp settings
GoDaddy SMTP settings

Then head over to the Microsoft Flow website and login. Once you have logged in, click on the person image in the top-right corner (#1 below) and then select My connections in the menu (#2 below).

Microsoft Flow access connections
Microsoft Flow access connections

Select the Add a connection link at the top of the Connections page.

Microsoft Flow add a connection
Microsoft Flow add a connection

When the connection types load, select the SMTP link.

Microsoft Flow SMTP link
Microsoft Flow SMTP link

Then fill out the SMTP connection settings with the information you noted earlier from the GoDaddy Email Setup Center. I am using port 80 and not using SSL encryption in the example below, but you should use security best practices when configuring your service. Click the Create connection link when finished.

Microsoft Flow SMTP settings for GoDaddy
Microsoft Flow SMTP settings for GoDaddy

Once the connection is created, create a new Flow. Create a trigger, in the example below I am checking for a Tweet. Then Add an action, and type email (#1 below). This will filter the list of actions to only show email items. Then select the SMTP – Send Email action (#2 below).

Microsoft Flow add SMTP step
Microsoft Flow add SMTP step

Then enter the required information for the email. In the example below, I am sending an email to test@example.com, with an email subject of “New Tweet Appears – [The Tweet text]”, and an email body of “There is a new Tweet by [who created the tweet]!”.

Microsoft Flow SMTP step settings
Microsoft Flow SMTP step settings

Finally save your Flow and give it a test. I have found that it might take a minute for the Flow to start checking Twitter, but you should receive an email any time the condition you set is met!

Happy Flow creating!