Since the public preview of PowerApps Component Framework (PCF), I always want to build a component that enhances the user experience (UX) in model-driven apps in Common Data Service (CDS) or Dynamics 365.
Recently, I had an opportunity to build a component with PowerApps Component Framework (PCF) that will save several mouse clicks from each user.
I literally started building a PCF component using a paper and a pencil. I thought of sharing my experience in this mini-blog series.
Activity and document management in CDS
People uses Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to keep track of every interaction with customers in one place. If users have to juggle between many applications to see all interactions, it will not be productive.
CDS includes an activity management, tracking emails, tasks, phone calls, letters, and appointments. Users can sync these activities between CDS and Exchange.
Being able to send an email directly from CDS is convenient to users, as they don’t need to switch to Outlook to send an email. If an email is sent from a case, the email will automatically associate with the case, giving a 360 degree view.
Today, users often use SharePoint as a central document management system to store documents related to cases and customers. CDS offers out-of-the-box integration with SharePoint, thus integration is merely a couple of mouse clicks. Everything is perfect.
Attaching documents in Email
When users send an email to the customer in CDS, they often need to attach documents from SharePoint by going through following steps:
- Open a case record
- Navigate to Documents tab
- Click a file to download*
- Choose a local folder to save the files* (several clicks to navigate and create a new folder)
- Navigate to Activity tab
- Add a new Email
- Save the email
- Click Attach File button from the command bar*
- Choose a file from the local folder* (several click to navigate to the correct folder)
- Repeat the whole process if the user needs another file from SharePoint
*Repeat if more than one file is needed
You can clearly see the user experience (UX) is horrible. Look at followings:
- Users have to download each file individually
- Users have to store files locally in an organised manner
- Users will not know know if local files are outdated
- Users have to attach a file individually
- The worst part? Users have to go through the whole process if they forget to download a file.
In the next post, I will show you how I plan to tackle the problem. Stay tuned for Part 2 – The Sketch.