Sally in HR has a Business Problem – Part 7

In our last episode, The Forkleworks team presented their solution to Sally in HR’s Business Problem to the Acme Team.

Over the course of the following three weeks, Marlik and Itor had several calls with Sally and Art, making sure all their assumptions were correct and that nothing had been missed. Today was the date to present the final solution, and Scott had previously scheduled a call that was to begin right now.

“Happy to see everyone again,” said Scott, opening the meeting, “Rupert, glad you could join us as well.”

“Yes, eager to see what you guys have to show us,” said Rupert, “some mockups I assume?”

“Nope, the finished application,” said Scott, “but we won’t be showing it to you… Sally will.”

“Interesting,” said Rupert, “and why is that?”

“The team has been working closely with Sally on this,” said Scott, “she knows it as well as we do. What good is an app that only a partner can understand?”

“Fair point,” said Rupert, “Sally, the floor is yours.”

Sally engaged her mouse and launched Outlook, “We’ll start here, she said.”

“I think you accidentally opened the wrong thing,” said Art.

“Nope, Outlook is what I wanted,” Sally continued and clicked a button in the Outlook app launching a side pane, “what you are looking at here is our application inside of Outlook. We also have it in the Microsoft Teams HR channel. Anyway, here you can see an email I received from an employee inquiring about how much vacation time they have left. The side pane recognizes the employee and has already surfaced their record, and scrolling down I can see that she has 10 days available. I can reply to her with the amount of time and also a link where she can go to our new self-service Power Pages portal and get this information on her own in the future. Along with many other self-service options for her to update her personal information herself.”

“Okay,” said Rupert, “this is incredible, but I thought we were going to see an app, maybe I was confused?”

“Nope, not confused,” said Sally, “I’ll go there now.” She launched a screen that opened in a browser displaying four boxes. “As you may, or may not, know, we have four different roles in the HR department. We have entry-level people and interns doing some basic data entry. Then we have our HR Representatives who work with our employees. Then we have our Compliance team, and lastly my senior managers and I. Depending on your role, you can access one or more of these apps. Each one, while sharing the same data, is different. I will show you the Manager’s app first.” She clicked the box that said Manager’s App.

“So how do you keep someone from opening any app they want?” asked Art.

“Security roles,” said Sally, “each app is associated with a security role, if you have not been assigned the role, you would not see the app on that last screen. Only the ones you are allowed to see.”

“Yeah, Excel definitely could not do that,” said Rupert, “for this type of information, this is what we need. Sally, please continue.”

“Sure,” said Sally, “we’re now looking at a dashboard in the manager’s app. This has several charts and graphs of various KPIs, some of these are shared with the other apps and some are not. Some were created in the app and some were created in Power BI and displayed here. As you can see, several things have become obvious just from this page like some compliance issues that we were not previously aware of.”

“Of course, this is just demo data”, said Art attempting to reassure Rupert.

“No, it’s our live data,” Sally responded, “we worked with the Forkleworks team to import it all yesterday.”

“I think we should have had this meeting before you went live,” said Art, “don’t ya think?”

“I made an executive decision,” said Sally, “with the confidentiality flaws in our old process, my department has been crippled since the spreadsheet was on lockdown. But I have Itor and Marlik on standby.”

Sally continued to present the features of the app for another 30 minutes, and then taking a deep breath said, “Okay, that’s it, how’d I do?”

“Better than any of us could have,” said Scott, “but that’s no surprise to us.”

“Yeah, no surprise to me either!” said Art, obviously surprised.

“Rupert?’ asked Sally, “Your thoughts?”

“What? Sorry,” said Rupert, “my mind was elsewhere. So did you end up using the app you first built?”

“No, actually a portal made much more sense,” said Sally, “Now when we add a new record, an email automatically goes out to the new hire with a link to go fill in all their information online. No more copy-pasting for my team”

“Scott,” said Rupert, “I had no idea this was possible with the Power Platform, I am quite impressed.”

“We really just scratched the surface,” said Scott, “we have not even discussed Copilots and AI yet.”

“I looked at some AI stuff a couple of years ago,” said Rupert, “I was not impressed.”

“A couple of years is like a decade in that space,” said Scott, “Machine learning is already outdated, it’s all about LLMs now.”

“Okay,” said Sally, “I can see you guys are talking about something that does not involve me, so I’m going to go back and finish up training my staff on the new app.”

“Shouldn’t the Forkleworks team be doing that?” asked Art.

“No need,” said Sally, “I know as well as they do.” and she turned towards the door.

“Hey Sally,” said Iliad, “I know you think AI and Copilots are not relevant to you, but let me leave you with a thought. Imagine asking a question of your data, in the same way you would ask a colleague?”

Sally looked puzzled for a moment and then smiled, turned, and walked out the door.

“Okay, Iliad, enough with the theatrics,” said Rupert, “bring me up to speed on where AI is today, but mostly focused on what it can actually do for our business.”

End of Series.

The characters depicted in this series are fictional, any similarities to real people was entirely intentional.

I hope you have enjoyed this series, I have enjoyed writing and reading it. Along with my usual posts, I plan to do more of these types of series. I’m already thinking about the next series: “Acme Explores AI”.



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