Microsoft Office365 Integration with Appian

Procensol > Procensol Labs > Microsoft Office365 Integration with Appian

Brief summary

Procensol’s Tim Clarke was a finalist in the Appian World Hackathon 2019 with his Appian Microsoft 365 Integration. Selected from a global pool of apps submitted for the annual Hackathon, Tim Clarke has successfully combined Office365 integrations, sentiment analysis, case management and advanced user interface (UI) design within the Appian Platform.

The inspiration for the application was to demonstrate the breadth of capability of the Appian platform, including the ease of integration and the advanced user interface design capabilities. The two biggest recent enhancements to the Appian platform have been its powerful Connected Systems and much finer control over the advanced UI capabilities.  You can learn more about this useful Appian innovation in the video below or on the Procensol website.

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“I wanted to show off the power of the platform as the most common question I get asked is “what does Appian do?” – my answer is always “what do you need it to do?”

Source: Tim Clarke

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Tim Clarke

Director, Sales & Marketing

About the Author:Tim Clarke oversees Procensol's sales and marketing operations in the UK and Europe and is responsible for driving growth for Procensol's clients and service partners. Tim has close to 20 years of experience in the IT industry specialising in end-to-end application architecture design, implementation and integration. Prior to joining Procensol, Tim spent seven (7) years delivering BPM based case management solutions from a customer's point of view. This gives Tim a unique advantage of truly understanding what businesses are looking for, the challenges they face in the current market and how best to maximise your BPM solutions.

This article was originally published on the Appian Devpost site as part of Tim Clarke’s Appian World Hackathon submission in 2019.

Inspiration

The 2 biggest enhancements to the Appian platform over the last few releases have been the powerful Connected Systems and much finer control over the Advanced UI capabilities. I wanted to show off the power of the platform as the most common question I get asked is “what does Appian do?” – my answer is always “what do you need it to do?” so highlighting the GUI and integration possibilities is always my biggest aim.

What it does

This build is a combination of 2 applications built to showcase the advanced integration and UI capabilities of the Appian Platform. As a user I have access to my emails, calendar, files and contacts (via Office365) and the ability to create cases directly from those emails. The main use case would be to handle complaints/negative feedback using sentiment analysis which can highlight to the user particular emails that should be prioritized for this reason. The user can quickly create a Case using the email content then switch to the Case Management application and respond accordingly.

How I built it

The O365 integration makes use of the Microsoft Graph API and Appian’s Connected Systems to create a OAuth2.0 security grant to access the User’s O365 data. The Appian application required registration in the Azure Active Directory and configuring to allow the callback operations to Appian. Various Graph API endpoints were then enabled to offer the connections required for this demo. I then used Appian’s built-in sentiment analysis function to scan the content of the email body and highlight any negative scores. The Case Management application has a web api that can receive a payload for creating a case from an external source so I created a mapping expression to format the email data correctly for the underlying Case datastore. I then combined the two applications to show the strength of Integrations, rich UI and Case Management.

Challenges I ran into

Finding the correct settings for the Office365 integrations could be a bit “trial and error” on both sides, particularly understanding the “scope” requirements for the Connected System, once this was done a large amount of data was available so it was all about finding the correct API calls. The Graph API responses contain heavily nested data but thankfully Appian’s native conversion from JSON to Dictionary really helped me to dial down to the correct attributes. Finding the right balance between performance and UI fidelity is also a challenge on such busy interfaces especially when the data is consumed from an external source.

Accomplishments that I’m proud of

I think the Outlook UI in particular really shows off the power and capabilities of Advanced UI design on the Appian Platform. Whilst acknowledging that it’s unlikely anyone will want a re-build of the Outlook UI it’s important to open users and designers minds to what can be achieved, I’m often disappointed when I see the standard 2 column layout designs as Appian is capable of so much more and building an engaging and functional UI design is a skill in itself. It was fun to try and find the correct sweet spot for the various icons and layout choices.

What I learned

Even I was surprised at how close an approximation I could make to an Outlook email client, those I have shown internally have been amazed and the fidelity available in the UI.

What’s next for Appian: Microsoft 365 Integration & Case Management

There are many more integrations points available in the Graph API. I have customer requirements for complex diary management and for SharePoint integration so the lessons learned from this submission will be of great benefit.

Connection instructions can be obtained by following the link added in the submission.

Built With: Appian

Original source: Appian Devpost Hackathon 2019 Site

Author image

Tim Clarke

Business Development Director, Appian Solutions Architect

About the Author:Tim Clarke oversees Procensol’s sales and marketing operations in the UK and Europe. He has 20 years experience in information technology, specialising in end-to-end application architecture design, implementation and integration.