Retail Electricity And Natural Gas Supply Provider Modernize Its Legacy Apps Leveraging Microsoft PowerApps and Power Automate

Overview


VNB assisted an Electricity and Gas Supply provider to replace its legacy applications using Microsoft PowerApps, Power Automates and APIs.

Customer Profile

Customer is a certified competitive retail electricity and natural gas supply provider operating in 27 service territories in six states and Washington, D.C. Supply electricity and natural gas solutions for over 460,000 residential and business customers and take pride in making it easy for customers to buy, manage and use energy. Based in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois, Customer is committed to excellence by serving customers with value, innovation and many years of industry experience. Established in 2002, Customer is a wholly owned subsidiary, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States and ranked 185 of the Fortune 500. The Customer was developing an interest in Microsoft Power Apps.

Customer Situation


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Customer was going through a digital transformation leveraging Microsoft cloud platform. Microsoft PowerApps and Power Automate platform was chosen to replace legacy applications within the organization. After a rigorous RFP process VNB Business Apps team was chosen to replace its first legacy energy pricing application using PowerApps and Power Automate.

VNB Solution


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After conducting a detailed assessment of the client’s requirements, VNB Business Apps team recommended an architecture using Power Apps UI along with Power Automate to integrate with the on-Premise data sources leveraging API’s. The PowerApps UI allowed the users to easily navigate across the Menu bar and access the Pricing Queues and other screens. Additional functionalities included to get data for a specific date range, filter set up for all the columns to sort data as per need, access to historical data, color-coded rows to easily identify different workflow type, tabular view of information, security restrictions to allow users only with required permission to go beyond the landing screen, forecast reviews to determine usage for a certain period of time etc. Power Automate workflows were created to connect to the on-premises API and returns data which would be used by PowerApps application leveraging the PowerApps customer connector and On-Premise Data Gateway. The APIs were built to provide interaction with on premise data sources and contained the business rules and procedures to secure data. Token based authentication was used to generate the list of permission a User would have within the system. The overall solution was built with using reusable custom components and the user journey is a complete workflow as below: - Platform Independent: PowerApps is platform independent and can run on any devices - Low code Development: PowerApps is a low code development model. - Easy deployment and versioning: PowerApps provided its own versioning so no need to integrate with other source control systems. - Export to Excel: Using Power Automate/MS flow we can download the data in excel for from PowerApps.

Customer Benefits

  • No Down Time: Can be easily add new features into existing PowerApps, there will less or no downtime of PowerApps. Business processes will not be impacted.
  • Easy to Understand: MS PowerApps provide designer view which is very easy to understand by business users and operations teams.
  • Easy to Maintain: VNB provided Customer team training on PowerApps development. The team feels: PowerApps are easier to build, maintain and carry out any updates if required. Customer team is well-versed with PowerApps development process now and is comfortable to make any changes to the app if required in near future.
  • Insights into Business Processes: With the integration of MS PowerApps, Customer gets visibility in pricing request queues and can easily and quickly go through the whole workflow defined with various screens and accept/reject the request queue.
  • Ease of use: PowerApps based solution is easy to use for the users who are already working with O365. They have a good integrated experience on the app along with the other O365 apps in use in the organization.

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