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Aerie Asked & Answered (1)

Leveraging Power Automate to Simplify Permissions and Enhancements

Welcome to the first edition of Aerie Asked & Answered, our exciting new blog series.

Here, we explore a mix of inquiries we've received, stumbled upon online, or pondered internally. Join us as we dive into these questions and uncover the answers.


I work in a big firm and we use SharePoint 2019 and network drive for most of our work. In my department I am responsible for administration of rights for this. We have a lot of fluctuation so I have to regularly remove and add people to the system but the regulation is awful for both user and admin.

I have a simple PDF where the team lead writes down the SharePoint, Exchange and Network folders for the newcomers. Than he has to give me this file and I share the file to the owner of these. They sign it, send it back to me and I am allowed to give them the rights to access. (Regulation says only the owners are allowed to "accept" people to there sites but they don't do administration themselves) In some worst case scenarios the team leads already is the owner of 6-7 folders and teamsites and he has so sign it 6-7 times. Horrible.

Any idea of how I could automate and make this more user friendly with SharePoint?

Hi there!

It sounds like you're dealing with a cumbersome manual process that could definitely benefit from automation and streamlining. Since you're using SharePoint, you can leverage its capabilities along with Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow) to automate the process of adding and removing users based on approvals from the necessary parties. Here are some steps and ideas to consider:

1. Digital Forms with Microsoft Forms or PowerApps
Replace your PDF process with a digital form using Microsoft Forms or develop a more customized solution with PowerApps. This form would collect all the necessary information about the newcomer, including which SharePoint sites, Exchange mailboxes, and network folders they need access to.

The form can dynamically adjust to show certain fields based on previous answers (e.g., if the team lead is also the owner, it could skip asking for additional approvals).

2. Automated Workflows with Power Automate
Use Power Automate to create workflows that are triggered when a new form submission is received. The workflow can handle multiple tasks:
a) Sending Approval Requests: Automatically send approval requests to the owners of the respective SharePoint sites, Exchange mailboxes, and network folders. If the team lead is the owner for multiple resources, they can receive a single consolidated approval request instead of multiple ones.
b) Granting Access Upon Approval: Once approval is granted, the workflow can automatically add the user to the respective SharePoint groups, Exchange mailboxes, and network folders. SharePoint and Exchange Online have PowerShell cmdlets and REST APIs that Power Automate can leverage for these actions.
c) Notification: Notify you, the requester, and the newcomer once the process is complete.

3. SharePoint Lists for Tracking
Use a SharePoint list to track the status of each request. This can serve as a dashboard where you can quickly see which requests are pending, approved, or require your attention. It can also store historical data for auditing purposes.

4. Documentation and Training
Once you've set up this automated process, create documentation and conduct training sessions for team leads and other stakeholders. They should understand how to use the new system and whom to contact for support.

5. Continuous Improvement
Collect feedback from users and continuously look for ways to improve the process. Automation can always be refined to make the process even smoother.

Implementing these changes will require some setup time and familiarity with Microsoft's Power Platform (PowerApps and Power Automate), but the investment can significantly reduce the administrative burden on you and improve the experience for everyone involved. Additionally, since these tools are part of the Microsoft ecosystem, they integrate well with SharePoint and Exchange, making them ideal for your scenario.

Remember, while automating, keep security and compliance in mind, especially when handling permissions and access rights. It might also be beneficial to consult with your IT department or a SharePoint/Power Platform expert to ensure the solution meets all requirements and is implemented effectively.

Thank you for following our Aerie Asked & Answered series.

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