Veolia is a French transnational company with three main activities and services: water management, waste management and energy services. In 2022, Veolia employed 220,000 employees in 58 countries. The headquarters are located in Aubervilliers, France.
Veolia has been using Google Workspace already for some years. It was a matter of time to start with the SharePoint remediation into Google Workspace and AppSheets. In this example, our SharePoint solution was a rather complex site. Counting more than ten tables with over 200 fields and a file store included. Power Automate was used to combine and automate the workflow process, and to generate documents.
The purpose of the app is to collect the necessary data, follow up on the status, and create the required documents for transportation (cross-country – border passing) of hazardous waste.
The Solution: turning a SharePoint site into an AppSheet-powered solution
The first phase was to create a minimal valuable product (MVP) in AppSheet.
An export (CSV files) of the SharePoint site was taken and imported into a Google Sheet. This was the starting point for the Appsheet app. The first views were created to allow for (basic) data entry.
After a data analysis phase, it was decided to restructure some tables and convert data as needed (fi. date-time formatting, username to email mapping, …). The existing file store was migrated to a Google Shared Drive and the links to files/folders were recreated in the tables using a one-time script. Next up was linking the different tables as needed.
Now all data could be entered and linked as desired, the document generation functionality was created. We first needed to convert the templates (Excel files) into Google format.
An Apps Script solution was created with reverse engineering of the Power Automate functionality to execute the merging of the data with the templates to generate the desired documents. Adding some extra parameters during the generation request also replaced the existing Excel macros in the old templates.
Finally the Views for the data entry, management and consulting were built. This was a highly intensive user-driven process, as this also introduced a new (easier) way of working and exposed some new possibilities which then got added to the solution.
In this showcase, the creation/development of the SharePoint solution took over 2 years, while the MVP in Appsheet was created in 2 weeks.
In the end, the biggest “challenge” was to create/organise the data views in the most logical way to streamline the workflow and show/edit data with the least possible clicks for an optimal processing flow: we created a dashboard view to group the different data fields in logical categories.
A second dashboard was created with (clickable) charts for easy reporting, overview and analysis of the data.
For the creation of the document(s), a new table was created to allow a selection of the needed document(s) and the desired language(s). It triggers the creation and stores the result. The document templates are a Google spreadsheet, containing the placeholders for the data, and get exported to PDF documents upon creation.