It’s hard to know where to start with digitising your workplace. There are countless solutions promising to transform workflows and operations, and they all promise to be as easy as the click of a button. The reality is rarely that simple. Luckily, Fusion5 is on hand to help organisations find the right digital solutions for their needs and provide training on tools like Microsoft’s Power Platform to make going digital painless. Thanks to its help, organisations like Life Care Consultants and Manawanui are now more responsive, efficient operations that spend more time on caring for people than paperwork.
In the modern era, a paper-based office is almost as antiquated as a steam-based one or commuting by carriage. Yet many organisations still rely on paper for important workflows. While new technologies make it easier than ever to modernise organisations’ processes, cutting out unnecessary waste, duplication and friction and allowing for increased flexibility into the future, organisations are faced with a seemingly endless list of solutions to their problems. It can be extremely difficult to know which to use, and how to make sure they’re working in the most productive way. Paper just seems…easier.
That’s why modern workplace solutions need to be easy to implement, effective and not too complicated. And of course, help needs to be available to provide organisations and workers with the confidence to use new tools. Fusion5 helps to address these problems by teaching organisations to better understand Microsoft’s Power Platform and put it to use in the best possible way for their purposes. Its ongoing series of events like App in a Day, Hour of Power, and creation of Centres of Excellence help unleash the power of ‘citizen developers’ to create no-code solutions to their organisations’ challenges via tools like the Power Platform.
So, what is the Power Platform? In a nutshell, it’s a cloud-based Microsoft platform that makes it easy for people to build apps without requiring coding or technical skills. It allows them to add value to their organisation and develop their own tools to streamline and automate time-consuming or labour-intensive tasks without needing to call in their IT department. However, it’s still important to make use of best practice, which is where Fusion5 comes in to provide guidance and instruction.
In the same way that cloud storage needs to be organised to make sure that data can be found easily as it scales up, apps built on the Power Platform need to be made in a considered fashion, so they achieve their goals without creating unnecessary friction.
Fusion5 runs around a dozen events a year alongside Microsoft to help people of all skill levels realise the potential of Power Platform. Its approach follows a model of Explore-Consult-Review-Create, which demonstrates the product to workers and then assists helps them follow best practice and make the most of the platform.
The events empower people to grow their skills, and go away and build apps for their organisations, with ongoing support if required.
“Some customers want to go away and build their own solutions, while others will still need support as they continue,” says Kristy Brown, Director Customer Engagement and Collaboration at Fusion5. “We can provide support at all levels.”
It’s an approach that’s helped social services agency Manawanui and health service Life Care Consultants make a real difference for New Zealanders living with disabilities and compromised immunity.
IDENTIFYING PPE NEEDS IN ONE MAGIC DAY
Manawanui supports more than 4,500 clients with disabilities across New Zealand. It helps people with disabilities manage payroll for support staff and creates personalised solutions for its clients’ diverse requirements. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Manawanui needed to urgently survey its clients to find out who needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and organise delivery of that PPE working with the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards. “It was a daunting task,” says Neil Browning, Manawanui GM of Product, Platform and Data.
Manawanui’s existing email marketing system would have been unwieldy for this purpose, lacking the capability to issue and receive surveys within a day, creating the risk of inaccurate results. Luckily, Manawanui had already been experimenting with using Power Platform for some purposes, and it reached out to Fusion5 to help develop a solution for this challenge.
Fusion5 had a proposal ready within two hours. The first client survey went out in less than 11 – the result of what Fusion5 calls a “Magic Day” of quickfire planning, collaboration and implementation.
The solution was Dynamics 365 Marketing, along with the Power Platform, which automated marketing functionality and provided a portal for their clients’ caregivers to interact with in a simple, modern way. The team were able to develop a survey for clients that then tabulated thousands of responses into a list of order requirements for Manawanui to distribute PPE to. The automation of this process was a major help, as the uncertainty and disruption created by lockdown meant Manawanui’s support centre saw its workload quadruple at the same time.
This Magic Day has created additional benefits for the organization and the disability sector, too, and it has used the solution developed with Fusion5 to help other disability providers to distribute PPE.
“The Manawanui story is an excellent example of how Power Platform and Dynamics 365 can create fast and effective solutions to problems and create real world benefits,” says Daniel Beard, Dynamics 365 Sales Manager at Microsoft. “While organisations around the world have been using these technologies to turn around quick responses to COVID-19, the fact that thousands of people with disabilities were able to get reassurance and equipment to support them during lockdown makes this story particularly special for us. We’re delighted with what Fusion5 and Manawanui have been able to achieve using Microsoft technology.”
CUTTING OUT PAPER FOR HEALTH SERVICES
But that’s not the only good news story. Life Care Consultants helps organisations nationwide protect their staff by providing on-premises flu vaccinations and first aid training. It’s a service which creates extraordinary value not only for the organisations Lifecare works with, but for the public more broadly. Until recently, however, key aspects of its work relied on paper forms filled out by clients which were then transcribed by hand to Lifecare’s Dynamics 365 system. Life Care also had a legal requirement to store the original signed documents, which took up a large amount of room. This created a significant opportunity for error and risk of losing vital documents, as well as a major time drain for staff.
Fusion5 was brought in to create a solution. It wanted to extend Life Care’s existing Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement environment to store patient data and consent for vaccinations, so nothing needed to be stored in paper form. Fusion5 also recommended using Power Apps to allow patients to enter their data directly into the system, without the paper process in the middle. Training was provided to Life Care staff to get them up to speed on the new platform and creating their own Power Apps. After this instruction, Life Care was able to build out a suite of Power Apps that digitised their workflows, without the unnecessary complication that could have come in if they had tried to go it alone.
SOME VERY BENEFICIAL SIDE-EFFECTS
Life Care’s flu jab process using the new system is now much more streamlined, with less administration, no paper mountains and faster patient turnaround. That not only improves Life Care’s ability to deliver its services to more people, it’s a huge cost saving as well, meaning less printing cost, less storage and more time to focus on service delivery. Before, little things like adding fields to forms would have meant wasting hundreds of already-printed paper forms and reprinting them all. Now, that can be achieved with the click of a button without any waste. The new system provides much greater flexibility to adapt to a healthcare environment that is constantly changing, with far better resilience. Digital forms can now be accessed from anywhere, anytime, not stored in premises vulnerable to disasters such as floods, fire and earthquakes that occur all too often in New Zealand’s high-risk environment.
And Life Care’s new Power Apps are now not only enabling patients to leverage the self-service platform, they’re also giving nurses visibility of patient queues and information, including any health concerns. At the same time, Power Automate is being used to manage stock numbers of available vaccine batches in real time, so stock can be ordered well before it’s needed, and nothing needs to be thrown out past its expiry date.
Jo Pennell, General Manager of Operations comments “The introduction of the Flu App Power Apps to Life Care Consultants is business changing. For years Life Care has grappled with the administrative effort required to manage the paperwork associated with the administration of the flu vaccines. The Power Platform, and Fusion5’s expert help, allowed us to move on from managing paper to providing a greatly improved service to external and internal customers. There is no way we could have done that on our own.”
The stories of Life Care Consultants and Manawanui are great examples of the benefits of the Power Platform and Dynamics 365, and the way that value can be unlocked with the right training and frameworks in place to ensure best practice is followed. While the products allow for anyone to build on them, the guidance of the experts at Fusion5 allowed Life Care Consultants and Manawanui to realise the maximum benefits for their organisations, allowing them to spend more time helping others in their important work and be ready for any circumstance in the future.