In our recent webinar, Leveraging SharePoint for intranets, digital forms and business processes automation, we spoke with Perth Aged Care and community services organisation Southcare, about their journey with SharePoint and business process automation.
Here are the four key talking points from the discussion:
1. Involve your team in the journey and identify a champion user
Adjusting to new digital workflows can be a tricky task. It requires a collaborative approach that’s underpinned by the right support and tools.
This is where champion users become vital.
Bremmar Managing Director, Brenton Harris, explains how this has helped their clients.
‘When we look at these changes that organisations want to make – there’s a lot of knowledge required to implement them. You need to understand the tools, the processes revolving around them, change management factors, communication and training. We’ve found our greatest success hasn’t come through simply engaging technical support and deploying new workflows, it requires the inclusion of some champion users in the process.’
Finding collaborative users who understand your organisational systems, are interested in improving workflows, and can communicate with others will help you build solid foundations.
As champion users, they should be involved in areas such as the following:
- New ideas
- Implementing iterations
- Training other staff
- Progressing the solution after implementation
By slowing the process down and identifying the ideal champion user, any organisation can see a vast improvement in adoption rates. With these users working alongside a Microsoft 365 specialist from day one, it’s easier to gather more robust input upfront that aids ongoing workflow improvement and overall success.
2. Streamline your digital workflows with Microsoft 365
Automating your business processes and boosting your productivity and efficiency doesn’t need to be complex. Often, a simple workflow yields a significant uptick in organisational collaboration and satisfaction.
The Microsoft 365 apps, SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate enable you to streamline workflows with only minimal training required. Staff are able to consistently stay up-to-date with processes, evolving business goals, and governance requirements – key factors in maintaining a modern NFP or Aged Care organisation.
Brenton explains how this may assist after an employee incident.
‘Incidents that happen on-site or at head office need to be recorded as soon as possible to avoid any errors. Microsoft Forms allows the staff member to input information on the spot and using any device. When the information is collected, Microsoft Power Automate then triggers a set workflow. Depending on the conditions set, this workflow could be a notification to a line manager, a preventive action, or a summary of the incident sent to stakeholders. SharePoint then stores all of this information in the intranet for tracking and reporting’
Here’s a deeper look at the Microsoft 365 tools.
A simple yet powerful way to collect information using an online form on almost any web browser or mobile device. View real-time results as they’re submitted and use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Intuitive and accessible, forms data can be stored in SharePoint and used in workflows, allowing care staff to collect incident information and immediately begin any workflow processes.
Power Automate expands your automation capabilities across desktop, web, and mobile by streamlining repetitive tasks and paperless processes. By automatically triggering any required workflow, it allows you to shorten response times and eases system congestion. Regardless of who needs to be notified, Power Automate collates all your data collected via Forms to set up the exact workflows, automations and notifications you need.
The database underpinning the whole solution is SharePoint. Southcare uses the platform as an Intranet to provide a central information hub for all employees and as a document management system to store, organise, share, and access information – both current and historical. This flexibility offers a powerful analytical perspective that can shape future automations and workflow processes.
3. Strengthen communication using a centralised SharePoint intranet
Most NFPs and Aged Care providers have too many systems for users to get across. With a disparate collection of logins and data hubs, staying on top of core information – including policies and procedures – can be an arduous experience.
In the case of Southcare, this decentralised information combined with the need to reduce systems reliance on the head office to make processes more streamlined for front line workers became a key service delivery challenge and they teamed up with Bremmar to find the right solution.
Deploying SharePoint as a central cloud data repository, Southcare has been able to streamline its intranet into a cost effective tool that allows all staff, whether on-site or in the field, to access the systems and key information they require from any device. This SharePoint intranet is now used to:
- Provide all staff access to a central communications hub from computers or tablets
- Store controlled documents including policies, procedures & forms with version control functionality
- Store training and guide documents
- Consolidate access to HR hub and department site gateway
- Streamline access to commonly used apps via a single sign-on
- Post Southcare snippets celebrating their community and culture
Enda Fahy, Southcare’s Chief Finance Officer, notes that the new intranet has been a success for the business.
“We chose SharePoint as the platform to host all of our control documents and our document management system. The intranet hub was designed to be a holistic and all encompassing framework so that staff had access to all of the links, tools, documents and systems they required. Over time, we continuously improved and expanded it to become a one stop shop for content and communication” Enda explains.
4. Implement best practices for data input, collection and automation
Overcoming the inefficiencies of a multi-step process is an essential component in implementing best practices for data input, collection and automation.
But how does this look when considering front-line workers?
Southcare CFO, Enda Fahy explains, “We were using SurveyMonkey for our forms, but ran into severe limitations. We needed something that was flexible and user-friendly. That’s when we made the decision to try Microsoft Forms that we had available in our Microsoft 365 licensing.”
Here’s how Southcare used MS Forms, SharePoint and Power Automate to solve their data collection and workflow problems.
Southcare currently uses Microsoft Forms to assist with a broad spectrum of employee incidents and reports. This new streamlined process allows incidents to be recorded by all staff on any device. Once a report has been logged, the safety committee is automatically notified, allowing the Line Manager to immediately complete the investigation via a link.
With the unprecedented requirements of nationwide contact tracing thrust upon Aged Care providers, keeping up with all visitors and staff during the COVID pandemic became near impossible. Microsoft Forms and SharePoint solves this by providing a centralised location for tracing and response. This new process allows users to identify any declarations and follow up instantly, giving facilities a greater ability to track contact details and locations visited, while also providing central visibility to the live visitor list via the cloud.
Archive deletion and automation
Data sprawl can cause a lot of headaches for any organisation. Without an automated archive and deletion process, unwanted files or documents can prove to be a drag on your processes and resources. Using SharePoint and Power Automate, you can bring all of your metadata into one site, providing control of the archive date, retention of archived files and the ability to only view current and relevant files.
Power virtual agents
Supporting staff whenever they encounter a problem is essential for any community minded organisation. Unfortunately, easy access to help with daily problems isn’t always available. Making the most of SharePoint as a data hub, Southcare staff have access to a 24×7 chatbot that can help solve simple issues. The chatbot points the users to information on the intranet to help with common problems, while those questions that are not answered online are redirected to a human with a prompt on the next step to take, further enhancing the use of SharePoint and Teams for care workers.
Bremmar, your M365 partner
Interested in learning more about how your organisation can leverage SharePoint, Forms and Power Automate to overcome productivity loss, escalating operational costs, inefficient data collection and cumbersome processes?
Here at Bremmar, we’re experts in assisting Not-For-Profits and Aged Care providers with customised solutions using the Microsoft platform. So, if you’d like some support anywhere on your Microsoft 365 journey, we’d love to help.
Unsure about the next steps on your Microsoft 365 journey? For a limited time, Bremmar is offering our Microsoft Roadmap Workshop or Business Process Consultation at no cost for Not-For-Profit and Aged Care organisations. These consultations help to provide your organisation with:
- Better understanding of your business systems requirements
- Scope and consulting approach to address these requirements
- A fully tailored demonstration and clearer vision for your future processes