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PowerApps: Changing the game for service fulfilment in local government


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Industry voice: No-code PowerApps changes the game when it comes to unifying the front and back office for true end-to-end service delivery

Historically, unifying front and back-office systems has been a challenge for councils. The front office interface can be considered too rich for field service engineers, yet the cost to create integrations, or create a simplified interface through which to access data, has often been prohibitive. Without a unified front and back-office operation, service provision is disrupted and disjointed both internally and externally.

One council has expanded its Dynamics 365 customer engagement platform beyond the capture and processing of customer service cases. Using PowerApps, Microsoft’s no-code platform for quickly creating and deploying employee mobile and desktop apps, the council has created its own field worker app: ‘My Work.’

The My Work app features a simplified user interface with minimal data entry. User adoption is easy thanks to familiar app controls such as sliders and pick lists, meaning training is simple and adoption is fast.

Using PowerApps

Via their app, field engineers are presented with their job list, including subject, location and due date. Google Maps integration helps workers easily view and navigate to the job location. Depending on the type of job, the engineer will be prompted to fill in details relating to their activity. A waste collection job, as an example, would require the engineer to enter the amount and type of waste collected.  The app also provides an option to take and upload photo evidence against the job record should this be required.

Given that field workers aren’t always connected the app supports ‘store and forward’; allowing continued use of the app when users are offline. All updates are automatically synchronised on reaching internet connection.

On finishing the job, the engineer tags the status as ‘complete’ and moves on to their next task. The job record in Dynamics 365 is automatically updated, and all data entered is stored against the record. This gives customer services teams an up to date view of the status of all jobs at any time, helping them to keep track of progress and ensure utilisation of engineers is optimised.

If circumstances change and an engineer is unable to complete certain jobs on their list, they can request to have these reassigned to another engineer. By having front and back-office staff working from the same set of up to date data, new engineers can be assigned, keeping the customer happy and making sure all engineer time is utilised.

The impact

For field engineers, this means the elimination of unnecessary paperwork and travelling back to the office to rekey information. Increased productivity means engineers have more time to do their jobs and can achieve a higher number of jobs per day. In fact, a Forrester report ‘The Total Economic Impact of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow’ states that organisations can expect to save around 122,850 worker hours from streamlined and automated business processes by Year 3.

For the council, the use of the app provides increased quality of data thanks to mandatory fields. By collecting better data, councils can identify trends and spot ways to improve processes to become more efficient. It also increases awareness of jobs as they happen, making sure they can maximise all time that engineers are out in the field.

Lastly, by building their My Work app with PowerApps, the council retains control of the solution and has the ability to rapidly change and improve service delivery, without the requirement for highly skilled developers. Familiar Excel-like controls make it simple to add logic to PowerApps, so apps can be created quickly, tested, and rolled out within days in response to changing council and customer needs. The same Forester report cites that organisations can expect a 70% reduction in application development cost and effort through the use of PowerApps and Flow.

With hundreds of out-of-the-box connectors to back-office systems, cloud services and social channels, it’s never been easier to unify the front and back office and create seamless service fulfilment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about PowerApps and their application in local government, get in touch with Pythagoras at [email protected], or find out how to get up and running in just days with our Getting Started with PowerApps engagements.






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