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Cast your minds back to December - I wrote a blog post called ‘I’m Appy’, where I wrote about the exciting training session we’d had with Microsoft on using their PowerApps platform to create apps that could be deployed across our organisation to assist colleagues and customers in service delivery. In it, I wrote that we were looking at setting up a series of ‘hackathon’ events in the New Year to surface some of the ideas from colleagues we could take forward into workable concepts.

Well, we may have been quiet on here but we have been super busy and are pleased that our first workable concept is almost ready to test!

In the end, we held off on the hackathon - although Microsoft suggested to us to run these session so colleagues wouldn’t lose the new skills they had gained or the enthusiasm, when we were thinking about how we would structure these, it raised bigger questions around the framework we needed to design to ensure the creation of PowerApps as a concept was accepted into BAU going forward rather than seen as a ‘nice to have’. This is a huge piece of work and still ongoing, but as a result of it, we identified our first potential area where this could be deployed.

You might remember from our blog post, we had two caveats:

  • Any app created couldn’t directly challenge our transformation programme work and

  • All ideas had to go through the proper governance.

So our first idea? Paperless Support.

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It’s not sexy and it’s a simple concept but for those familiar with support services will know they are pretty much responsible for the death of many trees almost daily. Our new PowerApp sees the three main floating support forms go digital, with colleagues entering information directly into their phone or tablet whilst with a customer and this being directly pushed into their database. If they are in an area with no signal, they can still complete the forms offline with the upload automatically happening when they find a connection again. No double entry, no printing, no nonsense. It’s also out of scope of our transformation programme - so we can play away with improvements for this area safe in the knowledge there are no plans to deliver anything here more formally.

Yesterday, we introduced the idea to the 10 colleagues who will be trialing this in the Telford area and were really pleased they were so excited by it! In fact, they are already thinking about ways we can extend this idea further in our next iteration! Equipment and permissions all being well, we’re hoping to be able to kick the test off by Monday 18th March, where it will initially run for a month so we can then analyse the outcomes. As well as providing us with outcomes for this specific area, it will also help support the larger piece of design work we are doing around the PowerApps framework overall - it’s much easier to suggest a certain design when you have data and experiences to back up your decisions and this small concept has already given us a huge amount of insight into the resource required to make an idea like this a reality.

Stay tuned for future updates - this is only the beginning…..

@ChelleKButler

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