Most of us are now working remotely from home, but for some, they still need to go to work to be able to perform their roles or serve their customers. People working in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and banking industries all still have to operate physically in their office locations, albeit often in a skeletal workforce schedule. This means some businesses are having to function with just the minimum number of staff to continue with operations, but are not optimised enough to be able to serve the way they usually would.

Businesses will struggle to operate with a lean team, especially if their operations were not designed that way pre-COVID-19. Now more than ever, companies should be thinking about reducing the reliance on manual business processes and actual human intervention to be able to serve business outcomes. These business processes can now be easily automated with the help of simple applications that can enable your people to do more, even with less resources or manpower.

Microsoft Office 365 subscribers, with most enterprise licenses, already have the tools to automate business processes using Power Apps and Power Automate quickly. Using its no-code/low-code platform, users can create simple online forms or small applications to enable them to streamline processes where possible. This can significantly reduce the need for support from IT just to be able to automate processes.

What is Power Apps and Power Automate?

Power Apps and Power Automate are two products that make up the Microsoft Power Platform family (others being Power BI and Power Virtual Agents). Microsoft defines Power Apps as “a suite of apps, services, connectors, and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for your business needs”. Power Automate (formerly known as Flow) on the other hand allows you to automate repetitive tasks and paper-based processes. Combined, they are a powerful set of tools available in your Office 365 subscription that you can use to streamline and automate your business processes.

Why does it matter to my business?

Process automation can significantly impact how your business currently operates, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. With Power Apps and Power Automate, you can:

  1. Enable your “process experts” or your people on the ground who truly understand your business processes to automate them quickly and easily.
  2. Cut down on application development costs by empowering your staff with the ability to create simple applications that will help with streamlining your operations.
  3. Reduce the substantial reliance on IT development assistance to create simple business applications.
  4. Decrease the need for human intervention in applicable business processes to enable your people to do more with less workforce support or resources.
  5. Save on software costs by utilising the technology that you already have in your Office 365 subscription.

How can it help my business?

There are many ways in which Power Apps and Power Automate can help even small to medium-sized organisations streamline their business processes. Below are just some of the use cases that you can explore and develop for your business now, in these unprecedented and challenging times. We have highlighted some quick and business specific examples below.

Staff Recruitment and Onboarding

New staff members in hospitals and clinics, particularly nurses and doctors, are in demand during the COVID-19 crisis. Recruitment can be done quickly and efficiently starting from requests through to approval using an online accessible staff recruitment and onboarding application.

Check out this case study with Diabetes Victoria where we developed an online recruitment form to reduce the approval turnaround time from 2-3 weeks to only a few days.

Watch this real-world Power Apps example to see how it can automate this menial HR task of onboarding new staff members.

Track expenses.

Track and manage expense claims efficiently by making your paper-based expense forms accessible anytime, on any device. You can create this no-code expense tracker using Power Apps:

Automate invoice encoding.

Cut down the time needed to process invoices or receipts by removing the manual steps in data encoding. Stop manually encoding invoices with automated data recognition powered by Power Apps:

Online Appointment

Instead of letting your phone lines burn with inbound calls, you can publish an online appointment calendar for the availability of your doctors for checkups, or delivery schedule for food or groceries.

FAQ Chatbot

IT support staff, marketers, or supermarket supervisors, with increased remote workforce presence, may be bogged down with commonly asked questions that you can easily automate using a chatbot. Self-help documents, level 1 support for technical queries, or frequently asked consumer questions can be managed by a bot on your website or e-commerce site to alleviate the need for an actual person to respond to a question.

Stock Inventory

Shoppers for groceries, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and sanitisers, among other essential goods, can be purchased via an online shopping app. Make stock inventory readily available for your shop floor staff by having a small application for it, or by connecting your Microsoft Teams to your existing Dynamics 365 Business Central or Finance and Operations.

Twitter connector

Assist your marketing team with an application that lets them find content or hashtags accessible on Twitter. Use Power Apps to automate finding tags and content for users instead of scrolling through feeds, so that the audience’s responses can guide their social media efforts.

How can Professional Advantage help you?

Creating a unique application for the current demands of your business doesn’t have to be complicated. With Power Apps and Power Automate, you already have the technology to automate and streamline your business processes so your people can do more with fewer resources available. If you have the vision but don’t have the time to build these applications, connect with us, and we’ll show you how to turn your vision into a reality. Comment below or contact us at 1800 126 499.

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