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The Age of the PowerApps



Another week, another buzzword? Sometimes it feels like that. But the term, ‘PowerApps’, has been around for some time now. Still, you may not be leveraging the potential capability which your organisation has already bought and paid for as part of your Microsoft Office 365 suite.


To build a custom business application takes time, effort, money, and manpower. And in a business, these are often in short supply.


When you are stretching your resources just to run your business, unless it’s business critical, development of an App won’t necessarily get the resources or time it needs.


The benefits of PowerApps


PowerApps, according to Microsoft, “is a suite of apps, services, and connectors, as well as a data platform, that provides a rapid development environment to build custom apps for your business needs.”


In plain English, a PowerApps is a tool that will automate processes efficiently and effectively, saving you resources and money and undertaking tasks that seemed they needed an army beforehand.


PowerApps can be implemented for almost all manual processes – for example, anything that you’re doing manually with Excel, or a process where you are mailing notifications, reminders, and chasers. These kinds of processes can be easily automated with a PowerApp, which is also accessible on mobile devices.


Furthermore, throw in PowerBI and you have the ability to generate valuable Management Information reports in real time, rather than going through a cumbersome and time-consuming process.


With some technologies, clients can rightly be cautious about their benefits. Microsoft, however, reports that PowerApps can deliver a 140% return on investment, but the benefits go beyond the purely financial.


Lion & Gazelle can take manual processes, and in a matter of days and weeks, (rather than months and years) automate existing manual processes. Most of the time, you will have the correct licences already through Microsoft Office so the financial outlay will be minimal, but you can still be short of time, effort, and the resources. And this is the start of our work with a client.


In nine cases out of ten, a client might not have a documented process for an activity, or a process that is mapped. The first activity we undertake with a client is to map the process and then secondly, understand how it could work better – the process improvement stage. And that’s the link to PowerApps; these can connect to existing business apps and systems, and work on a robust and secure platform.


But how do you identify manual processes that can be automated?


There are two ways of identifying manual processes that could be automated with PowerApps. Firstly, in our process improvement consulting, we can identify manual processes that could be improved through automation. We have many years of expertise in this field.


The second route is the more frequent one. Most opportunities are identified by a client before they come to us. A client might have identified a process that is duplicated or not working in an optimal way. And they find it challenging to obtain any sort of management information from the process too. As a result, it’s time consuming and painful for them to manage. That’s when a client comes to Lion & Gazelle.


Real world experience


Lion & Gazelle has built and implemented PowerApps for multiple clients, saving them significant time, resources, and money. These include Recruitment onboarding processes, Risk Management, Project approvals and Volunteering to mention just a few. Here are a couple of our airport examples:


Airside Incident Reporting


Airports must adhere to strict safety laws, rules, and regulations. As a result, they must record every airside incident: these can range from a vehicle parked in the wrong place, to lost luggage, or objects left on the tarmac. In other words, any incident that happens on the airside of the airport that should not occur, of whatever magnitude, small or large.


When airports record these incidents, often it must report these to third parties such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). There is a significant level of resource required to manage this process, collect the information daily, and then manually send it to the CAA and other third-parties such as the airlines and handling agents. We have developed and implemented applications to drastically streamline the whole process whilst saving on resource and associated costs.


Lion & Gazelle created a PowerApp for mobile devices to record these incidents. The PowerApp will automatically notify third parties and is a rich source of management information for the airport.


Crane Permits


If a construction company wants to rig a crane within the vicinity of an airport, the crane operator will have to apply to the airport for a permit.


The original process meant that a crane operator would contact the airport who would then email the construction firm a form. They would then complete the form and return it to the airport. Various airport departments would then approve it.


While this lengthy process took place, the crane operator would not know the form’s status. Once the airport approved the form, it would then issue a permit to the crane operator valid for a set period.


Lion & Gazelle mapped this process and identified areas to improve it. We then developed a PowerApp so that the process would be more efficient both for the airports and the crane operators themselves.


The airport websites now have links so that the crane operator can submit their details online. This form is then sent automatically to the appropriate internal and external (e.g. NATS) departments for approval. At each stage, the crane operator can see the status of its permit application. Again, a more effective and robust process but one that is quicker, more transparent and saves money too.


The airport teams have the added benefit of viewing on a map the location of the cranes and the permit details.


PowerApps and our existing services


Lion & Gazelle specialises in process mapping and continuous improvement. As part of our consultancy offering, we can identify areas where processes can be automated and develop PowerApps for your business. This can make your company even more effective, giving you back valuable time to run your firm.


Take the next step – Contact Us


If you are looking for a quick, safe, and efficient route to digitisation, then please contact us. We believe that successful digital transformation is not a one-size-fits-all process – businesses have different requirements and processes and need some degree of personalisation.

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