Like most daily processes, it starts as a one-time or short-term process that turns into a core business function. One-off reports or reports for one person are something you tell yourself: “We will only do this for the next month to track X, Y, and Z.” Then the data becomes valuable to your daily operations, thus making it mission critical.
The same thing happens when you are deploying a paperless mobile solution using PowerApps. You’ve started capturing the data using a mobile device, along with validations to make sure the data is clean on the way into your new system. Often our customers will want to run in parallel to reduce risk for a while, having the staff fill out a paper form and the digital form. The report writers generally hear about the new mobile solution, but keep filling out the Microsoft Word or Excel reports manually.
By having the report creators continue to do this work, you send the following messages:
- We are not dedicated to this initiative.
- We do not think this is going to work.
- We are not going to invest in the new process.
A better alternative is to auto-generate the exact outputs that the report writers are manually creating on a daily basis. The report writers can be turned into quality testers during the project to ensure that all of the business rules they identify as incorrect within the app are corrected in PowerApps. We typically find that they currently fix the reports manually, but never communicate to the staff that a change to the process is needed.
By the end of the project the report writers can be reassigned to other higher impact work, or turn their focus to quality and customer service. Now that you’re collecting data automatically, it’s time to automate your reporting as well. The customer service experience will increase by getting timely information, and errors will decrease by reducing the number of data entry touchpoints.