12 October 2023
County Council recognized the need to modernize operations and streamline workflows to improve staff productivity and citizen experience. With largely paper-based processes for requests, approvals, and data collection, employees wasted time on manual tasks while requests could fall through the cracks. "We knew intelligent automation could help us digitize processes to work smarter," explains IT Director Jane Smith. But with limited technical skills across the organization, they needed a solution accessible to all.
The council turned to Power Automate training from JBI to upskill staff at all levels. Their 3-day course combined interactive tutorials with hands-on exercises modeled after real council workflows. "I had no coding experience but the instructor explained everything clearly," recalls clerk Dorothy. "We were automating processes impacting our actual jobs - incredibly motivating."
The pace catered to varying skill levels while recap sessions reinforced retention. "Revisiting concepts showed me how much knowledge I'd gained," explains manager Chen. "Collaborating with colleagues also helped us align on best practices." Participants praised the enthusiastic support helping demystify the technology. "The instructor encouraged us to experiment so we weren't afraid to build flows hands-on," Dorothy adds. "That's how we transformed theory into practical skills."
Armed with new skills, the council rapidly rolled out automations to eliminate inefficiencies. Targeted flows simplified routine tasks like citizen service requests, approvals, notifications, and data collection. "By integrating Forms, we centralized request intake while automating routing and responses," explains Dorothy. Approval workflows also reduced bottlenecks for finance, HR, and procurement.
Power Automate seamlessly connects 100+ apps so workflows span programs, platforms, and people. "We integrated workflows across Office 365, on-prem systems, and line-of-business apps," notes Mike. Shared cloud storage removed versioning headaches while improving collaboration. Tracking usage metrics also helps identify issues and optimization opportunities.
While learning curves are expected, instructor guidance boosted confidence. "Don't be afraid to just try building flows," Dorothy urges. "The hands-on practice is where the 'a-ha' moments happen." Mike agrees: "Even if you feel overwhelmed at first, stick with it. Automating repetitive tasks is life-changing."
The training wasn't without funny moments. On the first afternoon, the instructor demonstrated an approval workflow. "When the request popped up in Teams, we realized the sample text read 'Approve purchase of 5,000 rubber chickens'!" laughs Emma. The absurd placeholder lightened the mood while showing notifications in action.
Emma also recalls early automation attempts gone awry: "My first flows had more bugs than a backyard pond!" But the instructor reassured this "spaghetti code" is part of the learning process. His guidance on debugging and universal design principles proved invaluable. "While we encountered bumps, the instructor gave us the tools to troubleshoot issues confidently," explains Emma. "We knew we had expert support to fall back on."
Power Automate has been transformative for County Council, freeing up resources through automation. Streamlining repetitive tasks allows staff to focus on high-value work driving better citizen experiences. "With the time savings, we can take on more strategic initiatives," explains Jane. Processing times for service requests have also decreased by over 75%. "We can handle 4X the volume with fewer errors, improving quality," notes Mike.
Centralizing workflows on Power Automate has also improved visibility across departments, creating a single source of truth. Usage metrics enable continuous optimization while end-to-end automation reduces human error. "It's incredible seeing how much we can accomplish with scalable automation," says Emma.
County Council plans to continue upskilling staff through JBI training on Power Platform and Azure. Expanding automation and integration unlocks exponential productivity gains. "We've only scratched the surface of what's possible," explains Jane. "Ongoing learning is key to maximize the value."
The benefits already realized have spurred further innovation. "Automating one process opens your mind to other optimization opportunities," Chen adds. Embedding Power Apps for mobile access can further boost productivity. "Empowered employees and smoother operations translate to happier citizens," says Jane. "It's a virtuous cycle of digital transformation."
For public and private sector organizations seeking to modernize, Power Automate provides that foundational layer of intelligent automation. Combined with change management and training, it liberates staff and unlocks innovation. As Jane concludes, "We shed old ways of working to embrace tools that improve employee and citizen empowerment. And we're just getting started!"