A custom Microsoft 365 staff rostering system for large charity.
With over 200 members of staff and over 1,000 volunteers spread across multiple locations, the charity wanted an effective digital solution for managing staff rostering as simply as possible.
Staff need to be able to request when to work, and all shift bookings require approval from a line manager. On top of this, each department within the charity has different staffing skill sets and quotas that need to be met for each shift.
Designing A Custom Staff Rostering Solution
As no off-the-shelf application could fulfil the charity’s requirement, Akita designed a solution to meet the needs. Charlie James, Associate Director of Akita’s Intelligent Solutions division, oversaw the project.
“We’ve worked with the charity on a number of digital transformation requirements to date, so had a good understanding of the charity’s processes,” he said. “But as per any project Akita Intelligent Solutions undertakes, we ensured that the appropriate consultancy and stakeholder engagement took place.”
“As an experienced Microsoft Dynamics developer, what was clear to us following consultancy was that Dynamics 365 Field Service possessed all of the capabilities required. However, given the staff and volunteers numbers involved, a more simplified UX would be required for the frontend of the system. That aspect was therefore over to our Power Apps team to develop a user-facing Power Apps Portal to simplify data input.”
The combination of Microsoft technologies proved an ideal solution. Managers use the Dynamics UI to publish and manage shift requirements for each department. Once published, staff can book onto a shift using a Power Apps Portal, with authentication linked to Azure AD.
Within the Power Apps Portal frontend, ‘Available/Booked’ shifts are presented via a Calendar view. Staff can then simply select from the available shifts when they want to work.
The combined solution works well for the charity. Dynamics 365 Field Service facilitates easy management and reporting on departmental efficiencies. Meanwhile, the Power App Portal provides an easy user interface for staff to use with minimal training and offers a cost-effective alternative to providing all staff with a Dynamics 365 Field Service licence or required training.
The Dynamics Shift Booking System (DSBS), as it has become known, has significantly improved the management of staff rostering and increased the flexibility of booking shifts.
Staff can request shifts from those available on the system within their skills type, on any device where there is internet connectivity available. Secure access to the self-service portal is available 24/7 from any location, so staff can schedule shifts when it is convenient for them.
DSBS has also improved the management of resources. A detailed breakdown of hours worked by staff against contracted hours is available via live reporting. This real-time management information is available for use by managers at 1:1 meetings, enabling effective staff management to take place. This has led to more efficient use of staff time.
Data is also available to export from the DSBS for use within the payroll system. With data accurate against shift records, the result is reduced management time (and therefore costs), and the elimination of errors in the payroll data.
Enhancements and overtime are also only paid through the payroll from data that has been authorised as worked and approved for payment on DSBS. This has eliminated overpayments to staff and reduced wage costs as a result. It has also reduced the number of staff queries relating to pay, in turn, saving managers time.
Therefore, while technical in its backend, this simple user-facing solution has digitally transformed how the charity conducts its staff rostering, introducing a raft of new efficiencies in turn.
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