In this blog, Principal Consultant Dave Lovegrove explains how OPSS have created the perfect case management platform.
What is case management?
Case management is an integral part of public service. The need to track, process and resolve cases is a very real one. We’ve been working with OPSS to build a system that can provide brilliant case management services and more.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPPS) is the national regulator for all consumer products apart from vehicles, medicines and food. As part of the Department for Business and Trade, their goal is to deliver consumer protection and to support business confidence, productivity and growth. OPSS covers a fascinating breadth of areas, from how noisy your wheelie bins should be to ensuring that the gas and electricity meters work. I joined the team at the start of Alpha testing in November 2021. Paul Kershaw joined OPSS as a Product Manager during Beta testing in February 2022, just as we were testing development with a larger group of users.
OPSS. Managing their case management challenge
OPSS has grown at pace since it was formed in 2018 and is still growing. This rapid evolution of people and technology has created challenges to the organisation’s management processes that will be familiar to many in the public sector:
- Users had become trapped in the tools that they were using.
- Various disparate tools were used, including web forms, emails, spreadsheets and SharePoint.
- Consolidated reporting was challenging because of the use of disparate systems.
- Audit control was limited.
- Making changes to the system was a costly, time-consuming process.
We wanted to adopt a low/no-code solution using Dynamics 365 within Microsoft’s Power Platform. Power Platform is a portfolio of business applications that Microsoft has designed to help organisations improve operational efficiency and reduce business complexity.
Power Platform enabled us to combine various MS tools (SharePoint Online, Power App, PowerBi, Dataverse, Outlook email, MS Teams and Office 365) onto one platform.
To support the activities of the disparate teams involved in the complex case management process, we developed a strategy of role-based access for our users, to complement their ways of working.
We identified user requirements through cluster analysis workshops. This meant that user needs would be at the heart of the delivery. Working to fortnightly sprints, we used an incremental delivery plan to work with each user group before the releases went out to them. I don’t think this approach would have worked so well if we hadn’t been fortunate to have a blended delivery team that included OPSS team members. Their knowledge of the people and processes at OPSS was invaluable.
The outcome – A case management system capable of so much more
When implementing a solution using Power Platform, it enabled us to consider best-of-breed tools to satisfy the user needs. The significant underlying benefit to this approach would be a single source of truth for our user community.
The first goal was to create a case management system where applications such as Outlook are integrated into the system. This way, users no longer have to leave the system to conduct activities. We have created bespoke solutions for different teams but with a central repository of information. Because system access is role-based, users only see case details appropriate to their needs.
The business was content to leave legacy data in a read-only state, meaning that no data migration was necessary. Power BI reports were built that mimicked the legacy system interfaces to provide access to this historic data, de-risking the likelihood of introducing erroneous, or low-quality data into the new system.
We use Power Bi to access legacy data.
Once the case management processes had been tested and were robust, we could turn our attention to solving other problems for the teams by thinking of each user group at a time. We are still doing this because the system is so scalable. In this way, we have created a live solution that can handle case management and so much more.
We are working hard to maintain and grow the live service. We have our dedicated MS Teams channel where we post top tips, users can give feedback and offer ideas, and we have a support channel and a change request section. We also have something called “Champions chatter”. It helps us keep in touch with super users who are our eyes and ears from within the user community.
In the meantime, we continue to ensure that knowledge of the system is transferred throughout OPSS so that they aren’t reliant on Triad in the future. That was partly why we wanted a low/no-code solution
What we have learned most is…
When Paul and I talked about this project on Digital Leaders, we were asked to list our biggest learnings. Mine would include:
- Creating a single source of truth has been a guiding principle that has served us well.
- Fortnightly sprints pass quickly, but that momentum is important.
- Starting small was fundamental to our success.
- The business and the digital team had a strong collaborative approach. And this helped us.
- Our pre-launch stakeholder engagement settled everyone’s nerves. Before we went live, Paul sat with every team to demonstrate and train them, checking that they were confident that the new system would do what they expected and fully replace the legacy systems. I think that is why everyone has genuinely bought into it.
- Weekly releases enabled us to work on a reasonable size of functionality. It also provided rapid user feedback to validate we were on the right track.
We hope that you have found this blog useful. If you are interested in case management, Microsoft Power Platform, Dynamics 365 or have a question for the Triad team, please get in touch.