Summary

Peace River Electric Cooperative, a Florida-based electricity distribution cooperative had a need to undergo an organization-wide digital transformation. The organization looked to optimize their operations while improving process efficiency throughout their departments. To do so, the electricity distributor turned to Longi Engineering to implement Microsoft 365 solutions. 

Challenge

With a main goal of enabling their departments to work efficiently through the automation of manual processes, Peace River Electric Cooperative wished to implement workflows and leverage mobile applications integrated with their organizational data. In their quest for modern solutions, the organization looked to do the following:  

  • Automate the employee onboarding process 
  • Create a mobile application to be used in the field for truck inspections 
  • Automate engineering forms for cost estimates and equipment relocation 
  • Implement an electronic workflow process for travel expense approval 

But finding the right solution was challenging. The IT department and executives vetted multiple potential solutions – many of which were geared solely for electricity cooperatives – but none possessed a rich enough feature with the ease of use they looked for.  

Having familiarity with Office 365 and SharePoint, the company decided to determine if a suitable solution, centered around these technologies, could be leveraged. After some initial research and conversation, they determined that Flow and PowerApps, when integrated with their SharePoint online intranet, would provide the functionality they were looking for.

Strategy

Peace River Electric Cooperative brought in Longi Engineering, a trusted Microsoft partner, to meet with key stakeholders from each department to finalize the application requirements. After these meeting, Longi Engineering implemented several applications to automate their processes. Below are two examples.  

One of the first applications implemented was the automation of the employee on-boarding process. The employee on-boarding process was formerly one in which a new employee’s supervisor and the IT department communicated through numerous emails to ensure an employee existed in multiple systems, had the appropriate permissions and access to the data they needed to perform their job functions. This process was often ongoing even after the employee had started working.  

To enable a more streamlined process, Longi implemented an employee onboarding form. With this form, an employee’s supervisor is able to designate all systems they need access to and submit a form that triggers a Flow that then routs the form to IT. IT is then able to provision access to all designated systems. With IT partaking in this process, a timestamp of when and by whom this is performed is documented in the form. This allows the new employee’s manager to view, in real time, exactly where the the onboarding process stands at any time.  

Another application Longi Engineering implemented helps track truck inspections. As field employees are working on hazardous high-voltage transmission lines as part of their job duties, it is vital that they regularly inspect the trucks they take to job sites and that they accurately document the inspections. Formerly, this was done through a manual, paper-based process. By leveraging a PowerApp integrated with a SharePoint list, field employees now log all truck inspection data, such as whether first aid kits and automated external defibrillators (AED) are functional, into the PowerApp in addition to the date and time of the inspection.

Results

These are just two of the ways Peace River Electric Cooperative was able to initiate a digital transformation with the help of Flow and PowerApps.  

Flow was also used in conjunction with SharePoint Forms to implement cost and relocation forms for the engineering departments as well as electronic workflow for travel expense approval. These apps, along with SharePoint have become highly valued, mission critical systems used throughout the firm.