Summary

Jewelers of America (JoA), a one hundred year-old, New York City-based member association has over two thousand Jewelry organization members located throughout the world. This includes a mix of small, mid-sized, and large Jewelry organizations. Their members are provided with training, free webinars, resources, and guidance on industry best practices. In order to help promote their mission, JoA staff members travel throughout the US, attending jewelry-related shows, exhibits, and events.

JoA has been successfully using SharePoint Online and Power BI for several years. They rely heavily on Microsoft technologies and realize the value Office 365 provides them as an organization.

As an organization, JoA has begun focusing on the goal of transforming digitally. A key obstacle to that goal was managing compensatory time off for employees that are travelling, working on holidays, and working on weekends while at various shows. Having had great success with their SharePoint Online intranet, Jewelers of America discussed this business challenge with Longi Engineering. Working together, the two organizations decided to leverage PowerApps and Microsoft Flow to automate this process as well as other organizational processes.

Challenge

As staff members travelled to shows and events throughout the US, at times they would work weekends and holidays which often lead to them requesting compensatory time off. Entering the request was a manual process facilitated by multiple emails, with time-off data logged into Microsoft Excel. The main history of the request was stored in email, which was difficult to research if any discrepancies arose. This lengthy manual process was inefficient and unreliable.

Having used SharePoint Online as their intranet for collaboration, projects, task management, and scheduling, they knew that SharePoint Online could potentially be a tool they could leverage to automate manual processes such as these.

In working with Longi Engineering, JoA made a decision to build upon their investment in SharePoint Online and leverage Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. Flow had already caught their eye as a potential line-of-business integration tool and given the large number of connectors already offered, it made sense for them to leverage Flow for workflow purposes.

Strategy

Longi Engineering created a responsive PowerApps form to allow Jewelers of America staff members to select the days off they worked, attach notes, and any other necessary details. The form is then automatically routed to their supervisor upon submission, who can approve/reject the request via email.  Eventually, the approved request is logged in SharePoint and routed to HR. This solution also allows employees to submit requests from their phones while out of the office and generates a detailed digital archive for future reference.

Results

Using the PowerApp, the request process has been streamlined significantly – making it easier for the users to request time off – and for HR to review and approve each item.

Given the success of this form, an additional form for Vacation requests was implemented as well using Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. Having seen the value behind Microsoft Flow and PowerApps, Jewelers of America is now planning on automating additional manual processes and well on their way to digitally transforming.