Summary

Bright Little Stars is a privately owned operator of four pre-school nurseries, providing the highest quality pre-school education for 500 children in communities across North London. Its primary goal is to enable every child to reach their own individual potential through happy, healthy, and safe learning environments and unique learning programs, with the highest ethical standards and equal opportunities.

With nearly 200 staff members, including several third-party agencies, the organization needed to streamline their payment processes. The organization looked to HappyWired, a trusted Microsoft partner, to implement a modern solution using Microsoft Office 365 and the Power Platform.

Challenge

Through their exceptional reputation, Bright Little Stars has grown rapidly and now employs a multitude of third-party agencies with separate billing contracts. An inevitable consequence of growth was an increase in essential, but administrative management processes using spreadsheets and email. The manual processes proved to be distracting and frustrating, as they took staff away from their primary goal of serving children and their parents.

Bright Little Stars needed a set of modern digital processes that would mitigate risk and streamline agency payments.

After almost 12 months of searching for a technology partner, Bright Little Stars identified HappyWired, a specialist in low-code productivity automation technologies, to prescribe a digital solution that was simple to adopt, simple to administer, and flexible to change as the organization grows.

Strategy

Using Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow, HappyWired created the Bright Little Stars Nursery Management application, providing a secure, centralized mechanism for the following activities:

  • Recording all staff qualifications, medical records, and child-safety certifications (DBS checks) in compliance with industry regulations
  • Scheduling staff capacity according to qualifications at a nursery room level
  • Recording time, attendance, and absence for accurate agency reporting payroll
  • Calculating special recognition bonus payments and awarding them directly into payroll
  • Managing individual staff remuneration and benefit packages
  • Allowing confidential input to bi-annual reviews
  • Scheduling and recording staff reviews and appraisals scheduling and history

The Bright Little Stars Nursery Management PowerApp was built using SharePoint as its data source for staff and their contract, remuneration, and annual review data.

With SharePoint permission groups, staff and management can easily manage personal data securely through different views within the app. Using SharePoint calendars, the team can access scheduling information by person and nursery rooms.

The organization uses Microsoft Flow to calculate attendance hours for payroll and time-off amounts for leave requests.  Microsoft Flow also handles all associated notifications or approvals around leave and bonus payments.

Results

In less than 4 months, Bright Little Stars deployed a modern application through which all staff can now easily manage their employment and personal development within the business, and where management can monitor key performance indicators, review employee wellbeing, and plan their recruitment for continued growth. Because the solution is built to be extensible, providing a platform for further process automation, Bright Little Stars can continue to focus on their core values.

The flexibility of PowerApps, combined with HappyWired’s creative thinking and responsiveness to our business challenges, helped created a great platform to grow our business.
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- Pintu Varsani

Finance Manager
Bright Little Stars