How we made Microsoft Power Apps work for a mental health organisation
When fulfilling your mission means ensuring that mental health support is accessible when needed and you aim to see everyone within 1 week of referral – you need a solution that is going to fit your requirements specifically. Arthur Ellis: Mental Health Support is an organisation that provides children and adults with support to help them recover, manage and maintain their mental health. Founded in 2017, Arthur Ellis has experienced significant growth over the past four years and therefore an increased demand for their services. In order to support this growth, they recognised that they needed a Custom Business Solution. That’s when they engaged with Pragmatiq…
What is a Custom Business Solution?
Off-the-shelf CRM solutions are as the name suggests, a pre-built product designed to suit a mass market. As a generic system, the features and functionality included are often more than a business needs, lack individuality, and result in organisations having to adapt their processes to fit around the solution, as opposed to the other way around.
Here at Pragmatiq Solutions, we design custom business solutions, leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform as the foundation. Microsoft Power Apps is one of the tools within the Power Platform that enables businesses to build custom apps, to accommodate your specific needs or solve your problems when you cannot find a suitable off-the-shelf solution. This allows us to design tailored systems that are fully flexible and able to grow with an organisation over time.
In the case of Arthur Ellis: Mental Health Support, they recognised that an off-the-shelf system would not provide the functionality they required, given that a lot of their processes are unique and complex. After gathering the organisations detailed requirements, it was apparent that their needs did not require standard Dynamics 365 CRM functionality such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, etc. Instead, we designed and implemented a Custom Business Solution, built on Microsoft Power Apps, with only the functionality they required but could be expanded upon as the organisation grows.
Key Benefits of a Custom Business Solution…
- Work the way you want to – No two organisations operate in the same way and a bespoke system can be tailored to your individual requirements. As a result, this provides a more positive user experience, increased adoption rates, and means there is no irrelevant functionality that hinders the way you want to work
- Scalability – A custom business solution can scale as your business grows or your needs change
- Flexible pricing – Only pay for the features and functionality you need, unlike an off-the-shelf system where you are paying for many elements that aren’t of use
- Technology updates – As we leverage the Microsoft platform, our custom business solutions benefit from the twice-yearly ‘wave’ updates alongside incremental updates, to ensure your system is always up to date and working on the latest features
Why Arthur Ellis chose Custom Business Solution…
“With demand for mental health and emotional support increasing exponentially through the coronavirus pandemic, we really needed to get systems in place to help us cope with the high demand whilst delivering against our mission and growing team. This is why we decided to engage with Pragmatiq to help us build a bespoke system that would fulfil those elements. It was clear that an off-the-shelf package wouldn’t give us the security, efficiency and ease of use that our Dynamics 365 system would. Since the system has been built our admin time has been significantly cut down, helping us to stick to our mission, even when we grow. Ultimately providing people with mental health and emotional support as quickly as possible.”
Jon Manning, Chairman & CEO at Arthur Ellis Mental Heath Support
Below we will cover the key challenges that Arthur Ellis faced, the solution we implemented, and the benefits of this:
Challenge 1: Managing data and records in complex spreadsheets
Historically, Arthur Ellis had managed all their data and records across complex spreadsheets which were lengthy and cumbersome to navigate. This meant that they were experiencing difficulties retrieving key information quickly as well as duplication and errors in the data. Additionally, they needed to manage different record types (clients, corporate, supporters, mentors, etc.) Using spreadsheets to store these records meant it became very difficult to link them together as well as the need to link session notes to a record, which could sometimes be up to three Word documents in length.
Solution: Implement a Custom Business Solution
We built a custom solution for Arthur Ellis which enabled them to manage all stakeholder records and provide them with the functionality to effortlessly link records together, increasing the speed that they can navigate through their data. Additionally, session notes can be linked directly to those involved and due to the seamless integration between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 documents can also be linked quickly and simply.
- 360-degree overview of business data and operations
- Time saved on administration
- Increase productivity
- Improved accuracy of information
- Increased efficiency of processes
- Enhanced data security
Challenge 2: Cumbersome referrals process
Arthur Ellis predominantly receives their referrals through their website, however, however there was no integration with the rest of the process because they were using spreadsheets. All information that was captured via a referral form had to be inputted manually to their spreadsheets, which was time-consuming and left the data open to human error. Additionally, once a referral then became a client their data would have to be manually moved along their onboarding system.
Solution: Develop a structured and systemised referral process
We worked with Arthur Ellis to design structured processes within the solution, that fitted in with the way they worked. This enabled them to gain a complete overview of the applications they received and where they were within their onboarding process. The systemised process also increased the accuracy and level of information that was captured, ensuring the organisation met the various industry regulations to remain compliant. Additionally, we implemented a website integration to ensure that when a referrals form is submitted, it integrates directly with the solution to create a referral record. Once a referral is qualified, we also automated the service plan process using Power Automate. By building the solution on Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, we leveraged the security model within Dynamics 365 and customised it to fit Arthur Ellis’ specific needs. As a result, confidential data can only be seen by those with specific permissions and enhanced the organisation overall data security and compliance.
- Reduce admin time
- Standardised processes
- Increase efficiency
- Increased vitality
- Enhanced data security
- Ensured industry regulation compliance
Challenge 3: Billing and invoicing is different across service plans
Due to the varying nature of the work that Arthur Ellis carries out, there are different service plans available. As a result, there are individual billing, and invoicing processes across the organisation. To carry out these processes, it required an individual to manually gather data from spreadsheets, calculate the invoice/s, send and track the progress, etc.
Solution: Implement a Xero integration
Not only does Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform seamlessly integrate with the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem, it also easily integrates with other third-party applications. By implementing the Xero integration, Arthur Ellis can track and bill automatically for all sessions. The solution recognises the different service plans, session length and occurrence, and other necessary details to invoices accordingly.
- Full visibility of payment process
- Reduced admin time
- Accurate invoice amounts
Challenge 4: Mentor calendars and schedules complex to track
Managing mentors’ session schedules alongside client records was previously a manual process which required an individual to input information into both diaries. This increased the chance of errors and duplication, as well as being a time-consuming administrative task.
Solution: Implement an Outlook integration
We implemented an Outlook Integration, enabling all sessions that mentors scheduled to sync with both their calendar and the session record in the system. Not only did this save time and increased data accuracy, but also ensured that mentors can access client records through their calendar eliminating the need to leave the application.
- Reduce admin time
- Ensure accuracy of data
- Streamline scheduling process
Challenge 5: Difficulty gaining insights
Using spreadsheets to gather and store their data, Arthur Ellis struggled to gain a real-time view of their key information which resulted in them not being able to make strategic business decisions. They were wasting time each month gathering data to try to pull figures and reports together but ultimately had a lack of visibility across the organisation as a whole.
Solution: Include dashboards within the solution
To overcome this challenge, we implemented Dashboards within the system, enabling management to gain a comprehensive real-time view of all key data; completed sessions, service plans, overall client needs, previous week, upcoming week, etc. The ease with which their data can now be viewed allows them to gain the insight to make data-driven decisions.
- Increased visibility
- Accurate data reports
- Reduce task time
Our comments on the project…
“This project is a good example of how a custom solution can support an organisation that doesn’t fall under the traditional Sales or Customer Service. The solution we delivered enables Arthur Ellis: Mental Health Support to work smarter, by reducing admin time around sessions, booking and payment, along with giving management better insights into the business operations. Additionally, their new Bespoke CRM solution future proofs their working processes and business operations by providing a stable platform on which they can build and scale as their requirements grow or change.”
Jamie Evans, Technical Director at Pragmatiq
Full Case Study: Arthur Ellis
Arthur Ellis: Mental Health Support is an organisation, providing support to both children & adults to help recover, manage and maintain their mental health. The organisation recognises that only 1 in every 8 adults receive treatment for their mental health, and nationally, 75% of all children and young people are unable to access any support at all. Therefore, in 2017, Arthur Ellis was founded to help the nation become #IndependentFromIllness. Since then, the organisation has grown to support people across the country and has recognised the need to implement a Custom Business Solution to assist their growth.