We digitised and automated an asset management process, driving productivity as well as better asset awareness.
A college was experiencing difficulties with asset management, particularly assets once they had been loaned to staff. The college’s current practices relied heavily on paper forms and manual email notifications, meaning information was not easily searchable and subject to human error or omission. The involvement of numerous stakeholders added an additional challenge as the platform would need to include the IT and finance department, line managers and staff members. In summary, the platform needed to capture and review asset information, while automatically notifying stakeholders.
The college’s adoption of Microsoft 365 meant we could leverage the Power Platform to solve their challenge. A PowerApp was built upon SharePoint Lists, used as a storage repository for asset and loan data. The data captured included the device details, the loanee’s details and the condition of the device. Power Automate and Adaptive cards were key components, as they enabled the way users interact with the platform without entering the PowerApp. Adaptive Cards are actionable message cards which can be sent via Power Automate, via Microsoft Teams or email. A card was sent to the appropriate user based on where the asset was in the asset cycle. Here is a walkthrough of the process which we implemented:
- Initial loan:
- The IT department enters all the details of the asset and captures who the device is loaned out to.
- An adaptive card is sent to the staff member via email stating their equipment is ready for collection. This card provided all the details of where, when and what equipment they needed to collect.
- The IT department would log the device as returned, then determine the return condition. Based on their decision, the PowerApp dynamically requires them to fill out the appropriate fields, sending a notification to the appropriate stakeholder. The return conditions options are Good, Damaged, Lost or Stolen or End of Life.
- An example of how Adaptive cards are used was if the item is returned damaged, the line manager is notified via email with the details of the damage and the cost of repair. The line manager must make the decision whether to authorise the repair and provide the budget code to do so. The adaptive card allows the line manager to enter the information in the email itself! Their response is captured via Power Automate, updates the application, and notifies the IT department.
- If an item is deemed to be in good condition, it may be reloaned to a new staff member and the process restarts.
- The entire loan history of the asset is recorded in the PowerApps application.
With this solution, OfficeLabs was able to increase awareness around assets, as well as alleviating the college from the use of paper forms and manually sending emails. By cutting down the manual effort, the IT department had a clear overview of all their assets in stock or on loan and were able to complete higher value tasks.
We can build you any asset management solution to reduce your manual effort. Let OfficeLabs help you map your path to improved productivity – contact us today.