LinkLiving achieves accurate reporting and flexible case management with Power Platform

“The Incremental team were so knowledgeable, they could transform our ideas into practical functionality. The highlight of the project was the people that delivered it.”

Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development at LinkLiving

Incremental builds a custom model-driven Power App to transform LinkLivings’ case management system. Replacing clunky, legacy processes with an agile, future-proof Microsoft solution.

 

LinkLiving is a charity that helps people to recover from the negative impacts of trauma and disadvantage. It has been providing specialist services in central Scotland to support mental health, homelessness prevention, independent living and inclusion for 20 years.

“What we needed was a system that could be flexible, agile and develops as our organisation changes. That is what Dynamics 365 gives us.”

Legacy system with poor reporting functionality

LinkLiving was using a custom-built, legacy CRM system that was no longer fit for purpose in a multitude of ways. LinkLiving provide a range of care and support services to vulnerable people, so rely heavily on an efficient case management system. The existing solution was not flexible, making it incompatible with non-registered service cases, which require different data entries from registered services.  This created siloed data and meant manual workarounds were required from staff.

Additionally, reporting functionality of the system was poor. This had been a challenge from inception, as the system had promised reporting features that did not deliver. This lack of reporting functionality was a key driver for LinkLiving. Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development at LinkLiving explained: “When operating in a not for profit environment, it is really important to be able to pull accurate reporting for funding purposes. This is critical to our organisation.” LinkLiving required a solution that could present accurate data and clear analysis.

Finally, the legacy system was moving out of commission and would no longer be supported, which would leave LinkLiving without CRM service support. LinkLiving required a new case management solution that would be maintained and supported.

“When operating in a not for profit environment, it is really important to be able to pull accurate reporting for funding purposes. This is critical to our organisation.”

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform ticked all the boxes

LinkLiving had previous knowledge of Dynamics 365 and was interested in exploring how the solution could work for its requirements. Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development, LinkLiving explained: “We knew Dynamics 365 worked well for other charities of a similar size and scope to our own, and we had heard that it was a very effective tool.” During the procurement process, LinkLiving became aware of Incremental through a recommendation from Scottish charity Aberlour. Lee Williamson explained, “We knew that Incremental had implemented the solution before with Aberlour and had come highly recommended. We had seen the output that was achieved there and were impressed.” Incremental was selected as LinkLiving’s preferred partner through the G-Cloud procurement process. Once selected, LinkLiving found Incremental to be a good cultural fit with its internal project team. John Jenks, Quality Assurance & Business Support Manager at LinkLiving said: “Once we met the team at Incremental, we knew we had made the right choice. They were absolutely brilliant from the start.”

The project kicked off with intensive discovery phase to clearly define LinkLivings solution requirements. LinkLiving felt supported by Incremental to guide this process, in clear, non-technical terminology. Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development said, “We don’t come from a technical background. We knew what we wanted the system to do, but we didn’t know how that translates in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) terms. Incremental ensured we understood each stage of the process.” Throughout discovery, Incremental and LinkLiving teams worked closely together as Incremental gained an in-depth understanding of LinkLivings organisation objectives, Lee Williamson explained: “The team were so knowledgeable, they could transform our ideas into practical functionality.”

Incremental designed and built a custom model-driven Power App to manage cases and assign plan records for every service LinkLiving provides. The Power App, built on Dynamics 365, enables LinkLiving to record and view information for service users, so staff within each service area have visibility of case management. The Power App also holds the application process a person would go through in order to be onboarded onto one of LinkLiving’s services. On the experience of working with Incremental, Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development said, “One of the most important elements of the process was that we established a really good working relationship with the team. They were excellent.”

“Once we met the team at Incremental, we knew we had made the right choice. They were absolutely brilliant from the start.”

Seamless user-adoption and efficient working

LinkLiving has an agile, streamlined case management system powered by Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. As a non-profit service provider, it is important for LinkLiving to be able to measure the performance of service routes and outcomes for their service users. Data needs to be accurately shared with funders, to evidence organisation outcomes are being met. The new solution offers superior reporting functionality to LinkLiving, meeting a key requirement. John Jenks, Quality Assurance & Business Support Manager at LinkLiving said: “Even from an early stage, it was clear that the reporting functionality of the new solution is significantly better than what we had before.”

Having a solution which is less cumbersome and clunky has made everyday processes for LinkLiving staff easier. As the new system is a Microsoft solution, the user-interface is similar to the other Microsoft products LinkLiving utilise, such as SharePoint and Outlook. The system is easy to navigate and this has enabled smooth user-adoption. John Jenks, Quality Assurance & Business Support Manager said, “One of the best pieces of evidence I could present on the success of the system is that our staff have embraced it so willingly and have shared no negative comments. Adoption of Dynamics 365 has been strong throughout the organisation and our staff are really pleased with its capabilities.” The ‘super-user’ training framework worked well for LinkLiving, as it is a large organisation which multiple service areas. Incremental supported the training of representatives from each service area, who could then cascade learning and knowledge transfer to the wider organisation effectively.

“Adoption of Dynamics 365 has been strong throughout the organisation and our staff are really pleased with its capabilities."

Flexible, future-proof solution

LinkLiving is planning to develop and extend reporting functionality to support additional use-cases, such as evidence for funding and tender bids. LinkLiving currently has access to reporting functionality that can support day to day processes and is exploring the opportunity to link its solution with Power BI, empowering users to create engaging and insightful dashboards. With Incremental, LinkLiving are planning integrations with its other Microsoft solutions and will be continuing to optimise usage and harness automation opportunities.

A key priority for LinkLiving was having a flexible system that could be adapted to meet the changing demands of the organisation. Lee Williamson, Head of Services and Development, LinkLiving said, “What we needed was a system that could be flexible, agile and develops as our organisation changes. That is what Dynamics 365 gives us. This is supported by the relationship we continue to have with Incremental. We know if we need updates to the system, they can support.”

“What we needed was a system that could be flexible, agile and develops as our organisation changes. That is what Dynamics 365 gives us. This is supported by the relationship we continue to have with Incremental."

Link Living helping young people

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