Delivering immediate impact with Power Apps

“Our new Education and Event Power App has had an immediate impact on the Trust and the way we capture this information. Not only have we solved a critical business problem and reduced reporting times from one day to minutes, with data entry times halved, our staff are much happier, and reporting is more accurate. The app helps us gain quick insight into the performance of our educational and events activities, which allows us to make rapid management decisions.”

Gill Dowse, Knowledge and Evidence Manager, Scottish Wildlife Trust

For over 50 years, Scottish Wildlife Trust has worked with its members, partners and supporters in pursuit of its vision of healthy, resilient ecosystems across Scotland’s land and seas.

The Trust successfully champions the cause of wildlife through policy and campaigning work, demonstrates best practice through practical conservation and innovative partnerships, and inspires people to take positive action through its education and engagement activities. It also manages a network of around 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland and is a member of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement.

Manual and inaccurate reporting

As a result of mostly manual and time consuming processes across the organisation, the Trust made the decision to embark on a digital evolution project. To begin their digital journey, the Trust identified some quick wins that could be rolled out in a matter of weeks and deliver impact quickly.

One of the quick wins that would deliver the most impact was their events data capture process. The Trust runs around 1,000 educational activities and events across the UK, annually. Around 40 volunteers and staff, including rangers and visitor centre employees, run these events across 11 UK sites and use spreadsheets to record attendance and event details. The data across the sites are then emailed by the 40 staff, each quarter, to be collated and fed into another spreadsheet owned by the corporate team that reported on overall quarterly organisational performance.

The exhaustive effects of the process were felt by both the staff recording and emailing the data and the corporate team using the data for reporting and insights. It was time-consuming for staff to enter data into spreadsheets due to the number of fields. The corporate team had to clean and process the data before it could be fed into a report. This process took around one day of the corporate teams time to complete each quarter. The procedure was non-standardised, created inaccuracies and rework. There was a lack of confidence in data accuracy, it was time-consuming and restrictive, and had the potential to create inaccurate reporting.

"We needed a Power App to change the way we capture information".

From manual input to automated insights

Scottish Wildlife Trust partnered with Incremental Group to build an Education and Events app using Microsoft Power Apps. This quick win would be a major stepping stone in fulfilling the Trust’s digital evolution objectives.

The selection process involved three organisations, with the Trust selecting Incremental Group based on our ability first, to understand the intricacies of their manual event process and second, to come up with a packaged Power Apps programme to automate their events data capture.

The Trust had comfort in a packaged Power Apps solution, as with most not-for-profits, they had a tightly controlled budget. Incremental’s experience in the not-for-profit sector was also a contributing factor and gave the Trust confidence in our understanding of their organisation’s unique needs.

Within a matter of a week, Incremental developed an Education and Events Power App that has considerably simplified the data capture process. The Education and Events app was the ideal solution for the Trust. It had an easy-to-use intuitive interface, could be used on a mobile device and resulted in minimal training requirements for staff.

The app was deployed to 40 staff who have been using it on their mobile devices or desktops to capture data on around 25,000 attendees. Data capture has moved from updating spreadsheets to using radio buttons and drop-down options and includes an autofill functionality for event location data, based on the mobile device location. Rather than staff having 35+ fields to complete on a spreadsheet, only the fields that are relevant to their event or educational activity are displayed, halving the time taken to record data.

Not only has the Education and Events app significantly streamlined processes, saved precious time for staff, but the app also has improved data quality – by enforcing rules and standards to the data. The standardised data feeding automatically into the corporate reports have saved the corporate team substantial time when compiling reports and given them confidence in the data accuracy when reporting to funding partners.

Gill Dowse, Knowledge and Evidence Manager at Scottish Wildlife Trust said “Our new Education and Event Power App has had an immediate impact on the Trust and the way we capture this information. Not only have we solved a critical business problem and reduced reporting times from one day to minutes, with data entry times halved, our staff are much happier, and reporting is more accurate. The app helps us gain quick insight into the performance of our educational and events activities, which allows us to make rapid management decisions.”

"Our new Education and Event Power App has had an immediate impact on the Trust and the way we capture this information."

Reporting times reduced from one day to minutes

The corporate team has seen a huge time saving from the Education and Event app, with the time spent gathering, reconciling and cleaning data previously taking one day, to report generation now taking a matter of minutes. The standardisation of the data has improved data accuracy and given the management team more confidence in their reporting.

Staff and volunteers using the Education and Events app have halved the time it takes to gather attendee data, which means they can spend more time engaging with attendees at the events.

"Not only have we solved a critical business problem and reduced reporting times from one day to minutes, with data entry times halved, our staff are much happier, and reporting is more accurate."

Digital evolution

The time savings, efficiencies and data quality that have transpired from the Education and Events app has inspired the Trust to review how they capture data and streamline other manual and repetitive processes using Power Apps. The addition of more Power Apps supports the Trusts wider digital evolution project.

"The app helps us gain quick insight into the performance of our educational and events activities, which allows us to make rapid management decisions.”

Find out how we can help your organisation achieve success with Power Apps.

Discover our Power Apps Services »