Moving from paper forms to SharePoint greatly improves request processing and efficiency at U.S. government agency
Remember paper forms? Of course you do, and actually they are still in use at many locations. Fortunately, many organizations are moving to electronic forms, with software-based workflows, that greatly speed and streamline processing. Microsoft SharePoint is an ideal platform for this. Read how Crow Canyon, with its extensive experience in business process automation on SharePoint and Office 365, was able to bring a U.S. government agency into the 21st Century.
A U.S. government agency was struggling with its outdated paper-based request tracking process. Requests for such things as travel expense reimbursement, purchasing, and services were all done by hand, with manual signatures required. Employees submitting requests and the request approvers were suffering from a slow and tedious process. Furthermore, all that paperwork needed to be filed for future reference, taking up valuable office space.
Crow Canyon brought in its Microsoft SharePoint expertise to put an end to the paper-shuffling. The company put all of the agency’s forms in SharePoint and developed workflows for automated tracking and approvals. All parties are kept notified as to status and can easily view the progress of the request. If a request gets “stuck”, this is immediately apparent and can be quickly freed up to continue towards completion. What previously took days is now done in hours.
The agency is no longer burdened with tracking and filing paper requests. All requests are stored in SharePoint, with a complete record for each request. The requests are easily searchable and accessible for auditing.
Travel Reimbursement Requests
Crow Canyon streamlined the agency’s travel expense reimbursements by providing an easy-to-use online form for submittal. Through automated workflows, the submitter’s information is populated on the form automatically. The submitter can enter a line item for each travel expense; the total amounts are auto-calculated. The person charged with approving the reimbursement is notified when the request is submitted. Not only can approvers then go into SharePoint to record their decisions, they can also directly respond via email. Simply clicking Approve or Deny and then Send will record the approver’s decision in SharePoint automatically. The approver has the flexibility to approve on the road, which improves response times. The system keeps everyone accountable by recording who submitted the request, when it was submitted, and when it was approved and by whom.
Similar to Travel Reimbursements, the Purchasing Request form developed by Crow Canyon is an online form that automatically populates the submitter’s information. Any number of line items can be added to the purchase request. The total of all requests are added up automatically. As with Travel Reimbursements, the approval for purchase is fully automated and can be done either through SharePoint or email.
After the form is submitted and approved, the Finance department can record a status for each line item: Awaiting Approval, To be Ordered, Ordered, and Reconciled. This aids in reconciling items ordered and items received with checks and credit card statements.
Request for Outside Services
One of the agency’s activities is to request services from citizens. Part of this process includes sending a government-mandated letter to the citizen when the service is requested. The challenge was that the agency did not have an editable PDF version of this document. However, Crow Canyon developed a process for automatically creating this letter as a PDF directly from the information input into SharePoint. The letter generated from SharePoint matches the mandated letter exactly, allowing the agency to continue to meet government regulations. Again, all requests are recorded in SharePoint, with approval through email or the SharePoint interface.