Case Study: COVID Tracker Powered by Power Platform Eases Not-for-Profit Agency’s Return to the Workplace

Learn how a non-profit organization in New York City, which has provided essential services throughout the pandemic, leveraged its existing investment in Microsoft 365 to create a customized vaccine and testing tracker application.

Executive Summary

An established non-profit with over 100 years of service to NYC requested support in launching a COVID testing and vaccination tracker to bring staff back into the office. Working in alignment with the client’s goals, Withum leveraged the non-profit’s existing Microsoft 365 investment to create a scalable and adjustable tracker, which opened the door to new technology considerations in the future.

The Client

  • Organization serving disadvantaged New York City residents
  • Non-profit structure
  • 2,500 staff with multiple locations across NYC
  • As the organization’s services were deemed critical, they had to be current with the changing local mandates for tracking vaccine compliance among staff across the five NYC boroughs

The Challenge

Our client recognized the likelihood that NYC would mandate some form of COVID vaccination and testing tracking and knew some staff would need to return to the office soon as much of their work could not be done remotely.

Hesitant to invest in an expensive packaged solution that might become outdated when city requirements changed, the client determined they wanted to leverage their existing investment in Microsoft 365 to provide :

  • User-friendly forms for their 2,500 staff to submit vaccination status, upload proof of vaccination or weekly testing results via mobile devices
  • Easy to understand dashboards and reports that showed data aggregated in ways that made sense for their unique use case.
  • A platform that could be updated quickly and economically as the situation evolved.
  • An easy-to-use solution that would provide a high level of security for personal data

The Approach And Solution

Initially, the client considered a primarily advisory engagement to complete this project. Withum was slated to provide solution design and training for IT staff, who would complete the actual development themselves. As deadlines changed, however, it became clear that the project needed to be accelerated, so Withum took over most of the development work while assuring the client was familiar enough with the solution to make small changes as needed. Within a few weeks from taking over development, Withum delivered a solution leveraging Microsoft Teams and Power Platform that included:

  • Data secured with row-level security in Dataverse for Microsoft Teams
  • A simple PowerApps dashboard, submission review interface and exportable reports
  • PowerApps forms accessible via Teams in a browser or mobile device
  • Automated reminder emails leveraging the Power Automate workflows

As predicted, not long after the application launched, the city’s reporting requirements changed. However, with the flexibility offered by the Power Platform, the required changes were made quickly and cost-effectively

Using New Technology

The client initially had some concern around using Teams to host this process since Teams had not been formally ‘launched’ across the organization. For many staff members, using the new tracking app was their first introduction to Teams.

The Results, ROI

Even with the organization’s relative inexperience with Teams and Power Platform, and some initial skepticism among staff about the process, 85% of staff used the new vaccination and testing tracker app to submit required reporting.

In addition, the organization saw the benefit of moving paper-based processes to web forms and asked Withum to develop a telecommuting request process using a Microsoft SharePoint list to store data and incorporating Power Automate and some out-of-the-box customizations. With the knowledge gained by the client’s staff from the tracker app rollout, Withum was able to hand off ongoing maintenance and changes for the telecommute request process to the client.

The vaccination tracker app and the telecommute request process helped this organization continue its vital mission of serving NYC residents in need, smoothing their staff’s transition to a hybrid work style, and building their capacity to develop their own solutions on the Microsoft platform in the future.

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