For those who know me, I hate paper! It bugs me that in 2022 people still want to print everything under the sun. I’ve been in meetings referencing a digital copy on my iPad or MacBook and someone has offered to print it for me. With stylus and markup options I just don’t get why so many people still love printing.
Rant over, recently the maintenance team at my work have wanted to get away from printing jobs, and you can read here how I created an entire Helpdesk solution for them with SharePoint and Power Automation. And even now months later the maintenance team still love them, their weatherproofed iPads roam around with them ticking off jobs and taking notes. It is a great solution. Though like everything in IT, once you give someone an easier way to do things they suddenly want more and more. And I am always happy to help people dive further down a digital and paperless rabbit hole.
One of the jobs that our school has to do is check our playgrounds weekly for wear and tear and damage. One of the many jobs that are conducted to ensure that the children placed in our care are kept safe, though with an iPad at hand they didn’t want to have a paper form they had to check and then store somewhere… and most likely email to someone to say it has been done as well.
So once again I dived into SharePoint, and Power Automation and added this time Microsoft Forms. This one was easier than creating a ticketing system, step one, create a Sharepoint list with all the questions in it.
For me I have 1 SharePoint site titled ‘Workflows’ and my PD Forms Helpdesk and a range of other lists live in there that I can save data to, I like having them all in one place and it means in future when someone needs a list it is easy for them to find where they live.
I then jumped into Microsoft Forms and created the form, for this design, it was just name, data and then yes or no questions with a note section at the end. Easy to do and because it was for maintenance I added.
Once I had my SharePoint list I jumped into Power Automation and created a flow that ran when the form is filled out to create a new line on the SharePoint list and then send an email flagging it had been done with that data.
Finally, since this is a weekly task I created another Power Automation flow that creates a Planner Task with the URL to the form. This way each Monday morning a new ticket is created that asks them to fill out the form, once done the data is saved and shared and happens again the next week.
All of this took about an hour to build and will save not just paper but my maintenances team time from having to remember each Monday to create a ticket, print a form, fill it out and then share scan the form and send it to someone. All of which becomes a mindless task. This system saves 5-10 minutes of staff members’ time each week. Saving that time for them is worth more than an hour of my time.