We discuss Microsoft’s move to make its Power Platform and Dynamics 365 products free to help the battle against COVID-19.
In the past few weeks, Microsoft has recognised the part technology-led innovation is playing in the fight against COVID-19, by making its Power Platform and Dynamics 365 products available on a free six-month product offer.
Open to healthcare and government (local and central) organisations looking to implement a Power Platform or Dynamics 365 Customer Service solution in response to COVID-19, the free licensing offer provides an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate innovation and rapidly roll out solutions that can make a difference in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
“Organisations up and down the UK have an immediate need for cloud solutions to rapidly respond to quickly changing needs using custom apps and automated solutions, support remote workers, and engage vulnerable citizens,” explains Gary Raife, Power Platform Lead at Agilisys. “Often, one of the barriers preventing organisations from utilising the Power Platform product suite (Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Apps portals and Power Virtual Agents) is the cost of licensing, so this is a very welcome move by Microsoft.”
Power Platform was designed to empower everyone, regardless of their technical ability, to collaborate and solve problems fast – which is why Gary says the move by Microsoft is so welcome. “This concept has never been more impactful than in this time of crisis. Whether it’s the opportunity to put an idea into practice without having to go through the relevant processes usually needed to release funds and resources, or rapidly implementing a templated solution, this frees up IT teams to be truly creative. No idea that could potentially save lives or deliver better outcomes for citizens should remain locked away at the moment.”
Coordinate and automate emergency responses
Two examples from Microsoft of how Power Platform is enabling organisations to co-ordinate information and resources in times of crisis are:
Healthcare Emergency Response Resource Tracking—the Power Platform team worked with a Seattle hospital to create apps and dashboards to provide visibility into available beds and supplies like masks and ventilators. Any healthcare provider can now implement the Emergency Resource Tracking solution to manage emergency responses and equipment inventories, beds and staffing needs, and emergency leaders can leverage the decision support dashboard to make decisions. Read more about the solution.
Crisis Communications—a low-code solution that combines Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint to coordinate information sharing and team collaboration in response to evolving conditions. Employees can report a work status and make requests, and admins can use the app to push updates, news including RSS feeds from the World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local authorities, or emergency contacts to different locations – all accessible on the web, mobile, or in Teams. Read more about the solution.
Using its deep public sector experience, Agilisys has created ‘Helping Hands’, a flexible solution that utilises Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform to help local authorities manage contacts with the list of vulnerable people identified by the UK Government.
To protect the most vulnerable people from the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has identified and written to 1.5 million citizens across the UK, requesting they social shield for 12 weeks. For many, this long-term isolation will be difficult without external help across a wide variety of needs.
As a result, working with the London Borough of Merton, Agilisys has designed and built ‘Helping Hands’ – a contact management solution that is designed to track both the outreach contacts with vulnerable people, and also identify their specific needs, be it just plain contact with someone or more specific needs like shopping, collecting prescriptions or organising transport for to medical appointments.
- The solution, which is now being made available to all local authorities given the current coronavirus situation, enables users to:
- Allocate / re-allocate a list of vulnerable people to call
- Record all relevant data
- Keep a full record of contact history that’s fully searchable and easily accessible
- View in one dashboard who needs follow up action
- Report on progress / left to contact / unable to contact, to ensure full-service coverage
“This is a great example of the rapid development and deployment that is enabled by Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform,” says Gary. “Over a weekend our team, because they have deep insight into the public sector, developed a solution for Merton that can now be deployed within 5 days in other local authorities.”
“It’s this sort of accelerated innovation and teamwork that will help us deal with the disruption caused by the coronavirus, accelerate care and service delivery and hopefully get us back to some kind of normality as quickly as possible.”
Reach out for assistance
Our team of public sector experts are here to support you during the coronavirus crisis, whether it’s rolling out a templated solution or developing your own ideas to help you solve business-critical challenges. To hear how we can help – including information in how you can take advantage of the six-month product offers from Microsoft – contact us today.