When it comes to making the most of unexpected opportunities, Eagle Hill really cooks.
As our business has grown, our needs and ways of working have evolved right along with it. For us, an era of dramatic business change became a time to reflect and refresh our thinking and practices around our technology investments. Could we automate processes in-house to reclaim time, increase capacity, save money, make data-driven decisions faster, and improve our ability to deliver for ourselves and our clients? We found that we could.
The proof is in the pudding (and we like the pudding)
Savings from automation efforts to date
Performance management and engagement reporting metrics automated
Successfully implemented automated applications…and more cooking!
Whetting our appetite
Our first taste of process automation was a new workspace reservations system that we built in Microsoft Power Apps to fit our exact needs, while saving us the considerable costs associated with a commercial tool. That success lit the fire under what has now become an ongoing in-house automation effort that dovetails with Eagle Hill’s determination to continually advance our knowledge management.
With each new automation effort, we’ve applied our learnings to refine our recipe for replicating our successes even faster:
Gather good ingredients
We started by developing a comprehensive knowledge management strategy and better understanding of our tech ecosystem, including Microsoft’s (MS) Power Platform Suite (which contains Power Apps for low-code app development, Power Automate for workflow automation, and Power BI for data visualization). Now, each newly automated application we develop integrates seamlessly into our company’s existing MS-based tech environment.
Preheat the process
Before we begin any automation effort, we make sure we fully understand the business process and have the right people and processes in place to support automation. Without these foundational elements, automation will not succeed. Knowing the root cause of bottlenecks and delays allows us to automate where it will have genuine, sustainable impact.
Mix it up
Using low-code, stand-alone solutions has been an easy, low-cost way for us to develop applications that align with our existing tech environment, integrate data from other systems, and scale easily as our business grows.
Monitor temperature and taste along the way
We pair each automation effort with strong change management to drive adoption. In addition to clearly communicating how our automated tools simplify day-to-day processes, we provide easily accessible trainings, which include step-by-step walk throughs of a new applications, FAQs, and communications about where to find help.
The main course
Our first application development effort, the workspace reservation tool, met Eagle Hill’s initial needs—and then some. We learned we could easily customize the tool, adding useful new functionality such as limited capacity and socially distanced seating options. And more importantly, we started extracting data about how our people were using our office space to inform where we can make improvements today and how we plan for our future workspace needs.
Next, hungry for more automation efficiency, we created a Power App to centralize and prioritize our internal help desk requests, helping us improve response times and pinpoint areas of delay we can alleviate with staff training. Similarly, we built a highly responsive client satisfaction tool to capture and share survey responses in real time. Thanks in part to the prompt action we take regarding client feedback obtained through this tool, Eagle Hill enjoys a Net Promoter Score twice the industry average.
Perhaps nowhere have our automation efforts had more impact than in our performance management processes. Previously, our employees would answer questions about performance, managers would add their perspectives, and eventually, a larger picture would roll up to leadership. This manual, time-consuming process contained within a simple platform for linear information seemed ripe for transformation. So, we built an automated application that allowed us to reduce this process from weeks down to minutes, and provided our leadership team more precise information about employee performance and engagement than ever before. (Check out our Performance Acceleration Living Lab to learn more.)
In all cases, our automation efforts have not only saved us time and money, but allowed us to make data-based decisions faster. What’s more? Along the way, we’ve learned we can customize these tools—easily and cheaply—to capture any additional data points or insights we need.
An enticing menu of future opportunities
With each new success, Eagle Hill sees the productivity, efficiency, and knowledge management potential in application development and automation really heating up.
What started as a small community of practice has grown into a group of expert solutionists who meet regularly to share tips and tricks, lessons learned, and ideas about future automation opportunities. These regular conversations have emerged as a favored route for exchanging best practices and broadening Eagle Hill’s knowledge base.
When we first started our automation efforts, we didn’t have a set recipe to follow. Now, we have a whole recipe book with easy-to-use tools, templates for capturing knowledge, and can’t-miss milestones that make for successful development of new applications. And most importantly, our results have whet our appetite to take our automation success further, for ourselves and our clients.