Casper365 – Office 365, Azure & SharePoint Automation Platform

Downing College Student Forms

Casper365 Partner Case Study with Downing College

Downing College case study - Cambridge

About Downing College

Downing College in the University of Cambridge was founded in 1800 by the bequest of Sir George Downing.  Set amidst 20 acres of magnificent grounds in the heart of the city, Downing College is a community of committed scholars and students, current and future leaders in their fields.  It is a place of welcome, diversity, and of inclusion.

Downing College were already committed to using Microsoft 365 and wanted to harness the full potential of what they already had. They have a small, generalised IT team of three, so needed to bring in specialized knowledge within the Office 365 environment, especially with regards to SharePoint and Power Platforms.

Summary

Challenge

Downing College needed to digitalise their exiting paper forms, ensuring that they created a central hub that held accessible forms for students to adopt and use. The key challenges were creating a solution for students, so they could find what they were looking for easily and self-serve, whilst also meeting the Tutorial Administrative Office needs to stop chasing paper trails and to have a full audit trail of requests. The Tutorial Administration Office, IT, and the Bursary department all needed access to this data, so it was important to satisfy this element through SharePoint lists.

Downing College needed a partner that were experienced working with educational establishments as the college and university structure is quite complicated. This experience coupled with their knowledge and expertise in Office 365, SharePoint, and Power Platforms meant that Business Cloud Integration were a great fit to deliver this project.

 

Strategy

 

Downing College worked with Business Cloud Integration, who fully managed the project and kept it on track with clear scope and clear timings. To help tie in with budgets the work was split into four different Continual Development phases, satisfied using SharePoint, PowerApps, and Bookings. Business Cloud Integration built Downing College a new Intranet homepage using their Casper365™ Office 365 and SharePoint automation platform.

Phase 1

  • PowerApps – The team developed PowerApps for book reimbursements, holiday, student accommodation requests, financial support, travel requests, reimbursement and other requests. These replaced the paper version of 27 forms, providing full governance through full visibility of the audit trail. The functionality was developed by finding the data analysis and using the bespoke SPFX web part and Power BI.

Phase 2

  • Microsoft Flow – They deployed approval and workflows into the PowerApps solution comprising of bespoke notifications, satisfying internal approval processes in Microsoft Flow.
  • User Interface – Building on Phase 1 by creating a more friendly UI, providing further useful features and functionalities.
  • PowerApps – The ability to add attachments for finance, book expenses, and travel were added to the PowerApps, as was the ability for students to book out room resources.
  • Personal and Financial Details, Self-Serve – Bank details held in a secure vault on the Downing Tenancy, which only they have access to, this information is sent via a secure API using a custom flow director. Students can update their bank details via the PowerApp but not view previously entered details for added security.

Phase 3 (In Progress)

  • Architecture and design – Business Cloud Integration designed the intranet using modern hub sites. This is currently in User Acceptance Testing with a view to going live when the new term begins in October.
  • Resource Booking – Utilising Microsoft Booking, giving students the ability to book on-site resources such as the Tennis Courts, Piano room. This is currently in POC but will be used when the new term begins in October.

Phase 4 (To come)

  • SharePoint Online – SharePoint Modern sites will provide simple to use and user-friendly pages. These will be created with Downing College to make sure they are relevant for specific departmental areas, both for Tutors and the Tutorial Administration office. These SharePoint Site Collections will be deployed using the Casper365 automation service and used for any future branch deployment of sites, assets, and styling.