With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, business organizations around the world suffered huge setbacks. The situation was no different in Sri Lanka. Similar to how most business entities responded, the first priority of John Keells IT (JKIT), was to ensure the continued wellbeing of its employees and realigning its operational capabilities towards fulfilling critical client obligations. As such, a methodical means was critically required to facilitate an efficient information flow on the said focus areas detailed. The Staff Status-check Power App was proposed by the JKIT Microsoft Team as a garage project, with the end-user app being developed using Microsoft PowerApp. Integrating the authentication mechanisms of Azure Active Directory and secure employee data retrieval capabilities of Azure SQL, a Microsoft Power BI dashboard was developed, where all COVID related situational data was mapped onto the management interface. JKIT’s COVID response plan involved three phases in which the operation was gradually reverted to the highest-possible level of normalcy, and the app was deployed across each phase in order to achieve specific information dissemination & gathering objectives.
In phase one, the focus was on fine-tuning the app’s functionality, assessing data security risks, and obtaining preliminary status checks from employees. With the second phase, the app’s function shifted to facilitating sharing of updates between management and staff. In the third and final phase, with the impending reopening of offices, the app played a crucial role in ensuring that safety protocols and attendance rosters were communicated and acknowledged. In addition, the app also directed continuing employee status checks to the management, aiding their decision-making.
The deployment enabled JKIT to reach a state of preparedness against COVID-19 implications within a very short period of time. The comprehensive information flow and up-to-date reporting enabled by the app, geared JKIT to understand the existing operational barriers and risks, and take steps towards mitigating the same. While the impact and associated risks of COVID-19 remain locally, the app is currently being used in its full capacity to help management efficiently and accurately assess the prevailing situation, and direct staff and operational efforts in the most risk-free manner.