“When we put offers together, we start with the strength of what Microsoft provides then make sure to add value over and above that. There’s plenty we can do with PowerApps to engage and empower Firstline Workers.”
Empowering the underserved
When designing solutions for companies with Firstline Workers, Mint gives these critical employees the tools – and respect – they need to do their jobs well. “Historically, these workers have been underserviced as far as technology is concerned; they’ve not been an IT or a licensing budget line item,” says Henri Fourie, Head of Delivery at Mint. “We want to place the richness of the Microsoft cloud in the hands of Firstline Workers, so they have access to their organizations’ information.” Mint Executive Director Francois Pienaar agrees, adding, “It’s also about empowering Firstline Workers so they’re able to deliver a better service. That’s why Microsoft 365 F1 is so compelling.”
Mint begins by identifying customers’ business problems, then asking what it might be worth to solve those problems. When the issues are tied to Firstline Workers, Mint makes the case that there is value in accommodating their needs. “Our job is to increase the gap between the cost and the value being provided,” says Fourie. “When we can amplify that value, the conversation becomes easier. That’s when we see companies re-evaluating their workforces and investing in Microsoft 365 E5 because the Microsoft Firstline Worker SKU is attractive not just to the employees in the field but to office-based employees as well.”
PowerApps make the difference
One way Mint adds value for their customers is by developing custom PowerApps to help them reach their business goals and accomplish everyday tasks. “Our customers inspire the ideas behind the PowerApps we build,” says Fourie. “When we put offers together, we start with the strength of what Microsoft provides then add value over and above that. There’s plenty we can do with PowerApps to engage and empower Firstline Workers.”
Mint uses the versatility of the cloud to customize solutions and digitize processes with PowerApps wherever possible, adding value and strength to packages catering to Firstline Workers. “PowerApps give us that additional channel through which we can securely give Firstline Workers access to their companies’ back-end systems,” explains Fourie.
According to Pienaar, this is where Mint makes its most significant impact. “We remind companies that they can purchase these Microsoft Firstline Worker licenses directly online, but they won’t necessarily know how to derive value from them straight out of the box. That’s where we come in as a CSP, introducing our PowerApps that can really round off the technology for successful roll-outs. The cloud lets us create, test and deploy very quickly. That’s what makes the PowerApp story such an exciting one.”
Taking it to the field
Working with customers to build a PowerApp that fits each unique situation has resulted in a wide variety of solutions for Firstline Workers:
- Safety is mission-critical in South Africa’s ubiquitous mining industry. Thanks to Mint, Firstline Workers can report on potential safety and health concerns and log details about any incidents that do occur – all from a customized PowerApp that ties directly to companies’ back-end systems. Delivering a more efficient, responsive and transparent improvement over legacy paper systems, this solution enhances safety conditions for workers while minimizing legal risks for customers.
- Mint developed a PowerApp that allows representatives of South African financial institutions to authenticate people’s identifications to comply with that country’s Financial Intelligence center Act (FICA) regulations. Employees use mobile devices to verify names and account information by securely uploading personal ID documents to back-end systems. The application is used in the field and in satellite branches for business development as well as standard account management.
- To give Firstline Workers direct access to updated corporate policies and procedures, Mint custom-created an app to allow HR personnel to upload relevant documents to the cloud. Employees in the field review and accept policies remotely instead of physically visiting a central office. It also gives Firstline Workers a sense of connectedness and engagement within
- Mint enabled a solution for internal auditors of prominent national entities in the retail and restaurant sectors in South Africa to upload images and reports of in-store safety and compliance issues. Rather than use a public channel or unsecured third-party apps, such as social media or personal email accounts, these Firstline Workers now rely on a private, secure system to disseminate sensitive information, even from their own mobile devices. This moves imagery off of employees’ phones and into the protected environment of the application.
- A facilities management company put the power of technology in the hands of its Firstline Workers who are in the field maintaining hygiene supplies in office buildings. The Mint-designed PowerApp allows them to document their work, chart inventories, obtain customer sign-offs – all via the worker’s mobile device. A report is generated and distributed by the back-end system, then stored within SharePoint.
“We want to place the richness of the Microsoft cloud in the hands of Firstline Workers so they have access to their organizations’ information.”
A sizable part of Mint’s offering, specifically when it comes to Firstline Worker solutions, comes from managed services and continuous digital enablement. “We’re really talking about change management here,” notes Fourie. “How are we going to help the customer roll out the technology? What is the communication plan? What is the training and demo strategy?
Given the rate of change in Office 365 and across all Microsoft technologies, we need to provide support on an ongoing basis.”
Since the specialized skill sets of many Firstline Worker teams are not computer-based, training is critical to success.
“Within this segment, the IT literacy is not necessarily at the same level as it is elsewhere in the organization,” says Fourie. “For that reason, more effort needs to be made during the onboarding process to connect with the Firstline Worker audience.”