M365 Portal Increases Security and Improves Efficiency

Cadence developed an online Parent Portal using Microsoft PowerApps

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Introduction

Edmonton Public Schools (EPS) has over 109,000 students enrolled making it is the 6th largest school division in Canada, as of September 2022. This large volume of students translates into a significantly large volume of student records that EPS staff are tasked with managing and accessing; this also creates a constant demand from students and their families requesting access to their educational records. It had become increasingly important that EPS staff should efficiently access and procure these records upon receiving a request as well as significantly reduce privacy and security risks.

 

To verify their identities, students and parents would email EPS staff a copy of their photo Id and then receive their requested records back through email. Unfortunately, this solution was not serving EPS efficiently; the process was slow, required a lot of manual attention, and presented security risks for both EPS staff and requesters. EPS knew they were reaching the limits of what was possible with the Google suite and knew it was time to incorporate a new online tool for solving their records requests business process.  Cadence Solutions was contacted and was thrilled to recommend and develop a Microsoft 365 solution for EPS’s records requests problem as well as guide them on their digital transformation journey.

Solution

Cadence developed an online portal using Microsoft PowerApps where external users can authenticate and submit forms. The form is responsive to the users answers where they only see questions applying to them. All form configuration is done within PowerApps and submissions are stored within SharePoint.

 

Improvements include:

  • Triggers to automatically create email workflows upon outside users submitting forms

  • A review page for form applicants; now responses can be reviewed on one page prior to submission reducing the likelihood of errors 

  • The automation of manual processes, reducing time spent by EPS employees on tracking and storing applications

  • A SharePoint site to store form attachments and a PDF of form responses

  • Metadata for every portal form application

Outcome

EPS can now effectively manage all form submissions natively in SharePoint online.

EPS staff now review the contents of form submissions and attachments in SharePoint.

Then, once their review is completed, all EPS staff need to do is upload the requested records and change the application status to completed; this triggers the workflow to automatically email the applicant with a secure temporary link that takes them directly to their documents hosted in SharePoint. Now employees spend less time reviewing applications and can be confident in the security of managing and sharing sensitive information.

 

Edmonton Public Schools now has:

 

  • Significantly reduced application form review and reply time

    • Automated emails replace manual email replies

    • Less input errors

    • Form responses auto populate a pdf template

  • Single Source of Truth

    • SharePoint Online allows handling of all form submissions from a single manageable location

  • Upgraded Security and Compliance

    • ID documents are no longer received through email

    • Requested documents will not be sent as attachments in email  

1885

YEAR FOUNDED

Edmonton, AB

HEADQUARTERS

109,000

NUMBER OF STUDENTS

Did you know?

Edmonton Public Schools was founded on February 3, 1885, under the North West Territories Department of Education. It is the oldest established school district in the Province of Alberta.