Not every business started using SharePoint because of a problem that needed fixing. Sometimes the goal is to improve a process that already works. Wake Robin, a vibrant Life Care Community in Shelburne, Vermont, is a great example of this. “I can’t say there was a specific problem that made us investigate SharePoint,” said Business Operations Manager Teri O’Brien. “We just wanted an easier way for department directors and managers to communicate back and forth.”
Two years ago, the managers at Wake Robin met with the Asbury Group, a provider-based senior living consulting firm, and learned about how SharePoint could streamline processes and improve efficiencies in their communities. Shortly afterward, Wake Robin invited Aerie Consulting to come in and make a presentation. “Their team came in and we never looked back,” O’Brien said. “We watched the presentation and said, ‘Yeah, this is exactly what we need.’”
The Wake Robin Community consists of approximately 320 residents, requiring detailed coordination of services, including housekeeping, nursing, maintenance, dining services and business personnel. Managing requests from residents and staff required several different forms that were difficult to track through various stages of completion. Documents, schedules, and work orders all required carefully planned processes to move from one desk to the next.
The management team knew there was an easier way to manage information, but they didn’t know how to get the project off the ground. “We were looking at a blank screen,” O’Brien said. “We wanted improvements, but had no idea where to start.”
A consultant from Aerie worked one-on-one with the department directors, gathered feedback and integrated their ideas into the internal network solution. “He was very articulate and helped everyone understand the process of how each piece would work,” O’Brien said. “There was a lot of tweaking, and it still goes on to this day. We’re constantly adding to the great platform Aerie helped us put in place.”
“Collaboration is easy with Aerie. They really understand the communication piece.”
Business Operations Manager
Solution & Results
The solution Aerie Consulting created was flexible, yet cohesive. Each department has a dashboard customized to their informational needs, wrapped inside a branded interface that stays consistent across the organization. When directors need to look up flex time for an employee, or see that an internal review is due, all they need to do is go to the SharePoint site. Employees can access their handbooks right on the server, and even people who don’t use computers on a daily basis often use the site for pay schedules and sending forms to their supervisors.
The solution Aerie put in place has been particularly useful with managing maintenance, security, housekeeping, and transportation projects. “All work orders are on the site,” O’Brien said. “They can come from residents or staff, and at any time people can see the status of each project. This has been a very useful tool and Aerie was great about setting it up.”
According to O’Brien, the benefits have impacted the bottom line as well. The HR dashboard has brought significant savings on paper costs and cut the time spent on managing processes, allowing people to contribute to the mission in a more meaningful way. Nowhere has this been more evident than at the front desk, where administrative assistants used to manage meeting room reservations in a large binder. Now everyone schedules meetings themselves on the intranet. This simple change lifted a huge burden, allowing the front desk staff to focus on new ways to support the company.
Once the employees embraced the technology, they quickly found it indispensible. “We have employee kiosks in the staff lounges,” O’Brien said, “big monitors where activities, company news, pictures, and birthday announcements are all on display from our SharePoint site. We know the employees use it, because if something isn’t updated – we hear about it!”
Now Aerie Consulting is helping the company migrate all their SharePoint functions to cloud-based computing, and they recently migrated the company’s public-facing website as well. “Collaboration is easy with Aerie. They really understand the communication piece,” O’Brien said. “They continually help us improve so we can focus on the things that are most important -- our residents, our staff, and the public.”
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