Focusing on digital inclusion and challenging the system

Akari’s inclusive and accessible solutions are transforming how organisations within the public sector and healthcare industries operate and serve citizens

Lindsay Climson
By Lindsay Climson on 23 December 2021
Focusing on digital inclusion and challenging the system

Akari used Teams and the Power Platform to create a solution that allowed users to open a case for a lost dog

When we launched in 2019, Akari’s team knew it could challenge the status quo and become a new type of Microsoft partner – one that centres on diversity and inclusion. At the time, less than 11 per cent of adults with autism were in full-time paid employment and less than 20 per cent of young people with autism were finishing further education. Akari wanted to do more, to challenge the system and improve these statistics.

Akari knew that if we were to build a company with accessibility at its core, we would need our solutions to be inclusive by design. Not only would they need to address business needs, but also support digital inclusion to enable anyone to use the technology anywhere.

Having built our own application for Microsoft Teams, Akari was perfectly placed to support customers and demonstrate the art of the possible, and we began running ‘build an app’ sessions, working with UK-based customers such as Marks & Spencer, AstraZeneca and Glasgow City Council. These organisations wanted to embrace new ways of working, build a more inclusive workforce and bring employees back to work safely post-Covid. We quickly saw success, helping our customers to build and customise apps like FAQ+ bot, Company Communicator and Building Access App.

Akari now has extensive experience of working with a wealth of businesses of all sizes and in multiple industry verticals. One notable project involved Akari working with Derbyshire Constabulary’s strategic tasking team to develop a custom solution within Teams that enables officers to coordinate and report on tasks more effectively. In 2021, Akari also developed a landing page for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners which dynamically ranks and displays applications based on location and usage, integrating single sign-on and cognitive search functionality.

For other organisations, we have also been growing a skills-based network through Teams. For example, the MyNetwork solution enables AstraZeneca colleagues to post ideas and topics into a central location and follow other topics of interest. Users can add individuals and projects to their connections, which generates an interactive view of their expanding network.

We’ve witnessed resilience and tenacity like never before over the past 18 months, and one of the most incredible findings has been the ability to create, innovate and curate together on a previously unfathomable scale.

Multi-agency collaboration involves data that is typically being captured and shared with multiple parties for review, amendments and further referral, either internally or to other organisations. This is particularly common in industries such as the public sector and healthcare.

We have been working with Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC), which provides primary healthcare services to just over 500,000 citizens in Cumbria. In February 2021, Akari worked with CHoC to re-evaluate its manual process for booking school nurse appointments was cumbersome, taking up valuable time and money and stretching resources, which was made far worse during the pandemic. We introduced a multi-agency app which focused on allowing nurses in schools to request, review and approve appointments, and to enable effective distribution of nurses across schools in a single region. This allows parents, teachers and school nurses to submit appointment requests, which are quickly reviewed by a medical team, saving time and money.

Working with multiple departments and external agencies is challenging for public sector organisations. They face daily frustrations with communication and secure sharing of sensitive data, like the process for reporting and tracking stray or lost dogs, which was cost- and resource-heavy for one of our customers. We used Teams and the Power Platform to create a solution that allowed users to open a case for a lost dog, stored in a central location, which can be shared through social media, as well as a Power BI report created within the shared space, allowing agencies to identify any trends in the data.

This solution is now being trialled and will become a springboard to use the same technologies to allow police to track and protect vulnerable children. The aim is to quickly and securely identify if a child is vulnerable, access information and enact protection notices quickly to ensure the child’s safety and survival.

Lindsay Climson is commercial director at Akari Solutions

This article will be published in the Winter 2021 issue of Technology Record. To get this and future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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