Virtualising emergency operations with Nintex

The City and County of Denver moved its emergency operations centre to a digital environment to eliminate paper-based processes and enable staff to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic

Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts on 11 December 2020
Virtualising emergency operations with Nintex

When the City and County of Denver issued stay-at-home orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, city officials quickly needed to move its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to a virtual environment. Denver’s EOC is made up of approximately 100 daily active members representing the majority of Denver’s over 50 business units. 

The virtual EOC would need to host all the legacy in-person collaboration, communication, and workflows online. Many of the critical processes and decisions made in the EOC required paper forms that moved from desk to desk in the office. 

Denver’s Technology Services department set up a Microsoft Teams site to serve as an online EOC in which workers could communicate and collaborate. While it was a good starting point, there were still workflows – such as requisitioning heavy equipment – that were dependent on moving some 50 pencil-and-paper forms from desk to desk in processes that could each take up to seven steps. 

Fortunately, Denver’s Technology Services department had experience with Nintex and knew it could provide the solution they were searching for. Over the weekend, they digitised 20 forms using Nintex Forms, and quickly brought that number up to 65 over the three-month activation. 

Denver’s Technology Services team can cater to varying levels of technical expertise with Nintex Forms by making the forms intuitive and easy to use with customised fields, so staff only see fields relevant to their roles and can leverage descriptions and drop-down lists. Now, staff of all technical levels complete forms faster and more accurately. Once submitted, they are routed to the next person in the process immediately.

When Denver officials told workers, including their EOC members, to stay home in March, they didn’t know how long that directive would last. Three months later, it was still in place – and the EOC continued to function, in some ways more productively. “Our ability to digitise these forms has been key in keeping the EOC running during the pandemic,” says Evan Pfaff, digital transformation engineer at the City and County of Denver. 

The swift activation of the virtual EOC not only allows Denver employees to be productive, but it also keeps them safe. City officials and employees no longer need to report to a physical office to respond to an emergency. With Microsoft Teams and Nintex Forms they can be effective and even more productive from the safety of their homes. 

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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