The Jim Henson Company extends automation all the way to the parking lot with PowerApps and SharePoint Lists

Published on July 15, 2019


The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in family entertainment for over 60 years, has always been a leader when it comes to innovation. As a long-time Microsoft customer, Jim Henson has utilized SharePoint for their intranet and storage of production artifacts, such as scripts and images. As they began their push to the cloud, the organization was looking for a quick fix to help their security team work the visitor lot. Having provided solutions in the past, Jim Henson looked to PAIT Group to find a creative answer to meet their security team’s needs.


As one can imagine, the production studios that are managed by The Jim Henson Company are frequented by some of the biggest celebrities on the planet, not to mention their production crews, staff, and other important supporting employees. Managing the vehicles as they come and go from the visitor parking lot was once done manually on a clipboard, but over time the number of visitors has increased, along with the need to ensure proper security. Looking to automate the process of recording who was visiting, record unexpected guests, and track important information that gives them visibility into who is on the lot that day, the Jim Henson Company looked to PAIT Group for a solution.


When the Jim Henson company initially reached out to discuss the challenge with tracking visitors to their parking lot, PAIT Group provided a SharePoint list with a customized list form. This first step allowed them to increase the accuracy of tracking daily visitors on the lot while recording a history of previous visitors. Following the initial engagement, PAIT Group made a commitment to bring Jim Henson continual business automation improvements. After some discussion, it was decided to take advantage of the modern tool sets available within Office 365 and expand upon the SharePoint list tracking with PowerApps.

There were several reasons to move to PowerApps. Beyond the desire to move to a more modern looking, user-friendly tool, PowerApps allows the security guards to have a relevant, color-coded view with three statuses showing at once – the current day’s expected and departed visitors and visitors currently on-site.  This view helps the security guards quickly identify the visitor from the mobile-friendly PowerApp, while keeping the historical information in a SharePoint list to be accessed from a SharePoint list view at any time. Microsoft Flow workflows are used for simple updates to the SharePoint list item from PowerApps, examples include creating new entries for unexpected visitors and updating the status of the visitor.

As a long-time Microsoft customer, we are thrilled to see collaboration tools that are flexible enough to manage scripts at the office and yet be mobile-friendly enough to use on a production set.

Tobias Iaconis (Vice President of Information Systems, The Jim Henson Company)


As a result of this implementation, the security guards working the visitors parking lot at the Jim Henson Company have a mobile-friendly, user-friendly solution to track their visits to the lot and can therefore provide improved security for the production studios. Additionally, with the reporting available on the information saved to the SharePoint list (number of visitors, frequency, etc.), Jim Henson can continue to run reports and make business decisions.