We spend a lifetime turning our houses into homes, so it’s understandable we want to live in them for as long as possible. And this is precisely what Southcare, a not-for-profit aged care service and community services provider, aims to achieve.
Southcare’s team of 135 dedicated staff and volunteers coordinate essential services such as personal care, cleaning, transport and clinical care services – all to ensure their clients can live safely and comfortably in their own homes for longer.
Since much of Southcare’s work is done away from the office, the Southcare team need reliable technology and simple processes.
“Part of our employee value proposition is giving people the tools to be able to do their job efficiently and easily,” says Louise Fry, Southcare’s Project Manager.
However, Southcare’s staff were facing a number of challenges. From difficulty accessing files remotely, to navigating multi-step processes, many found themselves with less time to care for their clients, and a whole lot of frustration.
“Making sure people have access to policies and procedures is crucial, but we have roughly 400 documents and finding the right one was often very difficult and time-consuming,” Louise explains.
“The VPN connection was also unreliable. When staff needed to access documents off-site, they’d have to go through a number of steps to make sure the connection was stable, and often the VPN just didn’t work,” Louise says. “It was a very frustrating process.”
Louise and the Southcare team knew they needed to move to a better way of working.
“We had an IT service provider but they really weren’t meeting our needs,” Louise explains. “They weren’t proactive in terms of providing suggestions or improvements and they weren’t strategically focused.”
The Southcare team began their search for an IT provider who had extensive experience with cloud migrations and Microsoft 365 as well as someone who could help with business process improvement. They also needed someone who was familiar with the NFP and/or Aged Care industry and its unique challenges.
Bremmar ticked all the boxes and more, and Southcare’s CFO Enda Fahy was immediately impressed by their holistic approach to IT service delivery.
“Bremmar really brings together the strategy element, project element and managed service element all in one. They also have solid knowledge of the NFP and Aged Care sectors which is pretty niche,” says Enda.
“From the very first project, Bremmar understood our needs. We didn’t have to spend a lot of time getting them to understand what we’re trying to achieve. ￼We wouldn’t have had the same level of confidence with someone who wasn’t as familiar with our industry,” says Enda.
Together, Bremmar and Southcare developed a comprehensive strategic roadmap to move to the cloud and start using the Microsoft 365 platform, which was the first step to enable the organisation to implement a number of improvements.
“Whether our staff are providing services in seniors’ home, working in the office environment or working from home, we wanted them to be one click away from a centralised intranet that has everything they need,” explains Enda.
To make information easier to access off-site, Bremmar developed a centralised cloud information repository in Microsoft SharePoint. This included establishing information architecture as well as setting up the appropriate security authorisations and access levels for various individuals and user groups across the business.
“We designed the platform so that it’s a one-stop-shop for anyone from a support worker or a home care worker to admin staff,” says Arif Abdul Mushir, Administration Officer at Southcare, who worked closely with Bremmar to develop the solution.
Southcare’s support workers now have access to policies, procedures and forms on the go, as well as maps of residential areas, and training and guides for the different systems.
Bremmar also helped to streamline the staff induction process which has reduced the administrative burden while improving the onboarding experience.
“We used to print out dozens of different policies, procedures and forms, put them in a physical file and give it to a new staff member. Now everything is online so it makes it much easier for them,” Arif says.
Champion user enablement during implementation
While it’s been invaluable having access to Bremmar’s expertise, it was important that Southcare had a solution they could manage independently.
“The end game has always been for us to manage the project ourselves,” explains Louise. “Bremmar encouraged us to have internal champions to take control of the project and that really aligns with our methodology and how we see ourselves managing projects going forward.”
For Arif, who looked after a lot of the technical aspects of the project, Bremmar’s extensive knowledge of the Microsoft platform and their open approach to providing guidance has been invaluable.
“The Bremmar team are very knowledgeable and extremely transparent in providing advice. They’re the kind of people that are happy to teach. I’m a very a hands-on person so this has been really helpful,” he said.
“They spent a lot of time training our internal champions, creating guides and procedures for us to follow. And if we came to an obstacle they’re always there to show us how to overcome it,” Arif says. “Even up until the handover, they were always there to support us.”
From a corporate perspective, moving to Microsft 365 has improved efficiency, greater collaboration and provided better oversight into organisational planning.
“Since moving to Microsoft 365 we’re definitely quicker and more responsive,” says ￼￼Enda.
“In our weekly team meetings, we have everything laid out. We’re able to give everyone an update on where they are: what’s on track, what’s overdue, and what support is needed. We’re now able to keep much more in-tune with how the organisation is progressing,” he says.
Bremmar also helped Southcare streamline many of the manual processes that were holding their people up.
“One of the biggest issues we had with the old intranet was that it was hard to manage policies, procedures and forms. When it came to updating a policy, there was a long, manual process that involved multiple emails and time-consuming back and forth communication,” Enda explains.
“Now we’ve moved this onto SharePoint, we can manage this whole workflow with a click of a button which makes it so much easier,” Enda says.
All these efficiencies have unlocked an appetite for transformational change around IT within the organisation.
We used to have feedback from users saying, ‘this is too much change’. Now people are really open to it,” Enda says.
“After a number of successful projects, we’ve been able to bring people along the journey and that wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and guidance of the Bremmar team.”
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