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"The current IT initiatives with Bremmar have had a big impact on us achieving our purpose here at Lifeline WA. The enablement it has had to all employees to allow them to get on with their roles and concentrate on the services they deliver is important to us. And reducing the amount of paper that's going around the office, reducing the amount of process and procedure that we have. Any automation that's been put in has been key to achieving that."

The digital landscape constantly evolves, and organisations must stay updated with technological changes. They must adapt to new trends and standards and address any cyber security gaps that may arise due to a lack of knowledge.

For Not-For-Profit (NFP), Aged Care, or Disability organisations, early adoption of key tools available in organisations’ Microsoft 365 licensing, such as SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Defender, can make a significant difference in achieving organisational goals efficiently and securely.

However, it is crucial to consider the pain points of the human services sector and their staff whilst implementing these new tools, such as high staff turnover and low IT (Information Technology) literacy among frontline workers.

Running your organisation from the cloud

Rushad Billimoria, Bremmar’s Lead Consultant for the Not-For-Profit, Aged Care, and Disability sectors, has over ten years of experience implementing Microsoft technologies and educating stakeholders. He explains, “Microsoft has developed a great toolset that we’ve successfully used across multiple organisations. It provides a centralised location for file storage and tools for collaboration, communication, business automation and data analytics, all within a secure cyber environment.”

One of the benefits of adopting Microsoft 365 tools is the shift away from traditional server environments. Keeping hardware in-house requires constant maintenance, upgrades, and risks associated with damage or critical failures. Rushad elaborates, “When you move data into the cloud, you have not only the benefit of having a digital copy but also being able to collaborate and access the file from the office or when caring for clients in remote locations.”, explains Rushad. “We’ve got plenty of clients successfully running primarily through Microsoft 365, especially in the not-for-profit space. Microsoft’s donation licensing and discounted licensing make it a perfect cost point for the sector”, adds Rushad.

Automation and efficiency at the tip of your workforce fingers

Efficiency is key when running successful organisations. Streamlining processes and enhancing operational workflows improve staff experiences and enable resource allocation to other, more high-value areas.

Many organisations still rely on manual processes, such as paper-based forms or Excel registers, which create cumbersome tasks and workflows for staff. “For instance, when recording and reporting incidents, staff may write down details on paper and wait until they are in the office to send the information via email. This can lead to incomplete or unreadable data, posing risks and non-compliance with industry regulations”, explains Rushad.

The Lead Consultant also highlights that numerous back-and-forth approval processes involve printing, signing, and scanning documents, which is time-consuming, especially with a high volume of clients and tasks. Rushad affirms, “We can minimise manual processes and administrative tasks by creating digital workflows and automation that improve efficiency and save staff time”. “According to a Forrester Total Economic Impact study, organisations that use Power Apps can save up to 1.6 hours per week for 80% of their users in three years and have an up to 74% lower application development cost”, he completes.

“Digitising forms can be accomplished through various methods such as using Microsoft Forms, an online web-based platform, or a more sophisticated PowerApp”, says Rushad. “We can, for example, use an Incident Management App that streamlines the process by making forms accessible even on mobile devices”, he completes.

Another advantage of having digital forms is that they remind the workforce about the essential information to capture. Once submitted, the data flows through an automated workflow, reaching the relevant approvers. Rushad adds, “Everyone involved in that process will be notified, streamlining the process from the source to the approval.”

Rushad shares a real-life example: “Bremmar had an Aged Care facility where we implemented an Incident Management App, and the number of incidents lodged grew three times.” This growth was not due to increased incidents but because the previous process was complicated, resulting in incomplete information capture.

Digitising processes significantly improve daily organisational operations from a compliance perspective. When processes are easier to manage, staff members are more likely to adhere to them, and there is buy-in from the team members.

Building a collaborative and cyber secure workspace

One significant advantage of Microsoft 365 is that it is highly accessible from any device. Frontline workforce personnel can travel with mobile devices, allowing them to access files in SharePoint conveniently. However, Rushad acknowledges the increased security risks associated with accessibility. Microsoft 365’s security features like Defender and Mobile Application Management address these concerns, ensuring secure access to sensitive information, even remotely or through staff devices.

The security solutions offered by Microsoft 365 enable remote access to files without compromising stakeholders’ privacy – the employer can’t access staff personal information – or the organisation’s data security.

Rushad emphasises that Microsoft 365 is the central repository for files and systems and that organisations may have different third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) systems hosted in the cloud, such as care and finance systems. “To make the experience seamless, Bremmar creates an employee hub, such as a SharePoint Intranet, to provide easy access to all required files, documents, and web-based SaaS applications. This portal enhances staff productivity, fosters a sense of community, and ensures the organisation’s missions and values are communicated effectively”.

This process also aids in employee onboarding, as policies, procedures, how-to videos, and self-help guides can be accessed easily through SharePoint. “Storing essential documents securely in the cloud mitigates the risk of losing paper documents or files stored on physical servers”, says the Lead Consultant. Another advantage of SharePoint is the versioning feature. “Documents can be restored to previous versions if needed, preventing mistakes or the deletion of essential information in the file”, he completes.

From an individual perspective, Microsoft 365 enables staff, especially the ones with low IT literacy levels, to access what they need without struggling with the technology – particularly important for frontline workers fulfilling the organisation’s mission.

Microsoft Teams -a tool beyond video calling or chat for the Remote Workforce

Microsoft Teams has become an essential tool, particularly in remote work scenarios. It offers features such as virtual meetings and instant chat, which organisations have widely used. However, most organisations still need to know the benefits of adopting Teams Calling. The tool brings landline extensions into the digital space, making it mobile and highly accessible for the staff. “It enables seamless communication regardless of the work location or whether the workforce is in or out of the office”, explains Rushad.

Bringing such communication platforms into a unified interface offers many advantages, such as a single sign-on, standardised security and leveraging the investment on the platform. However, achieving buy-in from the entire organisation is crucial, and Bremmar’s Microsoft 365 partnership service helps stakeholders understand the benefits of adopting these tools. “We partner with organisations deeply to understand their pain points, requirements and details. That could be from securing data accessed externally to aging infrastructure. We learn their pain points and tailor solutions with demonstrations, guidance and advice”, affirms Rushad. “We also create roadmaps and plan how to integrate and enable the stakeholders, executives and the board”, he completes.

“At Bremmar, we recognise the human services sector challenges and offer tailored services to support you in achieving your mission, and we look forward to helping you make a positive impact in your organisation”, completes Rushad.

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