The non-for-profit industry, in particular the Community and Disability Services sector, is currently facing major challenges including: pressure to operate under tight conditions, increasing competition, changes in consumer choice, and an increased demand for services, especially with the rollout of the NDIS. This is further compounded by the fact that the policy environment is in a constant state of flux, and the Government has grossly cut back on spending and allocation of subsidies.
Due to significant changes in the funding landscape by the Australian Government, non-profit organisations must re-design the way in which they operate in order to remain afloat in such a competitive, resource-limited environment. Business models that were functional five or ten years ago, are not likely to be as relevant to organisations, as they progress forward over the next five years.
For many non-profit organisations, the only way to survive in such a cut-throat industry, is to stay up to date with the latest digital technology. This includes adopting good client information management software, engaging clients and stakeholders through social media, cloud computing, and mobile application technology; these digital platforms can help organisations, not only improve services and work processes, but grow and adapt to the changing legislative environment.
Understanding the future direction of technology and taking advantage of the opportunities that it can offer is a necessary step in the evolution of the Community and Disability Services sector; this is no different to large enterprises, who use technology to improve work processes, to attract and retain customers, and to update or rebrand products and services. Few companies can create or deliver products effectively without using technology. Success doesn’t necessarily mean adopting the latest in cutting edge technology, however, it does mean integrating some sort of technology in business in order to improve workforce planning, efficiency and productivity.
The roadblocks associated with the implementation of the NDIS, are likely to propel many Community Service Providers and other small non-profits into a rapidly changing environment, where they must keep up with technology in order to gain a foothold in the market, or otherwise face having to close their doors..
One example of innovative technology currently being used in the not-for-profit aged care sector, is The Bethanie Wellness Hub, a tablet device which connects clients with a range of services, including social interaction, entertainment, health monitoring and education, and emergency assistance. This is all achieved through the all-in-one, integrated portal, which remotely monitors customers via passive-infrared motion sensors, which detect movement within rooms.
Using smart technology, the system studies a customer’s daily routine, and will alert nominated contacts, if a remarkable change in pattern is detected. The system is also capable of recording health attributes such as blood pressure, pulse, blood oxygen and blood glucose levels. All this works in synergy to allow residents to remain living independently and to feel more connected to the outside world.
Examples like this are only one of a multitude of sophisticated ways in which Community Service Providers are using technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisation’s information and service delivery systems. Interactive websites, mobile phone applications and social media are just some of the other digital platforms which are key to automating administrative processes, improving accessibility for clients, and allowing service providers to quickly access client information.
The use of technology in itself does not guarantee a business will thrive, nor will it directly enhance client care, however, the positive impact of technology in the community services and disability sector is apparent, and can improve communication between client and provider, cut down costs, and strengthen operational efficiency and service delivery effectiveness.
Finding a suitable software solution, that is easy to navigate and engaging to staff, is necessary in order to improve administration and service delivery, and drive productivity. SoNET Systems iCase is a web based application delivered to your browser from SoNET’s Cloud (SaaS – Service as a Services) and is built to improve the operations of Community Service organisations, and ultimately enhance provider’s results. With features such as automated processing, record keeping and online document management features, iCase has the potential to meet all necessary NDIS reporting obligations, and allows for overall improved management, performance and participant outcomes.
Regardless of the size or location of your organisation’s business, iCase’s Community Service Provider software WILL provide you with savings, efficiencies, compliance & performance improvements.