City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP), the independent and not-for-profit social enterprise providing health and care services, has overhauled its expense process in favour of a new digital expenses solution to drive efficiencies. Lee Hickson, Information Systems Manager at CHCP discusses how the organisation can now make more accurate mileage claims and how a mobilised workforce enables insightful reporting and decision making.
Why did you decide to overhaul your system?
CHCP covers a wide geographic area employing just over 2,000 members of staff. With teams regularly travelling to homes, health centres and clinics, it is important that we carry out administrative tasks, such as logging mileage and expenses claims, efficiently and accurately.
We recognised that paper-based processes weren’t an efficient way to manage expense claims going forward. Not only did it present many challenges for employees and managers but with digitisation sweeping the healthcare sector, replacing manual practises also provided the opportunity to enhance reporting and drive efficiencies through data collection.
How have you been able to reduce the administrative burden?
In order to better understand cost drivers and streamline the expenses process, we selected a digital expenses solution from Selenity. The system was customised to reflect our expense policy and also integrated with our existing Electronic Staff Record (ESR). Only having one system to update was of huge benefit to our administrative staff, as it afforded them with greater efficiencies and time savings.
With data being exchanged between ESR and Selenity Expenses, the team has piece of mind that any updates to employee information, such as change of address are replicated across the board and information is always up-to-date. The implementation also coincided with a number of other digital transformation initiatives being introduced throughout the organisation. Mobile working is a key part of CHCP’s vision and the availability of Selenity’s Expenses Mobile app supports the new flexible approach to working.
What are the key factors to success?
Undoubtedly training. With much organisational-wide change taking place, we understood that training would be an important component when introducing and rolling out the new system to the wider service teams.
For a successful and smooth transition to the new system, we knew that we’d have to manage staff expectations from the beginning to the end of the change process. Ensuring that users were fully informed, comfortable in what they were doing and understood how to claim for the right items and amounts. We developed an electronic training package, in addition to delivering face-to-face training with a handful of the clinical service teams. We recognised that the expenses system is intuitive to use in itself but claimants would also need guidance and a little bit of support to start with.
Developing an electronic training package that linked into the ESR meant that staff members could easily login to the learning portal and access training. The interactive nature of the materials engaged new users and reinforced CHCP’s expenses policy – it transpired that claimants weren’t always reading the static training documents that were being sent out. By championing the solution and marketing training packages to the service teams and other colleagues, CHCP found that the use of the Expenses Mobile app increased and more employees engaged and used the solution.
How has accuracy increased?
By digitising the expenses process, we have seen a reduction in our average mileage costs. The implementation of the system has highlighted that our expenses policy had been open to interpretation by employees, largely when claiming for business mileage.
Having a system tailored to our needs has certainly raised the transparency of our procedures and reinforced the organisations expenses policy. Not only has it increased the accuracy of claims but also introduced an element of consistency. After the system went live we learnt that there had previously been variation in the methods used by employees to record journeys – with some using odometer readings and others calculating distance with online route planners.
Policy reminders and mileage verification in the form of GPS capture and postcode to postcode look ups, have helped to increase the consistency of mileage claims submitted by employees. For administrators these measures have meant claims are easier to review and approve and there is much less checking and chasing for additional information. The process has been greatly improved and ultimately, the new system has given us the ability to look at how we deliver services and if there’s a way to improve them and make them more efficient.
How has the new system helped with reporting?
Having a digital system provides us with a level of transparency that we just didn’t have before. As a team we can now carry out a large amount of reporting, the detailed information generated by the software gives us the ability to take that data and use it in a meaningful way. By capturing information in a central point, we’re able to continually use real-time information as a tool to help transform our organisation. Not does it help to drive decision making but also allows us to challenge some of the behaviours we’ve picked up on – you just wouldn’t get that from a paper form.
By working closely with other departments and understanding the changing technological landscape, the IT projects team were able to implement a solution which matched the organisations current and future needs. Not only did Selenity Expenses support our immediate plans to mobilise employees and introduce flexible working practices, it also allowed us to harness data in order to drive transformation and decision making.
For instance, we could identify patterns in the data and pass those insights onto operational managers. The transparency of the system has also helped us to field inquiries and compare statistics, such as looking at how the average mileage claims compare from one service to another. Harnessing data in this way has enabled us to provide effective value for money services, ensuring that the right people, are in the right places, doing the right things at the right time.
BRICKENDON STRENGTHENS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM, PROPELLING FURTHER GROWTH IN 2021
Transformational consultancy appoints new Director of Financial Services, Strategy & Business Development alongside a series of senior promotions
Brickendon, the transformational consultancy is announcing a new senior hire and a set of senior promotions as the business thrives and looks to generate further growth in 2021 through a focus on employee engagement and advocacy.
The business experienced strong growth in the Banking & Government sectors throughout the second half of 2020, due to an innovative focus across its three key areas of specialism: digital, data and automation with particular attention on DevOps and Agile methodologies. This success has been underpinned by its expertise in delivering complex change projects for highly regulated organisations and a continued expansion into international markets.
Among the announcements, Brickendon has appointed Will McDonald as its new Director of Financial Services, Strategy & Business Development. McDonald been tasked with aligning the expertise of Brickendon’s consulting workforce to client needs, fast tracking Brickendon’s growth in international markets and driving customer advocacy. He brings over 20 years of experience in Enterprise technology, working across Asia, Europe and North America and most recently at Telstra Global, where he led the Financial Services Industry segment for EMEA.
McDonald comments “I’m very excited to join Brickendon at such a pivotal time. 2020 has accelerated a lot of change, and all businesses must recalibrate to remain competitive and thrive in this challenging recovery period. The enabling forces of Digitisation, Cloud and Automation are unlocking incredible productivity, yet people and expertise are still critical to success. At Brickendon our people have incredible talent for identifying and solving complex challenges faced by our clients. Our customers recognize this, and we have built a loyal following amongst them. My role is to amplify the work that the team has achieved over the years and create platforms for a loud chorus of customer advocacy to be heard”
Brickendon’s continued success also marks the promotion of Bala Ethirajalu to Partner, Global Head of Delivery and Maureen McKinley to Senior Manager as both individuals played a critical part in the helping the business thrive.
Bala has been with Brickendon for over eight years and has been instrumental in building a high performing delivery team, whilst defining Brickendon’s technology strategy and setting a culture of employee empowerment. Brickendon’s clients and team members have embraced the leadership values, innovation and accountability that Bala has championed and driven across the entire business. Bala has also successfully led the team to win the prestigious TESTA awards in 2013 and 2016 as well as securing seven consecutive finalist nominations.
Bala comments “If we create an environment of employee engagement and empowerment, everything else falls into place, we do better and more creative work for our clients, as well, we more easily attract, nurture and retain exceptional talent in the organization. I’m delighted to take up my new senior position at Brickendon, and look forward to all the future successes of our team as the business continues to thrive”
Similarly, Maureen McKinley has been part of the Brickendon team since 2013, and her new senior role will support the wider leadership team and grow the Poland based Brickendon practice. Maureen is a trusted advisor and contributor to her clients and has continued to raise the bar both in the work she conducts for them and as a leader within Brickendon.
Christopher Burke, CEO, Brickendon, comments “Brickendon was called upon by our financial services clients as they navigated the turbulent start to 2020. As a business leader and founder, I’m proud of our team and how we rallied around our clients as they faced unprecedented challenges. Our new set of senior promotions and hires signify a big step towards the growth trajectory which we’ve planned out for the year ahead and I’m in no doubt that Will, Maureen and Bala will play pivotal roles in driving this forward.”
FUNDS’ RUSH TO THE CLOUD MUST NOT BE A BOX TICKING EXERCISE
By Ed Gouldstone, Global Head of R&D for Asset Management at Linedata
The fund management industry has held up remarkably well against the strains of Covid-19 – from a dramatic spike in market volatility to the sudden shift to remote working. However, the quantum leap in digitalisation spurred on by the pandemic has underscored the disparities between fund houses’ journeys to cloud – some are quite far along, while others are quickly having to play catch-up.
However, the need to rapidly advance digitalisation efforts must not result in cloud migration becoming a box ticking exercise. Some managers may be tempted by the convenience of a ‘lift and shift’ approach. That is, simply building their cloud infrastructure as if it was their existing data centre without optimising it for cloud. This is by far the quickest option but, if rushed, it doesn’t necessarily bring the cost-saving and flexibility benefits that managers are looking for. Cloud provides for advanced levels of security that go beyond traditional deployed models, but only when the necessary tools are put in place. Fund managers therefore need to put in the required thinking beforehand, to ensure the optimisation and any necessary re-engineering of tools whilst accelerating shift to the cloud.
The risks of rushing cloud adoption
Elasticity is one particular area where cost savings come from in the cloud, because cloud is designed to scale up and down as and when you need it. When migrating infrastructure to the cloud, fund managers must ensure that the all applications are optimised in a way that enables horizontal scalability, as many legacy applications are built around a fixed number of servers. This could impede the potential to quickly scale up operations in rapidly changing markets, inhibiting fund managers’ growth ambitions and ability to compete.
Another risk of rushing the transition to cloud, is that a lift and shift approach can actually increase costs when computing and storage practises are not rationalised. Migrating existing infrastructure as it is also means migrating all existing inefficiencies along with it, such as zombie servers, duplicated workloads, and outdated records. By not doing the due diligence to ensure excess computing capacity is left behind, companies could seriously diminish the cost savings they would have otherwise enjoyed.
Building resilience into operations is of paramount importance for fund managers who are planning to migrate to the cloud. Although infrastructure is more secure with cloud, the greater accessibility it allows means that points of entry on the client side can be weak spots if not properly protected. This must not become overlooked in a rushed cloud migration. Unlike with private data centres and VPN access where hardware offers protection, extra layers of authentication need to be added to endpoints to ensure the security of the system, while enabling access from any device. This is even more necessary in our highly regulated industry, where fund managers are dealing with large client funds and processing vast quantities of real-time financial data.
Realising the opportunities provided by cloud
When handled correctly, a successful migration to cloud offers fund managers a great opportunity to drive digital transformation, scale their businesses and upgrade the technology they rely on. Perhaps the biggest driver for cloud adoption, the pay as you go, on-demand scalability offered by cloud providers, enables rapid growth and reduces costs. Previously, in order to scale up, businesses would have to install new hardware and pay for its maintenance, as well as acquire the physical space that new servers take up. This process is much slower and more expensive than the quickly scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud, but expert guidance is crucial to avoid the aforementioned risk of transferring excess computing power, and ensuring applications are scalable so that potential cost savings are realised.
Another major driver to migrate infrastructure to the cloud is the data analytics capabilities available. The cloud’s ability to support data lakes that can store structured and unstructured data at any scale and operate real-time analytics, provides unique opportunities to create new insights and therefore greater value. The data lakes enable better use of the artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that are reaching maturity and are increasingly mission critical. This is crucial in a market where margins are getting smaller and traditional investment models are being challenged. Analytics can create value throughout all operations, from the front office through to the back office, whether it is sentiment analysis of client engagement, or reducing operating costs through process automation.
In terms of security, while moving to public cloud does imply some inherent loss of in-house control compared to historic ‘installed’ technology models, the bottom line is that cloud providers offer robust levels of security unmatched by in-house technology installations. But it is still critical that firms have the requisite knowledge about cloud deployment and cybersecurity, or partner with a technology service provider that does, who can protect endpoints with new identity and access measures such as two-factor authentication.
The need to migrate to cloud infrastructure has become more pressing at a time when fund managers are increasingly introducing flexible working for the long-term. While implementing a cloud first business strategy is now considered crucial for longevity, it must not be rushed at the risk of costly mistakes and the perpetuation of outdated operating models that limit adaptability. A rapid, productive cloud migration is still possible, but firms need to ensure they have well-considered plans and strong partnerships with experts in place to ensure success.
BRICKENDON STRENGTHENS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM, PROPELLING FURTHER GROWTH IN 2021
Transformational consultancy appoints new Director of Financial Services, Strategy & Business Development alongside a series of senior promotions Brickendon,...
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