Alex Colvin 0:02
Okay, let's kick off everyone. So welcome everyone to our September webinar series, NDIS evolving to a client focused experience. begin today by taking a moment to respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians throughout Australia, the land in which we all work and recognise their continuing connection to land waters, and we pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging. And I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. Today, Pendula is pleased to be hosting three industry leaders from the Australian care industry who will be sharing their journeys and insights in creating client focused experiences. Today, this may be a specific focus on the critical digital interactions, such as email, and SMS within the Australian care environment, which really forms a major part of both that client and care experience which we're all you know, a part of. Today, we're going to really invite everyone to participate. So you'll see at the bottom of your Zoom screen, a little chat icon, feel free at any point to write in any questions that you'd like answered. At the end of today's session, we're going to have a q&a area where we'll enable the panellists to answer some of these questions as well. And we're going to cover off as many of those as possible to make sure we can try and get through everyone's questions. But really, today we're going to be focusing on a few things. So first off, we're going to be kicking off and looking at some of the industry insight to perspective that both Pendula and Lumary and some of the businesses that we've been working with insane through engaging with hundreds of Australian care businesses from some of the largest providers down to those smallest individual plan managers. For this webinar, there's going to be fireside chat as well. We've got Joe Mercorella, CEO of Lumary joining us, which is one of Australia's leading care management platforms. Good to have you here, Joe, mate.
Joe Mercorella 2:09
Nice to be here. Thanks, Alan.
Alex Colvin 2:10
Again, this bit of a delay there on the webinar, trying my best to deal with technology in the new world of webinars. I've also got Eli Geary who's the chief operating officer of Interchange Loddon-Mallee Region Inc there, NDIS is registered disability support provider. I've been around for over 30 years and they provide community social, recreational and at home support to individuals with disabilities. So you're good to have you here as well, mate. Like we can't hear us might try one more time there on that, but I'm sure we can figure out by the time we get to that fireside chat. And finally, we've got Sara Caldwell, who is the National manager of administration at Better Rehab; an NDIS registered provider are focused on servicing New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT. And they're highly qualified team applies evidence based practices in the areas of occupational therapy, speech, pathology, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, and positive behaviour support, it's so great to have you here as well today.
Sarah Caldwell 3:11
Thank you really excited to be here.
Alex Colvin 3:14
Beautiful guys, let's jump into it. Now, we're going to start by really looking at some of the changes that we're saying. It's no secret that the caring disability sector has been through a lot of changes in the last few years, particularly with that NDIS scheme becoming fully operational in 2020. And on top of this, all of these rising expectations from clients, now we find ourselves in a really dynamic environment. We're all scrambling within this environment to bring in technology to be able to scale while still maintaining all this unit economics that they have to exist. In order to run our businesses, we're adding all these systems, all these integrated communication channels are finding themselves in to each part of our stack. And that's now a reality that simply sending outbound emails or SMS to clients is hard. And that's really just the basics of communication and customer client experience. The good news is, though, is that there's opportunity that lies within this and the whole client experience is really changed from a place where an individual's moving towards a place of freedom and choice and flexibility that hasn't really been seen before. And one thing that really is clear from our experiences, and that is that both clients and carers are shying away from the traditional ways that we used to interact with them, where we're sending a broadcast information or they're picking up the phone and calling them they're now moving to a place where interaction is now two way we're wanting to not only talk to our clients, but also enable them to talk back to us and listen to them. And this is really an interesting perspective, right? We're looking at a place where we're shifting from a from an area of talking To now conversing and some really great examples of saying, we're going to be chatting to both Sarah and Eli about some, their great use cases that they've put in place today. You know, rent appointment confirmations around how we can serve our clients on the services we're providing. But also on top of that, you know, some really exciting new ways of thinking where we're seeing some, some businesses out there going ahead and creating experiences with with proactively engaging clients about services, when maybe their annual budget utilisation is low. Now the good thing is that this is actually backed up by stats. So of the hundreds of customers and millions of conversations that businesses like pendular and leymarie have facilitated for Australian care businesses that we're seeing some pretty amazing things. So first up, if you can turn your business into a conversational like experience, the engagement increases over five times which just to let that sink in. That's significant from where we've seen people basically not engaging with businesses, except for when they're in a room with a carer. On top of that, when we bring in conversion around new services, or bringing on additional things that would sit in no one's care plan, we're seeing conversion increases go up by around 400%, as well. And this is, you know, across several states and 1000s of clients and carriers. But really simple, right? If we, if we create environments where our businesses are interacting the same way that our clients are interacting with each other, we're going to find ourselves in a place where experiences are naturally going to be a lot more personal. And that's really what we're pendula comes in a bit of a background as to what we are really focused on. What we're looking at doing here is creating types of these types of indirect interactions with carers as a partner, and being that key technology partner to support the interactions, but giving the power to the end user to go and create them. Now, the good news is, is that you're not alone. So there's a large community that's now being established where we've got two of those businesses on the panel today. There's hundreds of candidates that are embracing this new technology from some of the largest NDIS organisations to significant private health businesses, to the smallest individual carriers are all embracing this new evolved experience. And not only telling the customers things, but also listening to the clients and their experience. Now, having all these people interacting is great. But on top of that, given the nature between this industry, another thing that's emerged is this community of businesses sharing their experiences. So some really useful assets have been made available free of charge, you know, no commitment at all is required to see this. And to go to the pendular website, you'll be able to see a library of over 100 different experiences that are tied into care businesses, you'll see some here from confirming appointments to client intake, to onboarding, to surveying, whatever it would be, and these are at your disposal free of charge. So really good to see the community giving back and being able to share and ultimately, really do what we're all here to do. And that's provide a better service experience for our clients. And from that kind of entry let's let's jump into the the real reason we're here today, fireside chat. So something that pendulous been doing for a little over a year now every month where we're focusing on different areas. the September issue today really wholly focused on NDIS care management world. So really great again thanks for joining, reminder as well to everyone in the audience, if they have any questions that like any of the panellists, to dive into anything in more depth, please feel free to jump in, write them in that that chat, and we'll get to that. But enough for me, let's let's go straight into it. So first up, we're going to take a step back with the challenges before the ceremonial I really got on to this journey, something that Joseph at Lumary sees on a daily basis, our care businesses who are wanting to transform her understanding how much the environments changing, and the three things that always come up when we're looking at transforming and not only a business from a process and system perspective, but also from an experience perspective, that is the key three pillars, and that's the clients the care is and obviously the systems that support them. So Sarah, maybe we start with you and focus in on the main challenges in care management, when we're looking at establishing these experiences that are truly differentiated. What are you seeing as those challenges and what is your perspective on But the start of the journey and why you guys chose to go and evolve your business?
Sarah Caldwell 10:06
Yeah, definitely. So I guess for us, one of our main challenges was around a really consistent client experience. And I think within that, particularly when we want a really consistent communication, obviously, from a service perspective, this can be quite challenging. But what we wanted was basically really consistent interactions throughout the entire client experience. So whether they're, you know, booking an appointment in with one of our office managers directly through the clinicians. Yeah, we were looking for that consistency, around timeframes, and around consistent methods of communication as well. I guess sort of the the other side that we were trying to balance was having a really tailored and personalised communication, especially I guess, when you consider the demographics of our participants. But we have to balance that sort of personalization and tailored communications with the efficiencies that we also require, I guess, just from an administrative perspective as well.
Alex Colvin 11:10
Now, of course, did that come from that, you know, initiation into wanting to change? Did that come from the clients? Did it come from the carers? Or was it the office office, shared service function that really drove that initiative?
Sarah Caldwell 11:24
Yeah, I mean, I guess it was a, it was a combination of the two, I guess from our clients perspective, there was times when they did receive an email confirmation. There were times where they didn't, I guess, considering that human error. And similarly, with the appointment reminders, especially quite a few of our participants do have multiple services. So there might be saying, you know, OT, speech and physio, sometimes their clinicians, you know, I would send a reminder, and sometimes I didn't So, I guess, especially from our sort of participants perspective, there was a huge inconsistency in and it did lead to a few cancellations, because basically just forgot, or scheduling mismatches. So partly from that perspective, I guess, from our perspective, as well, we wanted to really drive and hone in on that efficiency, and reduce as much of that admin time as possible that we could as well.
Alex Colvin 12:19
Now, was that a result of the MDI s game coming in into the world? Or? Or was that an initiative that was going to happen? irrelevant of the the industry changes?
Sarah Caldwell 12:28
Yeah, I mean, generally irrelevant of the industry changes. And I guess whether you are providing services through the NDIS, yes, or not as sort of funding body, we're still really looking for that client experience to be consistent. And yeah, as we sort of said, use that as a point of differentiation from some of our competitors, to have a really high service to client experience throughout their entire journey.
Alex Colvin 12:52
It's truly is right that that differentiation is key and experiences that first touch point, right, so we can get that right, you know, it certainly will pay massive dividends to the business and its brand. Yeah, it's really cool to hear that story there. Now, Eli, you guys focus on a slightly different aspect. I know Sarah was really diving into the depths of how the client management is set up. Now, I know that you guys are also touching on the client experience. But I believe the initiative started from the carrier's perspective, which is really interesting, right? Where we're all running these businesses that have a large amount of staff that are made coordinating, and, you know, at the end of the day, they can sometimes feel out of touch, right? So the experience is key for them. So in the same really type of question, but more directly from the carrier perspective. How did you guys view the world? What what was what were the challenges that you were seeing from managing the carriers? You know, how did we really try and facilitate, you know, a solution from that problem that you saw, when we were looking at staff and their needs?
Eli Geary 13:56
Alex, we had some challenges really, really early on as an organisation. We were forced to upscale really, really quickly in an MDI us environment. We went from a staff of direct support carers of around about 45 to 300, in less than two mouth. So it was a huge challenge for us as an agency to upscale really, really quickly. And we had the analysts explaining to the team before the webinar, we had around about seven coordination staff during rostering. And they had a single mobile phone, throwing it from one side of the office to the other, to communicate with our care. And at that point, we had just implemented luminary and scheduler, in partnering with us as a client management system. And whilst we had great successes there, we still have lots of challenges in communicating with carriers. We had them getting phone call after phone call after phone call whilst they're on sessions, trying to prove Add support to the participants from our office. And you know, here we are saying to them give the best customer experience you can to our participants, but also answer your phone. Because we need to get you teed up for your next session or follow up about what's happening with the people that you're supporting. So in having pendula, it allowed us to give more time to the carriers or letting them respond in a timely manner, while also creating an audit trail for us, which for me, in my role at that time was really, really important. I was really concerned for us as an agency that we were having all of this communication through a mobile device, without having any way to refer back to that information, or to see what communication was coming back from terrorists or participants or going out of the organisation as well. So there was a real risk factor there for us that we just weren't able to manage. And particularly when we're up scaling really, really quickly. As part of the NDIS, we have a lot of compliances that were coming in. And we really struggle to manage that compliance. We have an HR department have one not even a full AFP, there are only point six. And they were drowning in compliance. Because we were sending it out to the support workers to say, Hey, can you make sure that you've got this Can you make sure that you're you're up to date with your compliance, but having only a way of communicating that was by email that had to manually go out or to make phone call? We will real old school, really, really old school. Up until, you know, the last two years we were manually processing paper. So we had timesheets handed in. We're regional service provider in lot of Malley, from Sunbury all the way up to Madeira there's around about a five hour gap of travel in between those locations. And we were still getting people to post in their timesheets. So it was a huge task for us to make these changes. With the implemented implementation of Pendula and other systems providers. We send out notifications to staff reminders to complete their timesheets so that we can pay them. Whereas before we were chasing phone calls after phone call after phone calls, which creates a huge administrative burden, and one that we can't afford to have in the NDIS environment. Everyone is aware that the margins are quite thin, particularly in the direct support area. So this communication has been really, really beneficial. We've been able to streamline some of that communication with with staff to make sure that they're really well supported. And we've been using a lot of that throughout. You know, I don't like to say it, but throughout this COVID time that we've all had enough of talking about, but has been really, really important in the way we communicate the staff in how quickly changes has occurred in the state.
Alex Colvin 17:56
Joe, I think you're on mute there if you were trying to chat there.
Joe Mercorella 17:59
No, I'm just reminiscing what reminiscing the journey there. Yeah. as well. learning a bit from it, too.
Eli Geary 18:08
And we had some pretty epic conversations, didn't we?
Joe Mercorella 18:15
Yeah, I was just thinking, you know, like, when I first you know, I engaged with you and and I first met you, I think just just just I was actually sort of just commenting and colleague and how much you've sort of matured in the role. And yeah, so anyway, sorry, that was actually what I was saying
Alex Colvin 18:30
on a beautiful night. Let's dive into that. Joe, you know, if if we build on Eli's story, he's not alone is he there's lots of other businesses out there that are going through a similar thing that Eli went through, I know, Sarah with Better Rehab, they had a really they were at scale, or the lab was going through a lot of that scale at the same time. Now both of them are big challenges. We were having a bit of a laugh earlier around how easy it would be if you just started from scratch, right? You know, not having to worry about implementation and all these things, and unwinding all the things that happened in the past. So what did you see Joe? What, what is the? What is the care business look like before transformations happened? And where does Lumary come in? What is what is the the emotional experience that people are going through? And, and like you said, Eli grew throughout that journey. And what's your perspective on this whole whole world of technology and care?
Joe Mercorella 19:28
Oh, well, I have a few as you know, Alex, but I guess, I guess the biggest thing is the transformational element that's associated to it. And everyone comes from different, you know, situations and circumstances. So it's never the same. But I think the end state is, you know, conceptually, you know, consistent across the group and that and I think that's one of the biggest challenges in the sector is it's been forced upon in such a you know, very fast And, and, and, and enterprise way in operating an effective business in this framework. And so it's that instant instant is that ICT roadmap that is not is foreign or not quite well understood or defined within organisations. And it's very challenging to try and get to, you know, involve your tech stack effectively, if you're not aware of what the incident should look like. And I that's what I see is one of the biggest problems. So it's the overall understanding of what's needed to be successful in this market from a technology perspective. And then it's the process to achieve that. And that requires, you know, the people and the adequate finances in order to do that effectively. But I think that one of the biggest areas in which people probably don't appreciate, and ILA sort of touched on a bit, which is that change management element, right, it's that bringing people on that journey, and uplifting them, you know, in the need around technology and that digital experience, whether it be from a carriers perspective, or from, you know, the the customers want. And so, you know, I think, yeah, I've I've, what I've witnessed, it's all been very different, you know, over whatever it is 240 odd customers today, you've seen a lot of different journeys. I've been, obviously, with Eli, one of the initial organisations that came on board, and obviously being regional, I remember going out, you know, to the Bendigo region there to go visit and they will, they'll sort of say, Well, we've never had someone come down here before, I pretty much but that just goes to show that you know that you need to have us as technology vendors need to have the same level of care that the providers do. And if we don't, if we're not on the same page there, then we're not going to effectively, you know, transition, what's needed to be supporting the scheme in an effective way. And it's, it's still very ambiguous or constantly changing the NDIS, for example. And the past and the future isn't any real clearer. And so we need to be very reactive or have the ability to be reactive and change in accordance with it. And so hopefully luminary is supporting our customers in the right way to do that from a regulatory perspective. But then this whole process of digital and agent enablement and customer engagement is fundamental, right? Because we're all used to using, you know, phones apps today yet in what was present, you know, a few years ago was that, you know, a complete disjoint between what was normal in our day, like day to day lives versus what was available from a provider's perspective and so forth. And yeah, so I think Alex that's what I see is is that end state roadmap and you know, there's Lumary tries to help with that process as much as possible but it's also that change management piece
Alex Colvin 23:08
it's almost not the it's not about looking back right and seeing what's broken in the business and what can be improved it's it's a leap ahead it's looking at what's possible this this future state and working towards that it's almost it's almost a bit backwards in in the way that you normally approach these transformational projects right transformation normally is broken down into what are your issues what are the problems that we're trying to solve? And then delivering solutions to that whereas this is a whole operating model shift isn't it it's it's not just systems it's people as well isn't it
Joe Mercorella 23:41
100% 100% and then the you know, the model has been defined like this is an insurance that model in a commoditized market now which means it's purely technology led right as a differentiating factor and it's easy for you and I because we've grown up in technology we know enterprise solution, you can compile that together and you work with organ at large organisations to facilitate achieve that if you don't have that context to understand experience, it's hard for you to even imagine and that's the world you need to go create. And so so yeah, it's it's big but i think you know, these sort of these sort of sessions these you know, podcasts, webinars and so forth, these are good and helpful to help people understand what their journey might look like and listening to you know, Sarah and Eli obviously got experiences real life experiences and so I think this is just a great great cause and really helps people you know upskill and uplift their knowledge
Alex Colvin 24:39
and I also celebrating a bit of success here as well right you know, I love the story with Eli I like that comment that we enjoy we're just making them around the being future state focus not looking back, and I'm sure that didn't feel like the approach when you first started on the journey but you bought into that didn't show it evolved over time.
Eli Geary 25:01
Yeah, look, it was it was a huge challenge. I think, particularly, as Joe said, The NDIS is kind of pushed our industry into this almost retail customer service driven model where we had block funding, particularly for my organisation, we were pretty much a full block funded, government pay us money, we deliver services, and anyone who wanted the service just came along. Now we've really got to come into a retail market and sell our products as much as we can like any other provider. But the challenges that come with that is that the NDIS is ever evolving. And then you're trying to explain to staff that, you know, we've got to be a little bit more innovative, we've got to sort of see these changes because, and really look forward. Because if we don't, another provider we'll and it really is a benefit to us as employees as well as the participants about how well we can execute this. And whilst it is challenging, because it really is particularly for those people, we have staff members who thank you for 25 years. When I first started, who were who were writing everything down on paper, we were sending birthday cards out to every single participant on their birthday, handwritten birthday card, which is beautiful, and sweet and lovely America. Fantastic. And I love that, and it's something that we still do today. But we were doing that plus handwritten invoices, and, and all of those types of things. And I think we really needed to look and go, where do we want to be? Where could we be? And what systems can we implement that are going to help us get to that point. For us, the systems that were put in place between pendular and bloomery, realistically, probably were products that were just a little bit outside of our reach financially, at that point in time, they were probably on the higher end of expense for a smaller organisation that we were, but we were wanting to have a product that we weren't going to have to then leave in five years time, we want to invest in a product that we can see that was really pushing the boundaries, and that we would grow with or would grow with us, which is probably be part of our success in that systems implementation. And that's allowed us to do that change management to go well. Hendren pendula has been able to implement this. And they've looked at this, the weaning to look at that as well, because that's where the industry is going. Certainly, Brian? Yeah, yeah.
Joe Mercorella 27:38
It's a risk, it feels it feels like a big risk. But ultimately, you're like, you know, you don't have much choice. It's easy, as you know, operationally, you either, you know, increase those high cost of optics that you're spending on manual tasks and processing, and you substitute it to get that, you know, that ability to scale and grow effectively, or your you retain it? And, you know, right, yeah, we believe it's a leap of faith when you're not used to it, you know,
Alex Colvin 28:04
I say, maybe we shift gears here a little bit and kind of go a little bit further into that solution space. So we're starting to think about this. And I might start with you, Sarah, as we look at we've got the the challenge identified, we know what's possible with these forward facing solutions. And if we look at the system, and people kind of challenge that exists as part of that, if we're looking at implementing any change, it's always people process system right at the end of the thing. So if we do we do that, you know, and we start to think about personalization and all that, like, how did this change? Like how did automation and personalization of messaging help solve your problems that are engaging with all these staff and engaging with, you know, all the clients as well around that? What did that look look like for you?
Sarah Caldwell 28:55
Yeah, I mean, as we've all sort of alluded to, we just internally discussed that the best way to address the problem was to leverage the power of technology, I guess we had two choices, we grow our headcount in the administrative team, or we find a solution that I guess longer term will be able to help address. Yeah, those main problems that we discussed around sort of that communication and consistency of service. So yeah, I mean, we have the automated email reminders that are sent as soon as an appointments booked and you know, the appointment text messages, they're sent to the same sort of timeframe before all of the appointments. So it really does address that consistency, and then obviously, then able to use sort of the custom merge fields within those template bodies. So, you know, first name, and specifically what disciplines coming out and what your clinicians name is, just to really sort of personalise that message with the relevant information while also keeping it concise. I think as I also sort of alluded to, in my earlier point, we've just removed the human error if missing during that referral process. And yet, then again, additionally, with the benefit of reduced sort of admin time across our admin team, but also our, our clinical team, and really giving them time back to focus on sort of what, what their main sort of reasons are for being in the role and that sort of thing. dispense as much as possible.
Alex Colvin 30:27
And are you saying before, around your experience napping differentiated. And I know that you guys are using the two way technology of talking back and forth with, with your clients, what feedback you're getting is it hasn't worked? Or you differentiated, you know, what are the the people on the business saying, what are the clients saying, you know, is it successful? Yeah,
Sarah Caldwell 30:49
I mean, one, so we have, yeah, I think, as you sort of mentioned, a survey that goes out to our participants. And just after the initial point, we get that instant feedback around how that sort of found their experience so far. And I guess it gives us a really early opportunity to address sort of any little niggles that we may have and receive any feedback from our participants at the end of the day. You know, the reason that we are sort of doing what we're doing is to serve as activities events, and I guess, based on their feedback, whether we can take that on board and sort of adapt some of our processes, has been yet so unbelievably beneficial to our team, just to address those concerns early on, and rather than let them sort of foster and snowball, and yeah, end up with an unhappy participant, which is never I guess what any organisation want?
Alex Colvin 31:37
Of course, no. Joe, from a technology business perspective, right? The feedback loops are critical. That's what we build product based companies on is that feedback loop getting it back in hearing that it's, it's a level up, right, the seeing these indie is business is stunning to think like a technology businesses and how fast we move. That's exciting, right? And it shows the, the growth of some of these outliers within the industry, and how fast that people who are not adopting the technology need to right and they're gonna get they're gonna get left behind, right, if they don't start to take inspiration from the data rehabs and the interchanges of the world out there.
Joe Mercorella 32:14
100%, I mean, just you redefining, you know, the bar, and the level that you need to operate at. And ultimately, it's a race, you see, it's a race for everybody in this ecosystem, including us and providers. And who know who gets there and does it more efficiently, effectively, and economically, will, will be at the top of the game. And so But yeah, I mean, feedback is just, your feedback loop is just critical. The hardest part is facilitating right, is creating the mechanism for it to be able to consume the information then applied appropriately. But ultimately, you know, the value that whether it's your service that you're giving to the participants or our service to you, ultimately, it has to be a value and the value is only understood and derived from the feedback. And so, yeah, it is critical. And I think things like you know, Sarah just being able to share information around plan to consumption and availability of funding and for you know, for further requests of service and appointments, I think those things are paramount in, in enabling better digital connectivity. And, and those things can can be automated and, and you know, a lot of people are happy to operate that way. Give them the information at their fingertips for them to initiate that engagement. So yeah, so appreciate what you're saying there.
Alex Colvin 33:46
Yeah. And the personalization there, as you're saying, so it's interesting, right? automation actually can create more accurate personalization, you remove that human error through there, and you know, appreciating that when you can ask the right question at the right time and hear the feedback and see it, you know, in your CMS, you know, you're asking a survey question, you know, that it's about this service agreement, and or this appointment, whatever it would be, and it's really powerful. So, Sara, are there any stories of, of products changing or processes changing as a result of the feedback? Um,
Sarah Caldwell 34:22
yes, there is definitely. I mean, I think we also have sort of an internal communication that we've leveraged with pendular as well. So if we do get a low survey, then it also internally messages our managers, and so they get an alert that there's been an incident created on leymarie around a low survey score based on some of those things. We actually updated our merge fields in pendula. So we had feedback from our participants where they did have multiple disciplines that they work in fused, what appointment it was, who was coming out and they said it would be really beneficial if in the reminded text message it had the name and the discipline over who was coming out. So we now have that as one of our processes as well. There was yet confusion sometimes around when people have received a copy of our service agreement or any of our NDIS sort of compliance documents, and we used to take those out in hardcopy as well. So we did our welcome pack to be sent through pendula. So basically, once we've set our clients up, we have a checkbox that sends it out. Again, we've got that audit history of it. Yeah, those are sort of two examples off the top of my head that I guess we're sort of continually seeking feedback from, from our participants just to update anything that's Yeah, relevant and would be beneficial for both the customer and for better rehab.
Alex Colvin 35:49
If it was agile, right, right in its approach, but we're sitting there and where we're listening, we're changing and then experimenting at each point and doubling down. And a few things that you touched on there, which I'd like to kind of tap a live for this. We're talking about all these different systems, right? And we I know, some of you guys are using scheduling tools like scheduler Lumary as that care management solution, which, you know, obviously, both of those technologies plus pendula are all connected and intertwined into the base of Salesforce, right? So we're getting all these amazing technologies that are all integrated and completely aligned with each other. There's a lot of power in that, isn't it? The if if we look at some of the carrying facilitation, we're crossing luminary processes, we're crossing schedule o based appointments, and then having all the communications firing off those events. how critical was that and having everything in in intertwined and connected with each other?
Eli Geary 36:49
Look, it is really critical. I'm not going to say it didn't come without its challenges, and still doesn't come without its challenges. I am not a tech person at all, and came in to my role with the interchange as a recreation coordinator, I ran camps and school holiday programmes. And before that I was in children's services. So the whole client management world in technology was not a thing that I had any experiencing. But quickly sort of adapted, which is meant that we have been able to make real critical points between our client management system and our offering system, and even now from our rostering system into our payroll system, and made sure that they were consistent across the board. So for us, it was a challenge. Definitely, and as we scaled up was even more of a challenge. Because we implement things. And we think that they would take us to where we need to go at that next point. And then we go "Oh dear", we didn't do that, this, this, this and this, because we want the communication to come through from schedule o or hang on, we're looking at it from from numerous fields and system. So it definitely is a challenge. But nothing that can't be achieved. Again, I don't have it background, we don't have a system it person in our organisation. I would love one, because for me, but it's been a really, really good opportunity for many of our staff members in the organisation to get a real understanding of how the system interact with one another, and how they interact between the two. And having those communication coming in and out of or coming from one system and into the other system has been really, really critical. Because it's meant that we are confident in the information that's coming out of the system and what's coming back into the system as well.
Alex Colvin 38:56
So how do you know this better than than any of us write about all the technology aspects here? Tell us about the stack and we hear the word Salesforce we hear Lumary here Pendula, Schedulo... What are all these things and you know what, why are they Why are they all separate? But then why they also all intertwined at the same time?
Joe Mercorella 39:14
Yeah, yeah, I will when I just just just listened to Eli that saying, you know, like there's no IT administrator like, what what's probably not appreciated is the level of comprehensiveness and complexity that's associated to the actual technology stack to your point Alex and so, so these applications like Lumary, impinge on so forth, and scheduler will started the life being an application built natively on the Salesforce technology platform. Pendula, well you speak to that Alex, but it's evolved and so a significant amount but Lumary and Schedulo today, you know, still primarily bloomery in particulars only on the Salesforce platform. Schedulo expanded a bit more to but what it means is you're using the same technology base, the same database, the same interfaces and so forth in order to engage with different applications. And you know, some what you could call a like operating on your phone, you know, you've got different applications all on the, you know, the Apple and Android platforms. But the difference on your phone is the apps don't connect and speak to each other. And that actually is the biggest hurdle or the biggest differentiator when they have to speak with each other. They have to speak the same language, they have to have structures in place for joint roadmaps, they have to all touchpoints around account management and sales, everything has to be all connected and synergized. Otherwise, there's just gaps. And it's, you know, very obvious to the customers in particular, say, early adopters, like interchange. Where you know, you're growing and evolving, and there are things that we have not considered, or that we know we need to do, but don't have capacity to do. And so yeah, so that's, that's basically the basis Salesforce sits on the bottom, let's say, and provides the technology, the base and the application stored on top. And the differences is that our applications have different modules that are installed which connect the applications together.
Alex Colvin 41:30
And as you say, there's one solution right? You know, we look at, it's a repeatable, isn't it that the shared customers between Lumary and Pendula that it's 60 70% of the Lumary customers is using Pendula and or Schedulo in some way, right? And it's because it's a solution. It's not about really what you've got is three different businesses, or at least two within Lumary and Pendula investing millions of dollars into research and development and platforms. With a specialised focus. We let you guys worry about all the key management stuff we'll worry about how to create a conversational experiences through that, but together and you know, what an Eli and Sarah get is, I'm sure you don't see Pendula or Lumary as separate, right? It's just one one solution that you guys have. It's, it's really repeatable that's like, it's the the big message here is you don't need to invent and start from scratch This is copy and paste, copy and paste the new operating model, right?
Joe Mercorella 42:31
Yeah, like, you probably don't appreciate how much it actually costs to go do this effectively. And then to be able to make it scalable, scalable and applicable to multiple different enterprises and businesses. That the fact of the matter is there's been organisations in this sector that have embarked on the journey themselves. And if you're not aware of those, you know, those those organisations, it's worth taking a look in, because they've spent, you know, upwards of $5 million or more to produce something they used to don't even have, that they don't have what you have, and they don't have the ongoing maintenance and r&d that's associated with the and it's not one's fault, it's just cost a lot of money and we can even do an economies of scale in order to actually facilitate achieving effect effectively. So the more customers we have, the more we can do a better better the more we until we get the more funding that we have to improve the solution and it just keeps getting you know, keeps getting better and I mean, I have to send out apologies to those that first adopted because naturally, I had to bear the brunt of you know, being you know, a little bit of the trolls and and, you know, providing the initial feedback and so forth. And it's it's no one's fault, it's just circumstantial, but taking on the solution today, your experience is profoundly different. And and I wish I could brought that old experience back to the start, you know, for everyone, but that's just that's just not the you know, the journey that's been upon us and, and but the main thing is we're taking the lessons, we're applying them improving it, and that keeps, you know, feeding back to two customers that have been on the genuis for a long time.
Alex Colvin 44:16
Yeah, really, really good segue Actually, Eli might get you to kind of jump on this one. This is the bright future ahead. Right. It's all this hard work that Eli and Sarah put in, you know, they've got they've got a head start now. They've got the technology and they're operating this technology moving forward. They've learned the lessons now that they're moving forward. So maybe for everyone else is considering this journey, you know, what are the lessons that you've learned along the way?
Eli Geary 44:44
Just if I can jump just quickly back to Joseph and say, as an early adopter, I think I actually appreciated the fact that there was that disability factor with actually baby taking notice of because the reality was, is that there was no Systems providers who were actually looking at disability service providers, NDIS providers and putting in the time and the resources to understand the complexity of the client management systems that we needed, and the rostering management system and the communication systems that we needed, we need to be really honest, remember that there was nothing out there. lease was very new. We were running off systems that were looking at all the services provision, looking at hospitals, get down systems, we have to be honest, in the end is is very, very new for us, here in Australia, and is a leader in across the world in how we look at supporting people with disability. So we're never going to have a product that was going to be perfect from the absolute get go and still is going to need adapting and changing. So the fact that we have systems, providers last Pendula and Schedulo, and Lumary who were actually looking at investing money into improving the systems is fantastic. Because without it, we wouldn't be able to deliver quality service to the participants that we have on the NDIS, we wouldn't be able to give the amount of support to the staff that we that we need. Because we would be so administratively heavy, that we just wouldn't be able to achieve those targets. I think, moving forward, Alex, I get really excited about this stuff. I wish I had more time to give to it in my role, but for us, the real focuses that come from our organisation, we we are not massive on the amount of people that we support, we have just under 300 staff members supporting just under 1500 participants across the a lot of mallee region, but that a huge region for those of you living in Victoria would be aware. So for us really focusing in on staff retention is a really big thing. How do we provide more touch points to carers who are working out in the community where community based disability organisation, we don't have day services, we don't have centres we don't, we don't have any facilities, it's all supporting people in their home or in their community. So that can be really isolating for staff. So we're looking at ways that we can have more touch points with staff within a period of time, because I feel better supported, which is really, really important to the other parts of that is how we connect with our association. So how do we connect with the support coordinators that are supporting that participant? How do we connect with the OT? How do we connect with all of those people? How do we more efficiently gather consent for participants? You know, traditionally, we would have send out a form Do you give consent for the person to talk to us about this, this, this and this. And then we've been having phone calls Do you give consent for this, this, this and this, whilst effective means of communication. It does take a long time. And they do take some participants feel a little bit off guard and they want to be able to do it in the time when they want to do it. But I feel comfortable, particularly for parents who at the end of the day, they've been powering through a lot of stuff with their kids or with the participant that they support. So they can't take that phone call there. And then because they're at the supermarket or they're doing a pickup or a drop off, if they can respond to something later on that night, then great and they should have the opportunity to do so. So they're the efficiencies that we're sort of looking at to make sure that we are seeing refer a service that can be available 24 seven, whilst also keeping our staffing strength within a certain time period and we're not overburdening our staff
Alex Colvin 48:54
So much that we can learn from the the interchange journey right it's it's incredible all the all the different phases that the business went through. So thanks for sharing that Eli. Maybe we just round up today's session. Sarah, for those who are looking to go on this journey, they may have Lumary and now have Pendula, they may have nothing right now they may be on their old legacy systems. What's the advice here? And why should you move? Why should you Why should you go down the path of further automation?
Sarah Caldwell 49:22
Yeah, I mean, I guess there's so much flexibility to segment sort of a database and target different groups. So you know, the automation to message a certain segment of customers. And I guess, Lumary really facilitates this through sort of the custom picklist or filters that you can set up there. And basically, both sort of platforms just really help facilitate communication with clients in a really efficient yet accurate way. I guess yeah. Just, you're able to send a really clear message and harness the power, sort of those those merge fields to really personalise and tailor those messages. So, yeah, I guess that in a nutshell, yeah, there's just there's so many opportunities and so much adaptability. Through the use of technology.
Alex Colvin 50:15
Two really good examples of three businesses who have taken a leap and come really far. So well done to both of you for the journeys to date. And we're really looking forward to seeing all the future success and you know, how the, the software will develop within the business and how you guys all the new things you're gonna use it for as well. Really excited to see that. So that's gonna conclude the core part of the webinar today, we're gonna change gears and go to the q&a now. So we've been receiving a bunch Thank you, for everyone for dropping their questions in, we're still gonna leave this questions open. So feel free again to ask any more questions. And we'll try and get to as many of them as possible in the next seven or so minutes. We might start just really is a quick question that's come to Eli, this has come from someone who's currently implementing learning. You mentioned about payroll before what what payroll system are you guys using? Is it integrated? What does it look like?
Eli Geary 51:13
I'm going to keep this as short as I can, so we can answer as many questions as we can, and so much we have just implemented implemented Sage people pay for that does is on the Salesforce platform, which was a deliberate purchase. Obviously, we're wanting to make sure that we are getting everything through an automated process as much as possible. We use pendula to remind staff to complete their timesheet, prior to them being submitted. We use it to remind staff to update any information that they need to. So just working at the moment with payroll to get a work flow to if someone wants to update any of their addresses or bank account details or anything like that. To get them to do that through a bit of a workflow workflow, which we will be using pendula to do so rather than having someone to implement or input that data, which will be fantastic. So at the moment, before that, we've literally just implemented Sage people pay we are six paid in for all that stuff. It has had its bumps in the road. But we're just starting to see the successes of it. We went from a four day processing payroll down to half a day. We have 300 staff. So four days was far too long from a payroll process. But it was all done manually. So we've gone from from that to half a day.
Alex Colvin 52:43
I guess that's it seems true to what Joe was saying before about everything being on that one platform Salesforce, you add in that next COVID building are already works rather, there's not a need to you there's no integration process, right? It's it's configuration to what the business needs. Now the question here, maybe we can both ask, but Eli and Sarah, this ceremony would go to you first question on, how do you manage the issue of clients who don't have mobile phones, or where their mobile phone might have is shared between multiple people, like a partner, for instance?
Sarah Caldwell 53:17
Yeah, I mean, that's not uncommon, I guess we use true communication methods for our appointment confirmation. So we have the email confirmation. So if they don't have a mobile phone, hopefully they have an email. one additional thing that we're actually looking at exploring at the moment as well is to increase the number of recipients that receive a single communication. So at the moment, we haven't just set up with one email address and one mobile number to text through to. So we're looking at setting up sort of an additional fields so that multiple recipients such as you know, it might be, it might be a family member that can receive those communications. Additionally, I guess we can pop any phone number in there. So if the participant doesn't necessarily have a phone number, you know, we can always update that to be yet sort of the next of kin or guardian or whoever would be the most appropriate person to otherwise be receiving that communication.
Alex Colvin 54:16
Right. And maybe we just continue on another question around that. We'll jump back to that same question to Eli in a second. But got a question here around how does two way communication worked? Does the business does a participant need to log in to an account or anything like that? Or was it just on the mobile?
Sarah Caldwell 54:32
Mobile or email. So if they reply to any of our automated emails, it just, we sort of have our default admin a better way have a Gmail account, but it goes through to which our office managers oversee, or if it's a text message reply, so to our appointment confirmations, we just have sort of an additional tab within our library platform. Our office managers check that generally twice a day. So once sort of after the automations go out, and then again in the afternoon, if there's any work Why's that have come through? Generally, it's just a yes or no. Okay. And then we just I guess, filter through any of the ones that say, you know, please reschedule or please copy and use that to, to, then triage how we respond to those. So but yeah, from the participants perspective, they just think that they're applying to a normal mobile number or sending an email.
Alex Colvin 55:19
Right? It's just like how we communicate, right? And there's, I know we are talking a little bit about automating some of those those answers as well around the standard yeses and noes and asking someone to confirm something or change something we can automate that with the system taking care of the more repeatable use cases, yeah. Maybe a lie to set the same question to you made as well. Around people who don't have mobiles, it's probably a little bit easier for for you guys, because they're on staff, right? So you can, the record keeping is probably quite strong. Is that an issue for your business,
Eli Geary 55:52
I'm looking at these, it does become an issue, we have actually quite a large population of employees who are from the refugee community here in Bendigo. So it's definitely a challenge for us to begin with. What we do find is that the consistent messaging really supports that and the real, the ability to create templates so that we know, if someone's able to understand this communication, then it's very likely they're going to understand this communication. Because it is consistent, it's short, we are very lucky to have a fantastic PR person who goes through their communication in bulk, so that those things are really clear. And I'm messaging for both advertisements and our support staff and our carriers. But that is something that I think you need to be conscious of that you don't have too much guff in the communication, something I struggle with, because I like to have the happy, feely touchy stuff. But it is really important. I think that's where it really does support that level of communication. And something we continually talked about our staff that are communicating out that keep it simple, as much as you possibly can. Sarah love that multiple phone number thing. I'm totally stealing that workflow. I think that's a great idea, particularly for adult participants who may have a carer who just needs to just be aware of things. Maybe they don't need someone to do things for them. But there might need to be someone to be aware of an appointment with coming up or just to remind them if they can.
Alex Colvin 57:28
Yeah, that's just one last question to wrap up things for today. There are a whole bunch of other questions that will be what will summarise and answers for them and share them with all the participants today as well, just so no question goes on answered. But a really good question. Before we wrap up for Joe, how does Lumary compare to other CMS solutions like Salesforce? And is the provider able to customise the solution based on its needs?
Joe Mercorella 57:53
Yeah, that's a good question. Because this is usually a bit of a misconception that you can't customise your environment. If your install Lumary, Lumary is just like Pendula and Schedulo, it's an application, you can't obviously change the code base or code source in the application. But that doesn't mean you can't work with it. And Better Rehab are a great example of how much focus in energy that they spend in what we should we say Sarah tinkering, and playing and putting in new processes and workflows and all the time, they've got a great appetite for it, they've allocated resources to do it, we have a good relationship where if they've needs some support around the technical aspects of what they're actually intending to doing, they've got a mechanism to, you know, tap into our, you know, 40 or 50 odd Salesforce experts here to get that insight understanding because, you know, it does take a little bit to learn on the platform, you know it from a maturity perspective. But if you can just confirm things before you do it, then you ensure that you're going to get the right outcome. So to answer the question is Salesforce, you know, gives you that technology, the underpinning platform. But in order to recreate what Pendula or Luminary and Schedulo have done, you have to go build out all that capability and functionality.
Alex Colvin 59:27
10s of millions of dollars that have gone into that development as well as share sharing the investment.
Joe Mercorella 59:34
But no, you can definitely edit and manipulate anything you like there's no limitations to that. And that's that's the whole reason why we is to give you this amazing platform which it is Salesforce, it is amazing. But to give you something more out of the box that sets you up from the get go, which then you can then do bringing those, you know specific initiatives around strategic or business initiatives that you want to do and bring them in and apply them with using technology like Salesforce, and there's lots more Salesforce products that you can incorporate. So, you know, you've got other aspects like Salescloud or CP q or other HR, HR systems. If you look at Sage intact, there are so many things in which you can expand into. And there are no limitations. It's really comes down to time and money. That's right. Yeah,
Alex Colvin 1:00:23
Thanks for that, Joe. Appreciate it. And Eli, Sara, thank you as well for all the time today. We're just gonna end today now. With just one final note for everyone who has attended the webinar, if you are on your journey in some way or form interested in seeing what it would be like to have a different type of experience within your business. We are extending an offer today a one month free trial of Pendula within certain parameters for those who would like to see what it's like to change your one way comms into two way, and have all the journey in between that so all your email journeys, all of your experiences that sit within that, being able to try that for yourself and see how you can become just as successful as but they will answer were on their chins. So thanks everyone today, I appreciate everyone's attendance. I hope you all got a lot out of hearing from Sarah Eli and Joe today and we look forward to the next webinar which hopefully will be running within the next month. Thanks, everyone.