Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Charities must utilise integrated technology to meet health and social services demand

WITH not-for-profit organisations being fundamental for the provision of health and social care and support services across the UK – especially in the current economic climate – meeting the growing demand for delivery amid a range of public welfare service challenges is no mean feat for such organisations.

Stretched and dwindling resources are making the third sector’s role in social care even more crucial. The pressure is on for not-for-profits (NFPs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in this arena, particularly if they are trying to manage operations manually and across disparate software and systems. 

This is where Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology – a single business software architecture comprising Customer Relationship Management (CRM), financials, HR and much more – is becoming less of a consideration and more of a necessity. This kind of cloud-based technology has already helped the sector overcome pandemic-induced challenges – from fundraising restrictions in a social distancing society to remote working – helping the sector navigate the challenges of impact on revenues. It has proved to be a lifeline for many not-for-profit organisations and there is a growing recognition of the importance of adoption.

For those delivering social and health care support services, the plethora of tasks involved to enable access to courses for individuals can be plentiful and time-consuming. These tasks can include appointment organising with one or more colleagues, using the right methods of communication for that particular individual and ensuring contact details are accessible and up-to-date. When executed manually, and across systems which are often not integrated, this can be a minefield fraught with inefficiency. Errors can easily make their way into this process, such as incorrect user data, mismatched records or missing fields. For organisations trying to deliver support to as many people as possible, wasting time on administrative tasks is inefficient, frustrating and saps vital funds. Furthermore, the user experience can be much less satisfactory and engaging – and for organisations whose success lies in engaging users, this is a major consideration.

Our work in this sector has seen us help organisations increase efficiencies in their operations and create better customer relationships. By implementing integrated cloud-based technology solutions, we are helping charity sector players enhance interaction with service users. The technology enables non-profits to easily access client records to view data such as notes on progress, communication history and contact details for appointment booking, all in one integrated system accessible to people with job roles that require this information. When staff diaries can be seen by all in one single place, appointments can be easily made. When client data is in one place, communication with that client is streamlined. When clients can access self-serve solutions such as going online to book their own appointments, review their progress or communicate with mentors and coaches, customer satisfaction is high, as are organisational efficiencies. It’s clear to see how this kind of functionality will become a vital element for the charity sector in enhancing delivery of support services.

Just as analytics is playing a huge part in helping companies gain insights that can help them improve their offering – so too is this relevant for organisations in the third sector. The ERP solutions being adopted can extract data and use intuitive and powerful analytic capabilities to give behavioural insights that can be invaluable in informing personalised marketing. For a charitable organisation providing sessions or programmes, such insights can help in content development to ensure they’re appealing to the target group. It can also help the organisation benchmark success of its work. Marketing campaigns can be automated – from design to execution via desired outreach method. The time it would take to design, generate, distribute and follow up on marketing materials, as well as record responses for success measurement, is significant. Implementing a software solution that automates all of this gives the charitable organisation more valuable time to execute its good work and removes time-consuming tasks that detract from the vision and core objectives.

The ongoing challenge for charities is to engage, retain and attract donors, and meet the charity objectives to best serve recipients of the support. The only viable and scalable way to achieve this is with the adoption of integrated technology. An ERP solution with intelligent CRM features must be a serious consideration for any organisation in this sector.

Charities must utilise integrated technology to meet health and social services demand

Ian Robertson is the Sales and Marketing Director of BrightBridge, a UK-based technology consultancy offering Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions. Ian has over 30 years of experience in ERP and CRM implementations. Prior to forming BrightBridge, Ian worked for a major US IT corporation, where he acquired a depth of knowledge around time-saving efficiencies through technological integration and automation. 

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