Case study - Creativity Inc

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The client

Formerly known as Eastern Respite & Recreation, Creativity Inc has been supporting people with a disability and their families for almost 30 years.

Creativity Inc is a dynamic and innovative not-for-profit organisation that provides respite, day programs and recreational services to people who have a disability living throughout Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

Creativity Inc was set up under the name Eastern Respite in 1985 by a small group of dynamic parents seeking a better quality of life for their children. Four programs were initially established to provide children with disabilities opportunities to develop their skills while also giving families a break from their caring role.

Today Creativity Inc provides services to over 300 people with a disability. Their services aim to support people with a disability to live fulfilling lives with independence and dignity.

The challenge

Creativity Inc was working across several different kinds of systems, with very little integration between them. Human resources work was still largely paper based. The organisation had a client relationship management system that was computer based, but although this CRM worked well for case management and captured the necessary data for government reporting, it was no use for rostering and other functions. So the key component of the organisation’s expenses – 75% in rostering – had to be done entirely manually, with no integration into other systems.

In order to save staff time, improve data reliability and give clients better outcomes, as well as prepare for the NDIS, Creativity Inc needed to introduce a horizontal, integrated system that would work across the organisation.

The solution

Matthew Lattin, the organisation’s senior manager, had been working on IT and database management for six or seven years, which gave him a strong background for selecting a system. He and the CEO worked together on gathering requirements and assessing systems. They approached the problem with the assumption that other organisations like theirs had already been through this process, and that the NDIS already had some very clear requirements, and tried not to ‘reinvent the wheel’ by trying to find a system that would exactly match every single step of their current workflow.

They read a raft of reports assessing the systems that might be suitable for organisations operating under the NDIS, and they looked carefully at the solutions already being widely used. The organisation already had extremely carefully documented workflows in their Quality Management System, so they knew what everyone in the organisation was doing and how that might translate into a new system. One of their main aims was to reduce the number of people entering any one piece of data from around five, to one.

In the end, they found the system they were looking for in a report Deloitte had written for FACS. The unit costing tool, My Yardstick, caught their eye and on further research they found its vendor, MYP, had integratable products covering almost all their needs. The vendor mainly focussed on financial services businesses, and to Creativity Inc that seemed like a plus: as Matthew Lattin says, the NDIS meant moving to a more business-like footing, giving clients the power to manage their own future and competing with other organisations. This seemed like a software package that could help get them there.

Although MYP could provide an HRM, unit costing including client proposals and other modules the organisation could link to finance system through an API, they were missing rostering and a system for transparently managing outcomes for clients under the NDIS. So Creativity Inc approached the vendor to find out their future plans. They said they were developing a rostering tool for aged care and retail; Creativity Inc signed up another disability partner, and MYP went ahead with developing the tool for disability services. It will go live in February. With their own funds, Creativity Inc also commissioned an objective management system, GOMS. Thanks to MYP’s business model, Creativity Inc continues to own the IP to modules they’ve commissioned, which gives them enough funding to keep training staff into the future. And compared to the cost of implementing a normal CRM, Creativity Inc has found commissioning modules very affordable.

MYP gave the organisation everything they needed for under $26,000 per year. The set-up cost was about $6000. And as Matthew Lattin says, it works.