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Easier, Smoother, Better!

A quiet revolution is gathering steam at AQA. The Board and Leadership team have committed to upgrading our

Business IT systems, in ways that they hope will improve dramatically our service delivery and our working environment.

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They want to transform the way information is shared within and among AQA’s business components, so that our staff and volunteers, clients, community, and supporters can cooperate more effectively.

Leading the project is Tushar Kelkar, 38, who has managed related initiatives for companies such as Telstra subsidiary Sensis and national electricity and gas utility Energy Australia.

“The primary goal of the Business Transformation Project is to supply everybody with more capable and intuitive tools, which will help them to collaborate, innovate and excel,” Tushar says.

You can get a sense of the improvements expected by looking in turn at the four key parts of AQA business practice: Services, Finance, Human Resources, and Community Engagement.

First, our work connecting AQA clients with DSWs through Qualcare, and with Peer Mentors and Coaches through Spire.

AQA wants to make it much easier for people to request services from us, and to tune our delivery of those services to their needs, Tushar explains.

We also want to make it easier for our DSWs to respond to those needs, to see opportunities, and to adjust their availability.

“For example, we would like our DSWs to be able to view their own rosters and take ownership of that,” Tushar says, “so that they can manage their availability for work around other parts of their lives, and contribute to better planning.

“Should something unexpected happen, then advising of that and making yourself available for other work should be a seamless experience. Something that DSWs can do themselves rather than having to call someone up.”

Second, AQA finances and how we handle them. The aim is to streamline our billing and payment systems so that all financial transactions with AQA are easy to complete, and secure. And so that we have a much clearer and more timely view of our revenues and costs.

“The IT solution we choose would have a rostering component to it, a client management component to it, a leave management component to it, and the capacity to apply award rates of pay,” Tushar says.

“We want to give our staff an alternative to manual timesheets, and to make things much easier for our payroll team.

“When a shift gets completed, the DSW and the client will authorise it digitally. Authorised shifts will be compiled automatically into our system.

“We hope that at the end of each pay period, our payroll team will be dealing with only a handful of timesheets that need manual intervention. That will release people from data entry, giving them more time for verification, the analysis of plan performance, and other business analytics.”

Third, the ways in which AQA connects with, hires, trains, and supports our people. The intention is to make it easier for us all to collaborate in our work, to improve the way we work, and to grow personally and professionally as we do so.

“Managing a large staff and team of volunteers who are prepared and supported in the work they do requires a Human Resource System that informs and reminds people of key requirements, and makes it easy for them to keep updated, and compliant with mandatory checks and certificates,” Tushar says.

“We also want to increase staff engagement through our system, enabling first-hand feedback from the staff and volunteers at the coal face to our coordination teams and management.”

Fourth, how AQA connects with the SCI and wider communities. There are opportunities to engage more deeply with community members, to lift the quality and responsiveness of our websites and social media channels, and to attract more interest and assistance from the broader public.

“As an example, our peer support team gathers huge amounts of information as it interacts with people over the course of their lives,” Tushar says, “but a lot of this information is stored only in the heads of team members.

“We want to capture much more of this information as a searchable record, so that we can understand the needs and preferences of each person better and do more to engage with them. And we want to do it in an automated way that does not create extra work for the team.”

Tushar says he is excited to have the chance to work on a project that could contribute so comprehensively to an organisation, and to oversee it from beginning to end.

And he hopes he will hear from everybody who can point out stumbling blocks, bottlenecks and missed opportunities in present AQA systems and practices, whether through email or by making time for a chat.

“I would love to understand your challenge, and I would love to see how I can incorporate that into the transformation program,” he says.

“At the end of the process, we want to make sure that every win for one team is a win for the organisation – because everything is operating seamlessly across departments.”

CEO Peter Trethewey says the project, if well executed, will supply AQA with tools that can enhance the quality and range of our services into the next decade and beyond.

“It’s time our Business IT caught up to the reality that in 2018 we work in partnership with our clients and community, and that we value and draw our strength from the lived experience of our clients and community,” Peter says.

“As a trusted partner, we want to be straightforward and transparent to deal with. And we need to use our resources to empower our partners, so that our reputation extends beyond our provision of services and speaks to how we contribute to people’s enjoyment of life.”

Foundational planning for the project is scheduled for completion by the end of October. It is projected that the new systems will be installed by July next year, and that everybody will be using them, and comfortable doing so, as we head into 2020.