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Posted: 10/24/2011
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Shine Therapy Services Therapists Increase Time Spent Helping Children Due to Communications Technology

Shine Therapy Services helps children, families, and schools access affordable therapy services. It wanted to expand without increasing costs and continue delivering high-quality services. With Microsoft Office 365, the company can work from anywhere, exchanging email messages, sharing diaries and documents, and storing client records online. The company has become more efficient, even as it has grown. Office 365 has also helped keep costs down by removing the need for a central office. Most important, it has allowed the company to spend more time with children, their families, and schools.

Business Needs

Lisa McSpirit, Co-Founder of Shine Therapy Services, says: “We set up in private practice to help families and children.” Her team of independent occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and physiotherapists work with schools and other institutions across the north-west of England.

When the company began to expand beyond the two original members, McSpirit wanted to spend more time helping clients, and minimise time spend dealing with IT. But she also wanted “the maximum amount of flexibility and the ability to keep our finger on the pulse of the business.”

The firm started out with a basic email system and paper-based records. But, according to McSpirit, this introduced some challenges. For example, there was a filing cabinet with client records in each school so if anyone got a call about a child, they’d have to go to the school to check the records before answering any queries. They needed a system that allowed them to stay in touch with one another and with their records wherever they went.


Shine gives all its staff smartphones and laptops and, in the schools, they have access to wireless Internet connections.

Microsoft Office 365 gives the company a big-business email system with shared calendars and support for smartphones. It adds real-time communications with Microsoft Lync 2010, giving everyone instant messaging, web, and video conferencing. In addition, it provides Shine with an online digital filing cabinet offering a high level of security and allowing staff to store all client records centrally.


Electronic diaries. Thanks to Office 365, all staff at Shine have electronic diaries. They use the diaries to keep track of appointments and the company uses them as a record for invoicing and auditing. Because they can see each other’s diaries, it’s easy to arrange meetings, such as appraisals. “It helps us be so much more efficient,” says McSpirit.

Online meetings. The built-in Lynch 2010 software lets staff have online meetings, including voice and video chat, and work together on documents online. “It’s more time and cost-effective because it saves us having to find a venue for meetings,” says McSpirit. In future, Shine may also use the functionality for remote therapy sessions.

Virtual company. Office 365 helps Shine keep its overheads as low as possible. The co-founders have home offices, but apart from that there’s no central office. “Thanks to Microsoft Office 365, wherever we go, that’s our office,” says McSpirit. They can access documents, email messages, and diaries from their mobile phones as well as their laptops.

Flexible working. Many Shine staff have children of their own and everyone has to align their working day with school timetables and holidays. This puts a premium on flexibility and Office 365 helps to deliver that. For example, staff can catch up on email in the evening after their children have gone to bed.

All these productivity improvements have a collateral benefit—they allow staff to spend more time with kids and their families. “This is what we came into the profession to do,” says McSpirit. “We’re probably seeing double the number of kids that we used to see. We’re reaching these children and helping them.”

For More Information

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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 9 employees

Organization Profile

Shine Therapy Services is a team of independent occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists based in Preston, Lancashire, and operating across north-west England.

Software and Services
Microsoft Office 365

Vertical Industries
Public Health & Social Services

United Kingdom