Reducing costs, increasing productivity and continuing to provide the best possible service to its customers while managing rapid growth were some of the key business challenges facing the Wise Group (Wise) – a large non-government provider of mental health services in New Zealand.
Add to this the commitment the organisation decided to make to becoming more environmentally sustainable in their end-to-end business practices and Wise needed to make a significant change in how they did business.
By committing to an infrastructure investment strategy based on the deployment of Microsoft’s Office System, Wise not only achieved cost saving and productivity goals, but also met its environmental sustainability objectives.
With more than 700 employees, Wise’s paper-based processes became a less streamlined and ultimately unsustainable means of distributing information between offices. Wise required a technology platform that would meet three key business challenges – reduce costs, increase productivity and promote greater environmental sustainability.
||The growth of our business meant we needed a technology solution that would reduce costs, increase productivity and help us meet environmental sustainability objectives. Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007®, in addition to our existing Microsoft technology, met all three business challenges. Wise Group is now well positioned to continue its role in contributing to the New Zealand health sector.
Wise deployed Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007® along with Microsoft Office InfoPath®. This was in line with the Group’s Microsoft-centric technology platform, which already included Microsoft Office®, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server® and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0®.
Cost, productivity and sustainability challenges
Since its inception in 1989, Wise has grown exponentially within the New Zealand health sector, from one to more than 700 employees.
With such growth, Wise’s paper-based processes became a less streamlined and ultimately unsustainable means of distributing information between offices.
“With the Group’s spread throughout New Zealand, paper forms were being faxed, couriered and posted all around the country,” says Stuart Prendergast, CIO, Wise.
“This was costing us money and inhibiting our ability to stay agile. We needed to reduce our inefficiencies while maintaining robust systems.”
Productivity was also an issue, says Prendergast. “The combination of paper forms and the geographic spread of our offices was really affecting our speed of service – transactions were sometimes taking days to complete. We knew we needed to raise productivity and streamline our business processes.”
Like many other organisations, Wise had also become increasingly aware of the need to become more environmentally sustainable. It committed itself to an infrastructure investment strategy that would align with this goal – including the move into Hamilton’s first four star targeted green-rated building in April 2008.
“We firmly believe we have a responsibility to ourselves, our customers and New Zealand to make infrastructure investment decisions that will have a positive impact on the environment,” says Prendergast. “The business processes we were using, particularly the reliance on paper forms, were at odds with this goal.”
Three challenges – one solution
Wise decided to upgrade its technology platform to eliminate the dependence on paper-based forms, make information instantly available between sites and streamline the associated approval and workflow processes. This would meet all three of its business challenges – reduced cost, increased productivity and greater sustainability.
Wise consulted closely with technology partner IGAsystems to select the right solution for the organisation. “Our objective was to help Wise obtain the maximum business value from their IT Investment,” says Ignacio Montenegro, Managing Director of IGAsystems. “The solution also needed to be aligned to their organisational purpose, future business direction and IT architecture.”
In line with the Group’s Microsoft-centric technology platform, which already included Microsoft Office®, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server® (MOSS) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0®, Wise decided to invest in Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007®.
“Because Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007® integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office InfoPath® and MOSS, it made sense for us to deploy a solution that would complement our existing product suite,” says Prendergast, “but the most convincing benefit the product offered was the total migration of our paper forms system to an electronic environment.”
The benefits of removing the paper trail
IGAsystems developed the solution and assisted with the implementation and national deployment of the Microsoft Office Forms Server®. The six-month project included design, prototyping and piloting, through to the rollout and handover to business-as-usual management by the in-house team.
Since the implementation, the new application has processed more than 1000 forms with an estimated 5000 to be processed electronically over a 12 month period - all of which would have been delivered by hand, posted or couriered from one site to another.
Prendergast believes the benefits of the new technology are outstanding. “The production of hard copy forms was a considerable expense, both environmentally and in terms of cost to the business.
“Having reduced production, postage and courier charges, as well as the time spent waiting for forms to arrive and the manual record management process, the overall cost saving and productivity gains for Wise have assisted us in meeting our sustainability goals.”
Creating all forms electronically and storing them in a centralised location eliminated the chance of forms being lost and also removed the security risk presented by having to send business-sensitive information via non-secure methods, such as the postal service.
The risk of human error has also significantly decreased because Microsoft Office InfoPath® forms have enabled Wise to create and enforce mandatory fields and automatically integrate information, such as user profiles and customer data, from other Microsoft applications.
For Wise, this upgrade has resulted in time savings, increased productivity, and improved customer service.
The next stage in the evolution of Wise’s infrastructure investment strategy is to roll out a Microsoft Unified Communications® platform by integrating Microsoft Exchange 2007® and Microsoft Office Communications Server® with a Nortel 1k Voice over Internet Protocol solution.
“We expect to see even greater improvements in productivity by introducing Microsoft Unified Communications® across the organisation. With 50 sites, we are already very dependent on voice, email and instant messaging communications tools.
“We see Unified Communications as an opportunity to fully integrate these tools and create an opportunity to better manage how and when we communicate and to be able to share information, such as electronic forms, even more efficiently,” says Prendergast.
This next phase complements the organisation’s move to new sustainable premises in Hamilton, as the amount of desktop hardware will reduce significantly, lowering power consumption and operating costs.
The immediate benefits of Wise’s technology investment demonstrate how Microsoft technology enabled the organisation to effectively streamline its business practices and achieve its goals. Wise has successfully migrated to electronic forms substantially reducing its paper trail and operating costs, enhancing security and improving productivity.
“Our technology solution is an example of how productivity, sustainability and cost savings can be achieved simultaneously,” says Prendergast. “Wise Group is well positioned to continue its role contributing to the New Zealand health sector.”
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com
For more information about Wise Management Services Limited's services, call (64) (7) 857 1200 or visit the Web site at: www.wisemgnt.co.nz
For more information about IGA Systems' services, call (64) (0) 800 662 590 is visit the Web site at: www.igasystems.co.nz
© 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Microsoft, the Windows logo, Windows Server, and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.