Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2011 Contents "The consultant's first project was to
identify what we needed. I believe that
you have to be prepared to spend the
money and do the analysis first. We were
very clear with the consultant that we
wanted the software to work around our
processes and not the other way around.
"The consultant also managed the
tender process, and was involved, with
our IT committee, in the selection of
the software. The software vendor then
did a work-flow analysis of what we
[would] actually do before implementing
the software. We also have a support
contract and there is an understanding
that the vendor will be able to address
our future needs."
Timms says that while providers may
baulk at the expense of a consultant, it is
a one-off expense and worth the effort to
ensure you get what you want.
VENDORS HAVE THEIR SAY
Founding president of the Aged Care IT
Vendors Association (ACIVA), Caroline
Lee, gives her full support to the notion
that vendors need a close working
relationship with their client base.
"It can't be just a buyer/seller
relationship, otherwise your business
won't survive. Most of the vendors who
are out there now know that you can't
function under that ethos," she says.
Lee also explains that the vendor's
role is about more than just selling
their product. Much of their time, she
says, is taken up in project managing
and assisting organisations with change
management and understanding the
structural requirements needed to
support the software.
"The biggest issue for software vendors
is the lack of understanding by providers
of the requirements of the hardware and
the networks, the expenditure and what
it means to maintain the system which
supports the software."
Lee also believes that it is the
provider who should make the decision
about which product or systems to buy,
and is not convinced that IT consultants
are a good idea.
"If you hand the responsibility
over to an IT consultant who is never
actually going to use the software, you
are not going to get what you want,"
she says. "I'm sure that other vendors
would agree that providers need to
do their homework, and be rigorous
with asking questions of the vendor
and the software. Also, make sure the
people who are going to use it get the
opportunity to have a look."
In terms of the observation that
vendors are not always transparent about
implementation costs, Lee says that
any good vendor should be transparent
and provide details about the full
cost, including training. However, she
maintains that when it comes to the
training of all staff, no vendor could ever
estimate that cost because each facility
is so different. Her advice is to always
ask the vendor about what training is
included, and to get it in writing.
As a professional association, Lee
says ACIVA is committed to actively
supporting the aged care industry in its
dealing with regulatory and government
bodies and that most individual vendors
still working in the industry make sure
their products work and their customers
are satisfied. n
IT strategic plan and an increasingly
competitive interest in the aged care
industry by vendors and suppliers.
"With the help of an external group, we
developed a five-year IT plan because we
recognised that with a widely distributed
and shrinking workforce, the need to
invest in technology was fundamental, not
only for our survival, but to support good
Cleaver says that RDNS's current
approach is to put out expressions of
interest to a small group of preferred
vendors, and then focus on those which
can add value, in terms of supporting
the organisation with training,
partnering, funding opportunities and
innovation. Also, he says that having
their CIO as a key member of their
executive team is vital to ensure that
the organisation keeps its IT strategies
on track. "The information service
part of the business becomes more
important, more complex and more
critical, day by day."
DRIVING THE PROCESS
But for those smaller organisations
restructuring or implementing a new IT
system, who don't have IT professionals
on the payroll, how do you ensure that
you get what you need, rather than risk
having your business fitted into one of a
Deidre Timms is CEO of Volunteer
Task Force, a medium-sized community
care organisation operating from
the eastern suburbs of Perth. When
approaching an impending IT upgrade,
of both software and hardware, she
decided to contract an IT consultant "to
drive the process". With a background
in IT herself, Timms was clear that she
wanted an independent IT consultant to
work between "us and the vendors."
IN MY EXPERIENCE...
Allan Turner, CIO, Silver Chain
• Don't buy something that only
replicates what you are doing
now. Invest in a platform which will
support your needs into the future.
• You need to tune a system to your
business, and tune your processes
to that system.
• IT should be represented at an
executive level so that the executive
is always aware of IT, and the IT
person understands the business.
Robert Orie, CEO, Montefiore
• If you have purchased a product
which only partly meets your
needs, my view is that should
cut your losses and move onto
something that will do the job.
By persevering you can end
up causing a huge amount of
frustration and risk disengaging
Aged Care eConnect
• Software vendors come and go
with alarming regularity. Larger
vendors purchase smaller ones
to increase their market share.
Choose a vendor that has a long
track record and good reputation.
50 | JULY -- AUGUST 2011 | AAA
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