Workplace health is a critically important issue; statistics1 from 2016/17 reveal more than 106,000 worker compensation claims are made annually in Australia as a result of physical and mental health problems. In addition, data shows almost 1 in 2 Australians are living with a chronic disease often preventable through improvements in lifestyle factors.
Altius Group is a workplace health specialist that works with individuals, with employers and with insurance firms to support workers and optimise their physical, mental and social health.
Established in 2001 the business has grown rapidly and today employs 350 people in 30 locations across Australia.
Altius Group boasts a highly skilled multidisciplinary team comprising occupational therapists, clinical and organisationally trained psychologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and workplace rehabilitation counsellors.
The services these people provide are important, the patient and personal data they collect is precious.
For Shuva Das, CIO and group head of technology, the priority is to ensure Altius Group specialists have access to streamlined yet flexible systems that allow them to be efficient and effective with no compromise on data security.
By adopting a three–clouds approach, and leveraging Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and now Dynamics 365 (which is slated to go live at the end of 2019), Das has crafted an integrated information ecosystem that delivers against that intent. The cloud foundations also deliver the geographic reach and scalability that Altius needs as well as much improved disaster recovery assurance.
Das stresses the long and important relationship Altius Group has with Microsoft stretching beyond the supply of technology, into helping identify the right partners and strategies for the business.
He adds that being able to rely on Microsoft to administer the cloud platforms frees him to work more closely with the business, rather than manage the day–to–day operational issues such as platform maintenance and back-ups.
“By moving our environment into Azure, scalability of computing is now a click of a button and some of our servers are set to autoscale so adjustments are automated as more computing power is required and as our business grows. It was never possible with on-premises hardware. Also, now we have fully functional duplicate of our live infrastructure in another location in Australia for disaster recovery,” says Das.
Office 365 and Teams provide the backbone productivity solution Altius Group needs – and Teams is now also being used to support client counselling. The integration with Dynamics 365 CRM will ensure the client insights needed are always at hand.
“Previously a lot of this customer information was in silos, sitting in different systems. So we never actually had a full visual of all our customers. We needed a central CRM that actually integrates systems,” says Das.
The entire organisation also uses Microsoft Surface devices which, with the cloud services, deliver the flexibility and mobility that’s essential for health specialists who are dealing with widely dispersed workers and workplaces. Surface devices allow consultants to gather client details, collect signatures when necessary, and then securely sync to the cloud.
The inbuilt security features of Windows 10 and Azure services meanwhile support Altius Group in terms of its compliance with the strict health provider data privacy requirements.
This digital transformation is critical for Altius Group to deliver against one of its key goals – to be able to provide convenient care anywhere, anytime to meet the needs of all our customers and team members, with secure access to client information.
Das hopes that the next phase of Altius Groups’ transformation will see it use Azure machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. “We strive to deliver highly personalised and intelligent services by providing employees with the tools to optimise care delivery, diagnostics and treatment decisions.”
Das has also been able to transform internal reporting for Altius Group using Power BI and SharePoint. Analysis and reports which once took days to create can now be generated at the click of a button.
And, instead of reports being generated manually out of Excel with emails regularly flying between report authors, which could lead to errors creeping in, Power BI now automates report generation.
“One of the reports used to take five to seven days for our CFO to read. Now he can actually do it in five minutes. That’s a big saving,” says Das. The integration between Power BI and SharePoint also ensures that as documents and tables are updated, so are the reports.
Altius Group has also significantly reined in its travel budget as Teams is now being used increasingly for personnel to collaborate and communicate online, instead of people having to travel for monthly meetings. Das says that there have also been significant operational process efficiencies from the more streamlined solution.
“We have multidisciplinary team of specialised occupational therapists, clinical and organisationally trained registered psychologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and workplace rehabilitation counsellors in different geographical locations and a large portion of our clients are in regional locations.”
“In some geographies or situations, it is impossible for a client to get direct assistance when needed. With the power of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft365 we are able to work collaboratively to develop and deliver tailored, timely, holistic solutions for our customers,” he adds.
While this year’s focus is on the deployment of Dynamics 365 CRM, Das says that beyond that Altius Group is keen to explore how it might be possible to engage clients more directly via the platform, mindful always of the need to protect client’s data and privacy.