There are many organisations which put their customers first; but it takes on a more critical meaning at Wesley Mission. With over 2,000 staff ,4,000 volunteers and dozens of services offered for people struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental health, and financial and domestic challenges, keeping the needs of clients front and centre is critically important – but no mean feat.
Wesley Mission is not guided by profits, but it does exist to help and support as many people as it can. As such – it is faced with the same challenges facing businesses, ensuring that the most number of people have access to its services.
Aldo Travia is the Executive Manager Information Services at Wesley Mission, and he is just one of the people tasked with ensuring that Wesley Mission is set-up to maximise access and ensure clients are receiving the right services. Aldo has been with Wesley Mission for nine years, in that time the focus has been to Digitally Transform Wesley Mission by designing and architecting the information strategic direction in collaboration with service Delivery that will enable the Wesley Mission strategic objectives. Microsoft continues to be a key partner in this transformation.
“Our focus is on how we make the biggest difference to Australians in need,” Aldo said.
In December 2016, Wesley Mission launched the No Wrong Door initiative. The program’s purpose is to ensure a person contacting Wesley Mission is supported in every way possible, irrespective of the avenue they use to reach out. It’s recognition that many of life’s problems are interconnected: someone presenting for addiction may have a raft of other issues which could either be a cause for or symptom of the initial contact.
A key consideration when developing No Wrong door was ensuring that a person who entered the Wesley Mission ecosystem was not forced to tell their story over and over – and relive their experiences – multiple times with different staff members. Doing so can be a traumatic experience for those seeking help and can often result in the person withdrawing, and not receiving the help they need.
This type of technology is not designed to minimise personal contact between staff and clients but rather, support those working at Wesley Mission to provide the best quality services they can.
Wesley Mission is using Microsoft Dynamics 365 as the technology platform – or “archway” as Aldo calls it – on which No Wrong Door is built. As each client comes through, Dynamics is engaged to understand and triage the client.
Staff communication with clients is recorded in the platform, making that information available to all relevant team members, whenever they come in to contact with that client. The record of interactions is visible and, importantly, the client’s often-traumatic story is recorded so it does not need to be repeated.
The cloud component was crucial for Aldo and his team too.
“It gives us the ability to ramp up quickly, to focus on the business and business processes, and to leverage the agility that’s going to come from future improvements as they are rolled out.”
Importantly, Dynamics 365 is crossing the multiple units within Wesley Mission. In the past, they could easily report into homelessness or mental health, it now has greater visibility on the correlation between the two and how Wesley Mission can most efficiently support.
As with any organisation, measurement is key, but it takes on additional significance at Wesley Mission. It needs to be able to quantify the difference it is making and understand how to improve on this.
Aldo said. “For example we’re looking at comparing the rise and fall of the number of people reaching out to us and contrasting this against demographical and geographical information.”
“We’re using this information to ascertain where we need to invest in services in particular areas as well as notify the relevant authorities where additional government support is required.”
For this reason, it is currently working on outcomes-based measurement. Through Dynamics 365, Wesley Mission can automate this reporting and measurement process. In turn the organisation can understand its clients better, understand those trigger points and put processes in place to mitigate.
For Wesley Mission, it’s about using data to humanise its contact with those in need.
“One common misconception around the growing use in data to streamline the customer experience is that it reduces the human element, treating customers as numbers rather than people,” Aldo said.
“But this could not be further from the truth. Our mission is to use data to make our interactions with our clients even more human, by equipping our contact staff with the tools they need to provide the ultimate care for those in need.”