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HammondCare takes procurement to the cloud

The Australian health and aged care provider migrated its procurement and invoicing systems to the cloud in just six months to improve efficiency and security

Moving mission-critical systems to the cloud can have a huge impact on an organisation’s business operations if it is not done right.

That was why HammondCare, a non-profit organisation that provides health, palliative care, dementia and aged care services in Australia, made sure it addressed potential pain points from the onset when it recently migrated its business-wide procurement and invoicing systems to the cloud.

Aaron Passfield, HammondCare’s head of procurement, said the move to Coupa, a cloud-based procurement application, was completed in just six months with the help of Valta Technology Group (Valtatech), a consulting firm that specialises in transforming financial processes.

Passfield said Valtatech helped his team better understand what they had today and what they were moving into, along with the configuration requirements and integration points that had to be built.

“It was important for us, especially during a pandemic, that we limited the disruption or downtime of our invoicing and payment systems,” it said.

It also helped that HammondCare has an in-house software integration team that knows its IT environment inside out, making it easier to build integrations with Coupa.

“We already had integration points from the legacy system, so it was mainly moving them over to the Coupa system,” said Passfield. “There were some challenges, as with most integrations, but those were easily worked out.”

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While procurement processes remained largely the same, the way HammondCare dealt with suppliers had changed through a new supplier portal that came with the software, which Passfield said was “more secure and compliant”. Scanning invoices also became more efficient and accurate, thanks to the use of a scanning solution from Valtatech.

“Overall, the biggest achievement was capturing all our spend in the business. Before, we didn’t have complete visibility into other systems like expense management. Having one core system that can handle multiple streams of expenses was probably the biggest achievement.”

Passfield said employees took to the new system quickly as it offered a user-friendly interface that delivered an Amazon-like experience. Passfield said the only “challenge” was the use of tutorial videos amid the pandemic situation rather than in-person training roadshows that had been planned.

The videos were used for the initial roll-out, and for onboarding new staff in future, alleviating the need for face-to-face training, said Passfield. “It saved us a lot of time and now it’s part of our e-learning programme.”

Early days

With the new Coupa system in place for just six months, he said it was still early days before HammondCare could quantify its return-on-investments. It is hoping to do that in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, HammondCare is already seeing some efficiency gains, particularly in supplier management as the procurement team no longer processes tender responses manually. “Now, they have the ability to digitally have all the responses come in through the system,” said Passfield.

Procurement was one of the key areas that HammondCare looked into as part of a broader cloud adoption strategy to reduce infrastructure management and enhance cyber security amid the growing number of cyber threats.

“It was quite a big focus recently with the security breaches we’ve seen around the world,” said Passfield. “Procurement was of the first off the rack, because the need for that sort of legacy system was expiring.”

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