Technology the Key to Surviving the NDIS
18 February 2016 at 8:56 am
Disability service providers will need to invest wisely in the right technology to support themselves through the National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout or risk falling behind their competitors, according to tax and advisory firm BDO.
With fewer than five months until the NDIS full scheme rollout is set to commence, BDO’s National Not for Profit Lead, Chris Skelton, said he was concerned providers were not being proactive enough in getting their business’s technology up to the standard it needs to be.
“Organisations will need to place greater emphasis on finding the right technology to create smoother operational efficiency and streamline their processes,” Skelton said.
“The NDIS brings with it huge changes to the sector, particularly around technology, and a lot of providers are yet to start addressing those changes.
“The reality is, they’ll need to start thinking about it because there will be changes to things these organisations have never needed to think about.
“Take invoicing and reporting for example, these transitions will ultimately increase complexity for administrative staff as not only do they need to interact with the NDIS Provider Portal, they also need to account for each service separately, similar to the healthcare model.
“Having the right financial and invoicing programs – or outsourcing arrangements – that make it easier to file the necessary paperwork will ease the pressure on staff while helping the organisation operate more effectively.”
Skelton said that beyond the particular areas of technology that needed to be considered, there were a range of questions businesses needed to answer to ensure they were NDIS-ready.
“A full inventory of technology operations is necessary as providers need to master the art of attracting, and in turn retaining, clients and service users,” he said.
“For example, they’ll need to have the capacity, ability and technology to collect and analyse data to help inform their operational performance; they’ll need to make sure they are able to analyse data in order to produce strategies for the future.
“Having the right technology in place will also facilitate accurate and financially sustainable costing and pricing for services, taking into consideration the official price lists from the NDIS.”
Skelton said BDO was aware of the challenges and obstacles facing disability services providers ahead of the biggest change the industry has ever seen.
He said when assessing their technology, providers should consider whether an organisation is prepared to manage interactions with government portals, if it has a market ready Customer Relationship Management platform in place, if it could track work performed and issue invoices in a timely manner, and if it has capability to analyse data to inform future strategy.
He said BDO’s current NDIS Readiness Survey aimed to assess the market conditions and examine how prepared operators were. The results are expected to be released during March 2016.
“The results of the survey will go a long way to helping the sector capitalise on opportunities in the lead up to the NDIS rollout and develop strategies to tackle the challenges,” he said.