Connecting Home chooses EBS to deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to prepare for rapid growth
After Victorian-based Connecting Home recognised during 2021 that its old bookkeeping system could not handle projected growth, the not-for-profit organisation identified Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central deployed by Melbourne-based business management software specialist Evolution Business Systems (EBS) as the ideal solution. Since going live with Business Central early in 2022, Connecting Home has experienced benefits including quicker processing times, faster and more accurate reports and the system’s ability to grow with the organisation.
The challenge: Connecting Home needed a new accounting system to manage growth
Connecting Home is a Victoria-wide organisation committed to providing a broad range of services to survivors of the Stolen Generations and their descendants. Connecting Home was established in 2010 in direct response to reports such as the Bringing Them Home report and Closing the Gap, understanding that past child removal policies still affect Aboriginal families and communities.
Initially funded through a grant from the Victorian Government’s Department of Premier & Cabinet, Connecting Home has evolved during the past 12 years to the stage where it is now diversifying the services it delivers for its clients to include disability services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and possibly aged care services in future.
Connecting Home Limited Operations Manager Lakshmi Narayanan said the intention to meet a broader range of needs for its clients had required Connecting Home to overhaul its business management systems. “The Stolen Generations describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples who were removed from their families by Australian federal or state governments and church missions, a practice which did not stop until the mid-1970s,” he explained.
“We work with individuals and in the area of intergenerational trauma, so, as quite a few of our clients have some level of disability, we are providing disability services funded by the NDIS.”
Although Connecting Home had used a small business bookkeeping package to manage its $2 million budget, the organisation recognised last year that the system was incapable of meeting its needs as its services diversified and its budget became more complex.
Mr Narayanan said Connecting Home had sought a new system that could cope with its projected growth during the next three to five years “without too much of a drama”. “We looked at three things,” he said.
“First was the ease of implementation. Our team is very small, so implementation had to be quick and simple. The second was ongoing cost, which had to be in our range as we grew. Thirdly, its features needed to match our purpose in terms of where we are heading.
“That’s when we looked at getting into Business Central and EBS came into the picture.”
The EBS implementation team was very switched-on, supportive and customer-centric. To their credit, their aim was to help us get what we needed from the system rather than just showing us what it could do.
Connecting Home Ltd
The journey: Connecting Home partnered with EBS to implement Business Central
Connecting Home identified Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central deployed by Melbourne-based business solutions specialist EBS as the system best suited for its growth. EBS is a Microsoft Gold Partner with an advanced specialisation in small and midsize business management, servicing many not-for-profit organisations among its clients.
After evaluating and choosing the system in the second half of 2021, Connecting Home worked closely with EBS to implement Business Central during December 2021 and January 2022.
Mr Narayanan described the EBS migration from the old system to Business Central as “quite seamless”. “We largely handled the data migration from our side, so we prepared and reconciled the data, then passed it to EBS, which verified it and then posted it into the system,” he said.
“The EBS implementation team was very switched-on, supportive and customer-centric. To their credit, their aim was to help us get what we needed from the system rather than just showing us what it could do. So, the best part is that they always listened to what we wanted to do.
“I would say the implementation experience and the transition was brilliant, largely because of the way the EBS team operated. At the very base level, the transition was seamless for an environment that is not very tech-savvy, so it doesn’t require too much training. Business Central keeps it simple.
“In terms of their support to get us where we are today, EBS has been absolutely brilliant. I have been part of much larger implementations at previous companies, but the EBS implementation was an absolute standout: I can’t say enough about that, to be honest.”
Mr Narayanan said he was also looking forward to participating in regular EBS Business Central User Group meetings, at which EBS clients share their experiences and insights from using the system. “I would like to meet people there and understand how they are using Business Central,” he said.
The outcome: Business Central saves time, simplifies reporting and is ready for growth
Mr Narayanan said Business Central had solved several problems that Connecting Home had experienced with its previous software. “Business Central is a feature-rich system with true enterprise functionality,” he said.
“Our old bookkeeping package was only able to meet the needs of a one-dimensional business. It could not even deliver basic program-level reporting, so it required a lot of manual reconciliation and processing to get the information we needed to report on our funding. Those limitations would have made program-wise reporting difficult. Also, we could only access the old system from the office.
“Disability support services through NDIS and aged care are two streams of services where we can widen our client base by delivering a culturally sensitive service. Business Central offers us a system that can scale up as we grow with those services.
“With Business Central and Jet Reports, we can report things at the flick of a button, which requires almost zero Excel use from a reporting point of view.”
Mr Narayanan described Business Central as easy to use. “I found this system very intuitive, so it was easy for our people to get in and start using it and get things going,” he said.
Another major benefit of Business Central for Connecting Home was its easy integration with other Microsoft systems including Office 365 and Teams Telephony.
Mr Narayanan said the automated reporting of Business Central had saved him at least one day in preparation for each six-weekly board meeting. “I am sure we are also saving a couple of days each month in processing time,” he said.
“We expect to save even more time as we learn more about how we use the system.”