Sandwell Community Caring Trust began to struggle with Sage 50 - it didn't provide the functionality required.
Sandwell Community Caring Trust (SCCT), a registered charity based in West Bromwich provides health and social care to a diverse range of clients in Supported Living, Day Care, Elderly Residential and Respite Care throughout the West Midlands and Torbay. SCCT, a not-for-profit organisation employs over 500 staff managed from its Head Office in West Bromwich. Until recently the Trust used Sage 50 for its financial management.
SCCT has grown in size in recent years and is focussing its resources on providing quality, needs-led services to its clients. This means having a small but effective back-office team that can work efficiently in order to cut down on administrative overheads. Richard Gathercole, IT Manager for The Trust for ten years and in charge of finding a replacement system for Sage 50 said, “We began to struggle with Sage 50 as it doesn’t work well in a multi-user environment and does not give us the functionality we now require. As we have grown, our finance team has become frustrated with the old system and we started to look for a replacement.”
SCCT was put in contact with CPIO as a possible partner to help with the transition by PWC who are the external auditors for the organisation. Richard said, “We had a clear vision of what was needed to give us more financial control and better enable the Senior Management Team to access accurate, concise data quickly. Having fast reliable information is vital to senior managers as it forms an important part of the decision making process.” Other key factors in replacing Sage 50 included its reliability, speed, functionality and support. Richard commented that he was keen to find a local, specialist partner who could both help with the transition and then provide quality on-going services to support the new platform.
After meeting with CPIO specialists, SCCT came to a quick decision that Sage 200 and CPIO were the right partners to work with to help with the smooth transition from one system to another. “Rather than simply migrating data from the previous version to the new, we decided to cleanse the data as part of the project as well as restructure nominal department codes to ensure that new layouts were optimised for the new solution”. Richard went on to say, “We had to provide a new dedicated, hardware platform for the new software to sit on, to ensure we would get the best possible results moving forwards.” Richard explained that an important part of the project was that CPIO spent time analysing the business processes to ensure that the right solution be found. “We spent some time in planning the project to ensure that we fully understood the requirements which included hardware, training needs, time and financial constraints as well as the actual software solution.”
The rollout of the project was done in a number of phases and included the rationalisations of data, staff training, software installation followed by a test data conversion. “The test data conversion was an important and invaluable part of the project as it allowed us to both check the data structures that we had designed and gave us a chance to use the new system in a test environment before going live.” Richard also explained how the tailor-made training on the general use of the system, then in Report Designer and the Business Intelligence modules played a key part in giving staff confidence and providing the tools they needed to be able to use the system. “The day of the rollout was attended by the same CPIO consultant who had hand-held us through the entire process and he was able to resolve any last minute issues.”
Richard explained that although the rollout happened a few weeks ago, it is still an on-going process as the organisation begins to see the real benefits of using Sage 200. “We still need to fully analyse the remaining reporting requirements and further develop the data extracts and formats that we need to satisfy the different business requirements however, we are already seeing the benefits of having a faster, more reliable and more functional system that will allow us to grow in the future.”
Richard is certain Sage 200 will help SCCT work smarter and it has the flexibility to change as the demands on the organisation alter. “As social care in the UK changes, Sage 200 will adapt with it. What we have today may be different in 5 years and Sage 200 will grow and change with us.”
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