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What does "good" look like for Service Providers?

For millennia, and to the present day, the North Star has been critical for navigation. Astronomer Henry Neeley said in the 1950s, “In spite of all the scientific aids that have been developed to do the navigating by robot science, the ancient stars will still be a 'must' for navigator or pilot”. Despite having GPS, this still holds true today.

“We just need a new CRM!”

If you have found yourself thinking like this … you are not alone! In fact, when first speaking with our clients who know they need to transform their organisations, we very commonly hear statements like, “We just need a new CRM” or “We need a new Case Management System!”.

Time and time again we see precious energy, resources and significant dollars (often hundreds of thousands, if not millions) poured into implementing and customising a new system in the hope of fixing the pain … yet more than half the time the outcome of the investment is extreme frustration for the executive, board and employees, an ‘empty wallet’ and a feeling of being ‘lost’. Falling into tech-tunnel-vision and forgetting your North Star can be deadly.

There simply is no technology silver bullet.

As we shared in our Cliffs of Complexity blog, there are typically 26 or more core business capabilities areas requiring enabling systems for service providers to operate effectively and efficiently. In most cases these systems are not integrated. That is, they don’t “talk” to or “play nicely” with each other.

Common consequences include staff spending significant time re-entering data instead of adding value and serving customers. Or, even worse, customers are asked to re-enter data! Lack of integration also often leads to a plethora of spread-sheet-based ‘silo-view’ reports. Not an easy way to manage the business. (If this is your world... follow us for our next post in this series that will give you some hope on that front!).

All this leads to high administrative overheads being a common driver of fragile financial sustainability across the sector. This certainly is not what ‘good’ looks like!

So, if we bravely face-up to the fact that placing our hopes for transformation in a ‘tool’ will only lead to tears and a much smaller bank balance….

What does good look actually like?

In our experience it’s organisations that embrace a holistic approach and strategically align the key elements of people and process and data and tech all towards their North Star that know and show what good looks like.

A clear and well understood vision and strategy sets the organisation up to succeed.

Key questions to begin with include:

- What are we trying to achieve as an organisation?

- How can we make life better for clients?

The essential elements of people, process, data and tech form the basis of a high-level view - your enterprise architecture. This, together with key principles, guides planning and decision-making.

Your existing enterprise architecture may look nothing like your designed destination. That’s okay. No single project will get you there and many steps will be needed. What matters is that each step is taken with reference to your North Star, and that you intentionally ask and answer: Why it is needed? Who will use it? How does it all fit together?

Yes, sometimes we may need to implement short-term tactical measures – just as a sailor tacks according to the breeze. However, this should be done with eyes wide open. Be ever mindful of where your North Star is and ensure that people, process, data and tech are all strategically aligned accordingly.

In our next few posts in this Tranformation Capability series, we will take a deeper look at the data, process and people elements to transformation ... But, to round out our discussion regarding “tech” for now, we offer you some principles to consider.

Key principles for transformative technology decisions:

Open Architecture -

Ability to connect systems together, future-proof for productivity enhancements.

Data as an Asset -

Data is defined, owned, centrally available, entered once but used many times

Cloud First -

Preference for cloud-based technology provides high scalability, reduced cost, increased agility, and access to a dynamic and growing resource base.

Mobile Ready -

An increasingly mobile workforce and client-base needs immediate access to information and to make life easier wherever they are.

Human-centred design -

Bring a mindset of understanding the client’s journey through your organisation as guiding your requirements

What are your current challenges are in applying these principles?

Drop us a comment below or reach out directly if you’d like to discuss things further.

Earlier articles in this series:

Follow Blue Bike for more great articles, and if you are coming to the NDS CEO Conference in November, please drop by our booth near the coffee cart to chat!


Blue Bike exists to help organisations that provide a positive impact for our community do their good better.  We partner extensively with service providers from the disability, mental-health, aged-care, international development and broader social services sectors. As the community sector consulting specialists we understand the importance of taking a holistic and pragmatic approach to transformation. With proven capabilities spanning strategy & operations, people & process, systems & technology, and data & insights you can rest assured we know how to meet you where you are and help you move to where you need to be.  

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