Making the right IT decisions to drive long-term value

The new parameters around NDS funding mean organisations now have greater demands when it comes to choosing the right solutions to drive operational efficiency. But with this comes greater complexity, and this can present a challenge for organisations with little to no experience in choosing and implementing fit-for-purpose IT solutions.

Not only that, but NDS providers operate in a tightly regulated market where prices for services and support are set by the NDS, which makes choosing the right solution even more challenging.

With all this mind, organisations lacking in-house IT expertise may be tempted to stick with what they know to avoid the headache.

But relying on outdated technology can have costly consequences for any organisation, and NDS providers are no exception. In fact, in a 2016 survey, 72% of workers said outdated technology harmed productivity, while 62% of HR and line managers said better, more up-to-date technologies would help foster better employee engagement.

So, how can NDS providers go about making the right IT decisions to drive long-term value in the face of these challenges?

Make sure your IT strategy is aligned with your business strategy

When it comes to IT and digital transformation, there are certain commonalities that exist irrespective of industry or vertical. A key consideration for any organisation is that, ultimately, an IT strategy should serve to support the overall business’ strategy. Any organisation can invest in the latest technology, but if doesn’t add practical value, it isn’t fit for purpose.

When considering your approach to IT, remember that any solution you choose should be able to support your business objectives – be that providing exceptional service, promoting a productive and engaged workforce, maintaining a high level of security or any other key priority.

Understand the needs of your workforce and customers

Clarifying the requirements of all relevant stakeholders is key to getting it right when deploying a new technology. Consider the needs of both your workforce and your customers, and what’s needed to provide the best solution for their requirements.

For example, if you have customers who need to make claims through an online portal, choosing technology that provides accessibility for disabled patients will be critical. Determining the needs of all stakeholders is a crucial step in choosing IT systems that deliver practical value to the people that matter most.

Choose a technology partner that understands your unique requirements

As a NDS provider, your organisation comes with a unique set of requirements and obligations. It’s imperative to ensure your prospective technology partner understands these requirements and can design an IT solution that’s fully compliant. Above all, it’s about choosing a technology partner that can fit your requirements, as opposed to working around your technology partner’s capabilities.

Be patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Even some of the world’s largest organisations fall prey to the common pitfalls of digital transformation: juggling too many priorities, lack of clarity in strategy, trying to do too much at once – the list goes on.

Remember that making the “right” IT decisions is a process, and will often require adjustments along the way.

A trusted IT partner can help you find the right solutions to support your organisation now, and in the future.

At Combo, we are proud to partner with HP and Intel® to help you find the right technology mix and support your business objective. Get in touch with the team at Combo to find out how we can help today.

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Utilising technology to empower the modern worker

Australia’s workforce is rapidly changing. Driven by evolving work practices and disruptive technologies, employees and organisations alike are grappling with adapting to a professional landscape that’s constantly evolving.

Today, workers are more mobile, flexible and autonomous than ever before. Millennials, a demographic that will account for 50% of workers by 2020, represent this shift more than any other group.

Influenced by new technologies and unprecedented standards of education, but bearing the burden of global economic uncertainty, Millennials are more demanding in what they expect of work than their predecessors.

A 2017 report on the Millennial workforce found that workers who fall into this group expect flexibility and know that technology can enable a healthy work-life balance. In the coming years, the workforce will be comprised of people for whom technology is not simply a utility, but a way of life.

From a business perspective, competitive advantage in terms of both output and recruitment will rely on availability and access to the latest technology.

For many organisations, the challenge here lies in utilising technology that can fulfil the needs of a new wave of workers, while continuing to support an older generation of experienced employees who favour simplicity and ease of use over complex functionality.

The right technology in the modern workplace must be able to foster collaboration, drive productivity and enable agile work practices, all within an accessible and user-friendly interface. Let’s take a look at each of these components in more detail.

Agile work practices

The concept of the traditional office has been replaced by fluid work environments where collaborative open spaces, non-routine schedules and a “work from anywhere” philosophy are the norm.

To drive a truly agile, modern workplace, devices need to foster always-on, anytime and anywhere access. Utilising mobile technologies and cloud-based apps will give forward-thinking organisations an edge when recruiting and retaining top talent for whom flexibility is non-negotiable.

Enhanced collaboration

The adoption of remote work has far-reaching implications for collaboration by breaking down hierarchies and enabling people to work together from anywhere in the world. Organisations must capitalise on these possibilities by providing the collaborative environment people need to work together on-the-fly, such as in huddle rooms equipped with interactive solutions.

From a technology perspective, a combination of secure hybrid cloud solutions and collaboration tools will enable teams to easily interact across departments, around the world, and to respond to customer needs in real time.

Greater productivity

In a 2016 Australian survey, 72% of workers said outdated technology harms productivity – a trend that will only be amplified as we become more reliant on technology to do our jobs. The argument for productivity-boosting technology isn’t simply a response to a demanding new workforce – it also makes good business sense.

The right technology in the modern workplace must enable easy multitasking as standard. To stay productive at all times, workers will need 24/7 access to enterprise data from a wide range of personal mobile devices. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies will also be the rule rather than the exception in the modern workplace, with more employees using laptops, tablets and smartphones that they’re familiar with.

Ease of use

Underpinning all these capabilities is a principle that’s been critical since the dawn of technology: user experience. Organisations must recognise the importance of both function and ergonomics to ensure every generation of worker can comfortably navigate a new technology and reap the greatest benefits of use. Ultimately, if the user experience is better, the user will make better use of it.

At Combo, we are proud to partner with HP and Intel® to help you find the right technology mix to support your organisation today and in the future. Get in touch to discuss your needs today.

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

5 Key Strategies to Secure Your Database

Working within the disability sector, NDS providers store a plethora of personal donor, patient and volunteer data. These records contain sensitive information and must be stored securely to ensure the on-going privacy of individuals.

In 2018, Family Planning NSW became a victim of a cyber-attack which resulted in the personal information of up to 8000 clients being compromised[1]. Their website was hacked using ransomware, and attackers had access to names, contact details and dates of birth.

As the digital threat landscape prominence continues to grow, NDS providers need to protect their databases in the face of a breach. Preparation is essential, that’s why developing a solid security strategy can help combat cyber-attacks.

At Combo, we developed 5 key strategies NDS providers can leverage to ensure their databases are secure and client information is kept protected.

Planning
When your organisation looks at security measures, it shouldn’t be a matter of ‘if’ you’ll fall victim to a breach, but rather ‘when’. Being able to respond promptly to a cyber-attack can greatly help to reduce the potential impact it can have on your organisation.

Deploying network defences and enterprise-grade protection across your IT environment can help to combat potential threats of hacking. Alongside these steps, a communication plan that outlines staff responsibilities in the event of a data breach can ensure fast responsiveness and keep your organisation on top of the threat.  

People

Training end-users and staff about data breaches is imperative to the protection of your client’s data. Having security awareness enables your employees to identify potential scams, reducing the risk of breaches before they occur.

Educate your staff about using different passwords across accounts and implement password management programs. Show employees how to identify a phishing email, suspicious links and ransomware that could be disguised as downloadable content.

Systems

Your internal IT systems must be secure to protect your organisation’s database. Integrating reliable hardware and software is key to combatting cyber-attacks across devices and infrastructure, from implementing firewalls and company-wide anti-virus and mail filtering solutions, through to the right end user device selection.

HP’s Sure Suite can protect your hardware from every angle with features that identify suspicious activity and real-time threats. Leverage multi-factor authentication to make it harder to access programs and databases, and software that isolates threats before they can spread to other areas of your device[2].  

Processes

Staff must be aware of their responsibilities and protocols in the event of a breach. It can be catastrophic for your reputation if your client’s personal data falls into the wrong hands.

Running a data breach simulation is a great way to help
employees understand how they need to respond in the face of an attack.
Allocating different roles to staff members can create greater awareness of
protocol and allow you to combat the cyber threat at a faster pace.

Compliance

Any information about a client held by the NDIS is classified as ‘protected information’ under the NDIS act[3]. Meeting all regulatory, customer and data privacy standards is a key responsibility of staff to ensure the on-going protection of data. 

Employees must use devices and infrastructure appropriately, ensuring that when a client requests personal information the right steps are taken to access it securely.

When it comes to data, there’s no such thing as too much security. Keeping your client’s information protected with effective solutions is paramount.  Navigating what software or infrastructure you need can be challenging, but at Combo we can help you across each aspect of your security landscape.

With over 17 years of experience working in the disability sector, Combo in partnership with HP and Intel® can help you build a security strategy for the digital era. For more information about our services, get in touch with one of our friendly team today.


[1] K Aubusson, Cyber-attack on Family Planning NSW client database, May 14 2018, SMH, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cyber-attack-on-family-planning-nsw-client-database-20180514-p4zf5c.html.

[2] HP Business Security ‘Sure Sense’, HP 2019, https://www8.hp.com/us/en/solutions/computer-security.html#modal=expanded-content-4

[3] Privacy, NDIS, 26 August 2019, https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/policies/privacy.

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.