Can you fly a plane and build it at the same time?
As an observer, one of the most disruptive changes to the different industries I’ve worked with since 2000 is happening in the Disability Services sector. It’s the introduction and roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
I make this observation as a person that offers technology solutions to providers in the disability services sector. I provide no opinion or expertise on the intention of the Scheme itself and benefits to participants.
As we know, one fundamental change the NDIS brings to providers is funding; the way providers gain their revenue to provide services. From what I see and hear, the disruption is massive. It’s not just changed in process, transactions, compliance, reporting etc. It’s such a shift in mindset too – for everyone, from senior management to carers.
Whilst bottom line has always been important (after all whilst it’s not for profit, it’s also not for loss) to remain viable, there is now a need to think (and operate) differently. Think competitive. Think sales and marketing, Think ‘lean’ with a more acute focus on expense and revenue to client level. For many, it’s a fundamental philosophical shift, not just a business model and practice shift.
I can imagine this substantial shift impacts at all levels for different reasons: from Board and Executive level through to front line, workers and other service delivery roles.
I recently attended an NDS NDIS Essential Briefing. I went along to get further business insight and gain an understanding of disability services and the NDIS. To sum it up mildly, there are challenges for all stakeholders, with so many amazing organisations that exist to help our community, trying to adjust to this new model. I heard one comment that they feel like they are trying to build a plane and having to fly it at the same time. If we think about that analogy, it’s monumentally difficult if not impossible. People are trying to deliver on the mission of that organisation with quality care; to think and execute in new ways, and with an overarching question mark over whether the pricing is adequate enough to cover the cost of quality services. Not to mention adequate to support market growth!
It’s made me think, in this unsettled time, what would make a difference to these organisations now? The many pain points raised at the briefing can’t be solved by me, and most aren’t controllable by the providers right now. What would help them find their way and (hopefully) prosper?
Another comment I heard was ‘we’ (the industry operating under the NDIS) can no longer take our eyes off the data. Data about participants. Data about providers. Commercial data. Social impact data.
This is exactly how I think a difference can be made. Help providers keep an eye on their data and bring relevant client data to one place to create information to support decisions – both of commercial performance (profit and loss in nature), but also at a human level, with client service and outcomes.
Determining not just costs, but tracking hours from packages not yet provided to a participant, outcomes and planning/modelling around what tomorrow, next month and next quarter will or could look like.
This is the area I’m most passionate about. Helping NDIS providers get the insight required to operate. Bringing the right data into one place. Keeping the eyes on the data. Going some small way to control when flying that plane.
Are you currently involved in the NDIS as a Provider? I would welcome discussion on your observations.