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A growing business needs grown-up technology – says National Care Group

Social care provider gets technology makeover from Advanced to match expansion strategy 

A growing organisation needs grown-up technology – these are the words of David Rowe-Bewick, Group Finance Director at National Care Group, which is upgrading its problematic legacy technology to help it become one of the UK’s largest social care provider. It has signed up software and services company Advanced as its exclusive IT partner to ensure it achieves sustainable growth and supports its acquisitions planned over the next four years.

National Care Group, which launched in June 2016 to address the lack of high quality supported living care in the UK, now has 634 beds and employs 1,200 staff. In less than two years, it has achieved an annual turnover of £30 million. But it is an organisation with big ambition. Earlier this year, it acquired Access Care (operating as Merry Den Care and Chosen Care), Westward Healthcare and Care Assure Northampton with further acquisitions planned over the coming months. Through acquisitions such as these, and growing organically by buying properties and beds, National Care Group wants to have 5,000 beds and 10,000 staff by 2022.

However, the organisation recognises it can only succeed with the right technology in place to help its workforce be more productive and, critically, enable its senior management to use data that is accurate and up-to-date so they can make important business decisions using real time data. Currently, National Care Group has inherited various smaller systems, all of which operate in siloes and cause serious consolidation implications. Moving these forward to a single platform, starting with payroll, is expecting to improve the bottom line considerably by shortening response times and improving quality of data to pinpoint issues.

“The challenge with any acquisition is that you’re not just bringing people on board but technology too,” said David Rowe-Bewick, Group Finance Director at National Care Group. “The legacy technology we’ve acquired isn’t suitable for our group needs. It’s suited to small organisations but that’s not who we are and, unless we trade this technology in for something superior, we’ll put our business at risk. We are a growing organisation and need a grown-up system that will cut out timely and costly processes as well as give us a real-time view into how the business is performing. We need a user-friendly system that can be easily implemented into new acquisitions of all sizes and types across the country as quickly and painlessly as possible. We also anticipate the solution will enable us to halve certain tasks, meaning staff can focus on higher value activities.”

National Care Group has selected a suite of integrated software from Advanced including Caresys, OpenAccounts, OpenDashboards and OpenPeople as well as V1 Document Management. It will transform key processes including financial accounting and payroll as well as improve working practices for health and social care staff on the ground. The IT operations will be outsourced and run by Advanced’s established managed services offering, which will remove the challenge of National Care Group managing its own IT infrastructure.

David adds: “Working with Advanced is an obvious choice. We want to be a market leader in social care, so we need to work with a market leader in technology. Advanced’s range of products has the ability to work with and meet our needs and it’s not just a one size fits all solution. And, like National Care Group, Advanced is a large and fast growing business. We share the same passion and values, so we are in the making of a good partnership.”

Nick Wilson, Managing Director – Public Sector, Health & Care – Advanced, said: “National Care Group recognises the major role that technology plays in helping businesses grow, and it needs proven care management and back office software to support its own rapid expansion. The organisation has taken great care in ensuring that, when making an acquisition, it doesn’t turn a good business into a bad one. This is why it needs a reliable, scalable and accessible solution that can make a real difference and enable growth.”