Accelerating the Starlight Children's Foundation's digital transformation and journey to the cloud with Financials for Office 365, powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Established in 1988, Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia (“Starlight”) aims to brighten the lives of hospitalised and seriously ill children and their families regardless of illness, injury or age. Starlight helps 150,000 children each year through their programs both in and outside of hospitals.
In every paediatric hospital in Australia there’s a Starlight Express Room; a place where Starlight children and their families can go, away from doctors and nurses and the often daunting world of clinical care, to benefit from something called ‘distraction therapy’.
An organisation esteemed and admired for the difference made to so many children and their families across Australia, the Starlight Children's Foundation is today a household name.
Over the past few years the Starlight Children's Foundation has focused its IT Strategy on moving to the cloud. Lewis Horwitz, Starlight's IT Manager says, “The move to Office 365, SharePoint Online and Active Directory started in 2014. Technically what we've done to enable a mobile workforce across Starlight has been ground-breaking.”
“People can work anywhere as long as they've got a connection. It's fully protected and secure too.” But it wasn’t always this easy.
“We were using Citrix to access our systems remotely and it was a living nightmare for every person in Starlight and especially those who were extremely mobile. By moving to Microsoft services it has just taken that burden away. Our staff are just automatically connected.” Lewis continues, “It also removes all restrictions Starlight once had around access with arguably better security than we had before, and more control. It also allows us to be much more flexible.”
Lewis describes that the journey to cloud also extended to financial management, with Financials for Office 365, powered by Microsoft Dynamics. “We looked for solutions around Salesforce but Microsoft came out trumps. It was much easier to transition to than any other solution and enabled greater integration with other systems we were already using, like Office 365.”
“Important to us was making sure that the solution was going to be reliable and available. Once we'd gone to Office 365 it became clear that it was going to be a more seamless and easy integration experience.”
“At the moment we work pretty seamlessly from an integration perspective.”
In their digital transformation journey, Starlight worked with Microsoft partner KPMG which handled the roll-out of Financials for Office 365, powered by Microsoft Dynamics. KPMG implemented and deployed the cloud solution within weeks and at a low and affordable cost.
Lewis describes the Microsoft partners as “outstanding, especially in how much they taught us while they were rolling the technology out.”
Sally Donnelly, Finance Manager, who was involved in the project and is a regular user of Financials for Office 365, says, “We saved money in the first year setting up Financials. We got more functionality, better reporting, and when it gets upgraded we don’t even know it has happened. It just works. Before, upgrading our (on-premise) system took $10,000-$15,000 to do, which is why we never upgraded for so long.”
“Financials is simply to scale. When we need more users, we simply subscribe to more on a per-user-per-month basis.”
Lewis adds, “Our move to cloud services has obviously given us much better capabilities to engage with the people we deal with. I'm delighted with the result so far. We’ve been able to stay current and remain true to our mission which of course, comes down to the kids. Always, the kids.”