THE AUSTRALIAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION’S (NSW) SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH HOTLINE IT.
The Australian Dental Association (NSW Branch) and Hotline IT (formally Hotline Support) have had a successful business relationship since 1998.
During this time, we have created many new Technology based solutions, that has enabled the ADA NSW to become the leader in membership services delivery.
Hotline IT has provided an end to end solution for ADA NSW from managing their network to providing their internet. As well as the day to day management we have worked with them on many projects. We have mentioned only a few of these projects to demonstrate how a great business partnership can yield successful results for all involved.
We were first engaged by ADA NSW, when Neil Drury, the NSW Rugby (Waratahs) CFO took up a position as CFO for ADA NSW. Hotline IT was the IT provider for NSW Rugby and had worked very closely with Neil Drury for several years previously.
Naturally, Neil was accustomed to having reliable and efficient IT systems, after his experiences at the Waratahs. The ADA NSW did not have reliable or efficient IT systems in place when Neil took on his new position.
One of the first actions he took was to engage Hotline IT to evaluate and make recommendations on bringing the IT infrastructure up to date and ensure its reliability. This was the start of a very long-term and continuing business relationship.
After the existing ADA NSW IT systems were brought up to scratch and being managed by Hotline IT, we started working with the senior management team to utilise technology to make the association more modern and efficient.
The ADA NSW, like all associations, depended on membership subscriptions to provide their main source of income. The management at ADA NSW saw further than just membership subscription income, they saw an opportunity for Professional Development services to further engage their members, add value for their members and create further income streams for their bottom line.
To Ensure the membership data was accurate and up to date, it was decided that a computerised solution was the best way forward. iMiS was engaged to provide this task and Hotline IT worked closely with the iMiS team to ensure that the ADA NSW infrastructure would provide the necessary requirements to run this application.
The ADA NSW Library was another project that we were tasked with updating. They were working on the old card based reference system, that was inefficient for staff to keep updated, due to all the subscription publications that needed to be cataloged every week. To ensure the right application was selected, the Librarians were tasked with finding software options that would allow them to computerise the large range of books, magazines, and publications that were available to the members to access.
After an extensive search, several options were presented. A final application was selected, based on the compatibility with the existing infrastructure and the features that were required. This project brought the ADA NSW library into the 21st century. Members were able to see the list of available publications and request them all online. This was cutting edge in the early 2000’s for any library to offer this modern way of accessing technology. This also allowed the Library to outsource its services to other associations.
The ADA NSW and Hotline IT often brainstorm problems and ideas to discover pain points or areas that could leverage technology to make the association more efficient. During one of these sessions, it was revealed that the ADA NSW Board would have monthly meetings, that required 2 staff members to work for 2 weeks to prepare the board papers. These papers were then printed and bound by a publisher and delivered a week before the meetings. The lead time for the printing of these board papers was 2 weeks, so any changes would need to be printed out by staff and inserted in the correct areas of the board’s minutes. This was a very complex and difficult task that needed to be done every month.
Hotline IT took on this project, by first speaking to the staff about what information was required, how it needed to be delivered to the publisher and then what information changed at the last minute that required the addendums to be inserted. It became apparent to Hotline IT, that the task was actually quite simple, but was complicated by the printers lead time requirements and the last minute changes that needed to be collated and inserted into the correct locations. We took this project on using the Keep It Simple approach.
After investigations, we recommended the purchase of 12 Notebook Computers and Adobe PDF Creator. The solution immediately computerised the Board meetings and allowed the first multimedia enriched board meetings. The process of creating the board papers was made significantly easier, as information could be consistently updated, right up to the day of the meetings. Initially, board papers were sent to the Board Members by way of a CDROM, as the Internet was still in its infancy and many of the board did not have emails or internet. Later this was changed to email and USB drives. The overall cost of this project paid for itself in under 6 months and delivered a solution that continued to run for 10 years, including all of the notebook computers. After 10 years, we undertook a refresh of this process to replace the PDF delivery method with a Microsoft SharePoint solution and replaced the Notebook PC’s with Apple iPads, with Cellular Internet connection, which is still in use today, after 5 years.
The ADA NSW has always had an innovative and forward-thinking management team. They continue to push the boundaries of technology to deliver new and exciting services to their members. Being one of the first associations to have an online portal for their members to access the resources, renew their membership or register for CPD training or functions, really demonstrated what could be achieved by the right application of technology to a member based services organisation. During the 18+ years business relationship, it has yielded many successful results for the ADA NSW. Hotline IT looks forward to this ongoing business relationship continuing to deliver IT services to the ADA NSW and its members.