Capturing NDIS Data through DI

Capturing NDIS Data through DI

Smart Farm: What you need to know

The NDIS brought in many changes for community health groups to overcome, but change can only lead to innovation.

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is causing significant and fundamental changes to the way services are provided for people with a disability. Disrupting the way things had always been done created exciting opportunities for innovation and change. Now, using technology to capture data has become a necessity and opens up a world of information – at our fingertips – to allow us to make confident, data-driven decisions.

The challenge

Prior to the NDIS, service providers operated under so-called “block funding” or grants – they knew exactly how much funding was granted to them to deliver specific services to a limited number of people over a defined period of time, and simply acquitted expenditure back to the government. Now, the NDIS empowers the individual needing assistance to make choices and control who they spend their money with. Participants may use a number of different providers or purchase various services from the same businesses. This means there are huge amounts of data to be tracked in order to manage each case and make the best decisions for clients as well as for businesses.

Using Decision Intelligence to capture data

Decision Intelligence (DI) technologies simplify the data reporting process. The tools of DI provide an end to gathering information from multiple files – all data is collated on a single screen dashboard, simplifying systems across the board. Harnessing this data efficiently allows for swift decision-making based on current real-time information, benefiting both the service provider and the individual client.

Judi Higgin is CEO of Breakthru, NDIS experienced and former Toustone employee and has seen first-hand how technology and data together can simplify processes, help predict future directions, and drive businesses forward. “Having quality information at our fingertips speeds up the decision-making process,” she says. “It gives us a deeper understanding of our customer’s requirements.”

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Embracing the future

Judi says that we are in a time of awakening as emerging technology and data changes the way we think about business. The Covid-19 crisis has shown us that we haven’t been fully using available technologies. Being separated under lockdown has forced us to use technology that has been around for years – i.e. Zoom and Skype – in ways we hadn’t previously because we hadn’t been pushed to change our ways. Now, we’ve been pushed into a new age where making full use of available technology and data will be the norm.

DI reporting empowers us to make informed decisions without wasting time gathering data. It allows us to take a look at the way we do things from a greater perspective. It opens the door to improve operations, provide a better experience for customers, and look ahead to the future with confidence.

“The Way We Do Things Around Here”

“The Way We Do Things Around Here”

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Are we making decisions based on facts or habits? Using data to make better decisions drives better outcomes.

We’ve heard it before – the same old thinking gets the same old results. But sometimes our business practices become so subtly ingrained that we forget to step back and ask ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing. Is it because it’s the best way, or because it’s the way we’ve always done it? Are we making decisions based on facts or habits? It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activity, relying on the tried-and-true approaches. After all, if it’s not broken don’t fix it – but how do you know it isn’t broken?

Taking a step back and looking at how we operate is especially apt in these times. The Covid-19 crisis dealt a serious blow to the way we do things. How can we take this opportunity to step back and see things from a new perspective?

Start with the facts

An objective look at factual data allows us to make better decisions. Too often we rely on our gut feelings without acknowledging all of the data available. It might be that the data is in different locations and collating it is a labor-intensive job. Add to that the hassle of generating meaningful reports and it’s easy to see how important information could be overlooked. We simply don’t know that there could be a better way.

At Toustone, we are passionate about data. As a team, we have decades of experience seeing what an impact intelligent use of data can make and we want to help other businesses to harness their data to innovate and grow. The information you need is there – we make it accessible, understandable, and effortless. No need to shuffle through multiple reports or clunky Excel spreadsheets. Stop wasting time generating reports that could be automated. From financial reports to rostering and payroll, real-time reporting on a single dashboard is a reality.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Decision Intelligence offers objective insights

Our job is to make it easy for you to make better data-driven decisions. Imagine all of the data from every aspect of your business gathered into easy-to-read charts and reports, automatically updated for you every day. With a glance, you can recognise trends, spot inconsistencies, and compare data in ways you perhaps hadn’t considered before.

We challenge industry norms to see beyond ‘the way things are done’ to a forward-thinking approach staying a step (or two) ahead of the pack. Get in touch with us today to see what a difference your data can make with a Decision Intelligence solution.


Forget the tool, focus on the data

Forget the tool, focus on the data

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Overwhelmed by how many Business Intelligence tools there are? Toustone CEO Craig Lefoe, explains how what you choose is not as important as how you get there.

Many business owners and professionals get to the point where they know they need to become sophisticated with how they collect, manage, analyse and apply their data. So, how do they typically go about solving this issue? Research software to do the job.
There are so many business intelligence (BI) tools on the market – Qlik, Power BI, Yellowfin BI, Tableau – but at the end of the day any BI tool you choose is essentially only the presentation layer of the most important steps in the business intelligence process. And, if you skip these steps it could cost you more time and money than simply keeping the status quo.

So how do you get it right from the start?

Toustone CEO, Craig Lefoe, says the first step to determining the success of a project is getting your data structure right. This includes examining your ETL (extraction, transformation, and loading), modelling and warehousing first.

1. Planning and needs analysis

Consult with stakeholders and ask the right questions to define the specific problems that need to be solved. Each tool will offer different features which could change the time to delivery.

2. Warehousing

Consider if your BI tool will be hosted on site, or in the cloud and the pros and cons of each.

3. ELT – extraction, transformation, and loading

Ensure you have the right data foundation by collecting, preparing and organising your data to deliver relevant reports.

Once these steps have been worked through, you are ready to choose the perfect BI platform to support your data needs. And, of course, it never hurts to talk to the experts and learn from their experience.

“One of our strengths, as BI consultants, has always been that we have had valuable experience across many business sectors,” Craig Lefoe said. “This means we understand each business has different needs and can create bespoke solutions as well as ensuring they get the most out of their software purchases.”

The Top 5 reasons Business Intelligence can help NDIS and disability providers

The Top 5 reasons Business Intelligence can help NDIS and disability providers

Smart Farm: What you need to know

In practical terms, it’s a system that allows us to combine many sources of data and present that data in a visual, easy to understand way. Why would BI be useful to an NDIS provider? Here are the top 5 reasons:

1. You have a LOT of systems

Case management, rostering, financial, incident register, CRM, various online portals, and spreadsheets everywhere.

The problems with having so many systems include:

None of the systems “talk to each other” – which means staff spend hours and hours compiling reports
Data is “locked away” in systems – you can enter the data, but there’s no functionality to retrieve the information, or in the form you want
As a result, everyone relies on spreadsheets to record information. It’s impossible to maintain version control, and requires constant updating as the data changes
There is no “one source of truth” – one department reports different figures to the other department and everyone seems to be on a different page

There’s no doubt all the different systems have a benefit and role to play. There is a much better way to manage and govern the data between all the different programs and users.

That’s where business intelligence comes in. BI allows reporting across different data sets so everything is presented in the same place.

Being able to access different data sets means opening up opportunity to automate reporting and create reports that were not feasible. Because BI feeds directly from the source of the data – the information is always up to date.

2. You need information now, not in weeks or months

Having the ability to stay on top of your billing and service delivery can make a huge impact to the bottom line. If you know in advance that a clients plan is coming up to expiry and that client has been under-serviced, you can proactively work towards ensuring everyone’s needs are met within the plan constraints of time and budget.

By being proactive you can help manage and prepare for situations faced by many providers such as funding care for a client who is between plans.

3. The burden of reporting

The administrative burden for NDIS payments and billing, along with other reporting places a massive strain on staff resources. In 2018 staff should not be manually producing reports that can be generated automatically. Not only is it a poor use of resources, it increases the chances for error in reporting and analysis.

Where possible, automated reporting frees up staff to focus on tasks which add value.

With margins on NDIS prices so poor, every way your team can be more efficient goes a long way.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

4. NDIS Client management

There are so many factors that go into managing a client. Quoting, monitoring the plan expiry and value, reporting on progress and outcomes, tracking important events like incidents and ensuring customer satisfaction and service levels are met.

Often your software programs do not allow you to easily see at a glance what’s happening. Business intelligence reporting can allow you to see the high-level view and “drill through” to the details.

5. Data quality

Submitting bulk payments for processing can be very frustrating when there are errors.

Having to report across key data quality metrics allows your team to ensure that all the “gaps are filled” and all the “boxes are ticked”. Not only does this help with billing but also compliance and reporting: there is an adage – “what gets reported gets done”.


Business Intelligence isn’t another system you need to enter data into. It’s a platform that allows the information you do have to be used effectively.

In an environment where every efficiency counts, BI can go a long way to ensuring you keep your company and client journeys on track.

The underrated value of engaging a BI expert

The underrated value of engaging a BI expert

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Don’t think you need to go it alone when using your data to make crucial business decisions.

Nobody who has experienced the power of business intelligence (BI) done well, doubts its potential to transform a business. However, getting started and then effectively utilising the information can be overwhelming, complex and most notably time-consuming.

This is where engaging a business intelligence expert to guide you through the options and process can be a worthwhile investment to ensure the success of your project.

An experienced business intelligence consultant will tell you that 80 per cent of the work starts with the planning and assessing of your unique data – known as the Foundation Stage. The remaining 20 per cent is spent choosing and setting up your BI tool (e.g. Qlik, Power BI, Yellowfin BI, Tableau) to present and communicate your data – known as the Visualisation Stage.

A good foundation is the greatest factor in determining the success of your project but is often overlooked or not well understood. Often resulting in business professionals finding themselves jumping ahead and missing a crucial steps.

When engaging your BI consultant they should guide you through three key steps to ensure you get the most of out each stage in the process:

1. Business Review

This is a crucial step where all stakeholders are consulted and asked the right questions to define the specific problems that need to be solved. From here they can develop correct reporting requirements and plan for the next step.

2. Data Structuring

In this step they present solutions to collect, prepare and organise your data to eventually deliver relevant reports as defined in the business review. 

3. Business Intelligence platform

Finally you are ready to choose your BI platform. You will now be creating the right reports and dashboards to suit your business based on the information gathered during the Foundation Stage. It means the BI platform can essentially just be the presentation layer for the work already done.

Speaking to the experts and learning from their experience can help you make the right choices for your business. Experts in the foundation and visualisation stages of BI projects can guide you through the entire process and ensure the solution achieve your ultimate goal – making informed business decisions!