The Nanny Company Beats the Paper War
"Stratos take the time to get to know you, they're easy to get along with, and they're quick to respond"
- Matt Long, Financial Controller and CIO, The Nanny Company
The Nanny Company turned to Stratos Technology Partners for purpose-built software when it outgrew its own record keeping system. The Stratos solution has reduced administrative labour costs by 50% and office space requirements by over 10%.
The Nanny Business
The Nanny Company has more than 220 nannies placed with employer families in Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson and Wellington. “For some families, it is cost-effective to have a nanny if there are more than two young children, and large bustling families require nannies to contribute toward the smooth running of the household,” explained Matt Long, Financial Controller, CIO and one of the founders of The Nanny Company.
Nannying generates lots of paper
Primarily government-funded, the agency must maintain a mountain of documentation for each engagement. Nannies are required by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to provide early childhood education, and the Education Review Office requires that education and workplace safety standards are maintained.
Learning journals must be compiled for each child, and each contact session must be documented and signed off by parents. This documentation allows the whole process to be transparent and readily audited.
Off the shelf programs didn’t suit
Long looked at early childhood care centre programs to see whether they met the company’s requirements. “But our business is different. We have almost as many early childhood care centres as we do children,” Long said. “Every year, we collect 16,000 signatures showing that our nannies have shown up for work. After a few years, I’ve got a garage full of these timesheets.”
“Before we engaged Stratos, each nanny who enrolled with us would generate a new paper dossier that grew thicker and thicker as résumés, enrolment forms, telephone call notes, interview notes, police checks, timesheets, emails and other correspondence accumulated. We were collecting filing cabinets,” he noted ruefully.
Long and his team selected Stratos to build a custom solution that streamlines the business. “We knew people at Stratos and had heard about the kind of work they do. They took the time to get to know us, to understand our needs and requirements. The personality fit was there from the start.”
"The software project went smoothly and communication was good. The new system has reduced our administrative staff count by half and saved us more than 10% of our floor space."
- Matt Long, The Nanny Company
Long says Stratos has always been quick to provide technical support, too. “Once something went wrong. The developer working on our system was travelling in the UK but the whole thing was resolved overnight. I can’t recall a time when Stratos hasn’t responded to an issue without delay and worked it out quickly.”
Sailed through the compliance audit
Stratos has remained a trusted development partner for The Nanny Company, especially as the MoE has progressively moved its processes online and the company has had to follow suit.
An early step in this direction was the introduction of the National Child Number (NSN) system, whereby the MoE assigns a unique identifying number to each child to collect the basic data needed to assess trends and develop initiatives. When the Nanny Company needed to link all of its relevant records to the new NSNs, it went straight to Stratos.
Following the NSN project, the MoE started implementing its Early Learning Information (ELI) system. The Nanny Company again engaged Stratos to enable it to send enrolment and attendance information to ELI automatically.
“At the time, the Ministry was quite sensitive about information security because WINZ had received a significant amount of publicity for lax standards. We were very pleased when we sailed through their compliance audit,” Long said.
Additional opportunities to automate
“We have now started automating even more systems. Our newsletter used to cost us $6,000 a year to print, stuff envelopes and mail out. We got Stratos to automate all that for us.”
Stratos also implemented a portal for nannies and an internal document management system that uses SharePoint. Nannies can directly access schedules and rosters using their phones, tablets and home computers.
“I’d have no hesitation recommending Stratos. They take the time to get to know you, they’re easy to get along with, and they’re quick to respond.”