TechOne wins $3m Red Cross deal after six-way tender

The Australian Red Cross has signed a $3m deal with TechnologyOne (ASX: TNE) to implement new enterprise software as part of a major initiative to boost its national retail business, consolidate its business systems as part of the ‘One Red Cross' program and improve fundraising.

The Not For Profit (NFP) organisation, which has more than 2,500 employees and up to 35,000 volunteers in Australia, has signed up for core components of TechnologyOne's OneCommunity solution, which will replace disparate Epicor systems, Microsoft Access databases and Excel spread sheets.

Six software vendors were invited to tender but TechnologyOne clinched the deal because its software met Red Cross business requirements, required minimal customisation and could provide a common platform for the entire organisation with low ongoing costs.

"TechnologyOne was the only vendor to demonstrate real understanding of our sector and offer a pre-configured solution," Australian Red Cross acting CEO Sandy Chakravarty said.

"Over the last two years we mapped, analysed and harmonised all business processes, and extracted our business requirements before deciding the organisation was ready for some robust enterprise software systems.

"We chose TechnologyOne because we wanted the software implementation to be delivered on time and on budget and we are confident their approach will ensure this. We wanted a business partner not just a vendor," Ms Chakravarty said.

OneCommunity is a proven practice, end-to-end preconfigured solution designed for the NFP sector and has helped TechnologyOne become the market leader in Australia, with customers including The Salvation Army, Heart Foundation and Cancer Council.

Australian Red Cross will implement modules including Financials, Supply Chain, Enterprise Cash Receipting (POS), Business Intelligence, Enterprise Budgeting, Enterprise Content Management and CRM (Fundraising and Member Services), in a phased approach over the next two and half years.

The first step will address the national consolidation and streamlining of business systems as part of the One Red Cross program, which started seven years ago to unite all the individual state-based organisations and make them consistent across services, campaigns, governance, training and processes.

"We have already made significant progress but the infrastructure needs to catch up - we still have disparate legacy systems and Excel spread sheets band aided and stitched together," Ms Chakravarty said.

"The new platform will give a single version of the truth and be an effective decision making tool."

Once its business systems are consistent across the country, the charity will focus on retail, where it will improve inventory and receipting across its 182 stores.

The biggest change is a Point of Sale system, which will help Australian Red Cross keep track of all inventories and collate information about where the shops are making and losing money.

Its retail business is divided into classic opportunity (Op) shops, more upmarket shops that buy off season collection to sell at a low price in affluent suburbs and superstores that sell furniture and bigger items.

"We have no way of telling how these shops are performing right now, it is very nebulous," Ms Chakravarty said. "In future want to put money back into services and grow online retail significantly."

The final area for attention will be fundraising and member services, including a consolidation of all the different databases that are held on various spread sheets across staff, members, blood donors and humanitarian givers so more effective cross-pollination can occur.

This will also enable Australian Red Cross to understand its donors better across regular givers and individuals who respond to appeals for specific disasters, implement a better payment gateway and improve communication about where their money is going.

Ms Chakravarty said the contract with TechnologyOne marked the start of one of the most significant change management projects Red Cross had ever undertaken.

"The benefits to members will be enormous - we will be able to show where the money is going and the outcomes it is achieving, and plan for the future with stable and sustainable infrastructure," she said.

TechnologyOne Executive Chairman, Adrian Di Marco,  said the NFP sector as a whole has many common issues as most charities start at a grass-roots level and grow to become part of a national network, leaving them with out-dated and disparate systems.

"We designed OneCommunity to help NFPs run more like businesses and take on the ongoing challenge of doing more with less in the face of tight operating conditions, increased competition for donations and funding, and a growing demand for services," Mr Di Marco said.

Australian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross Movement which has millions of members and volunteers operating in over 188 countries. The Movement's mission is to prevent or reduce human suffering, wherever it is found.