United Kingdom–based nonprofit Leonard Cheshire doesn’t just provide care and support for people with disabilities around the world, it changes lives for the better—permanently. The organization works to make the support that enables independent, rewarding living more accessible to all, and it is in the middle of a major digital transformation. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform, Leonard Cheshire is streamlining its processes and has created smarter apps for staff to make great care services easier to access and deliver.
With Power Apps, Leonard Cheshire can change the game in the way we support people with disabilities to achieve their goals and aspirations.
-Deepash Shah: Business System Manager
Millions of people around the world live with disabilities and have full, rewarding, and personally fulfilling lives. Leonard Cheshire supports thousands of them by providing more than just social care. The nonprofit supports individuals to live, learn, and work independently, giving them freedom, choice, and greater structure in their lives.
Leonard Cheshire focuses on a single, simple goal—to deliver real and sustained positive changes in the lives of people with disabilities by improving the accessibility of education, employment, and independent living support. To help it make support services more accessible, Leonard Cheshire uses technology in creative and intuitive ways.
“We knew we could create better outcomes for the people we support by changing our technology,” says Jon Petty, Executive Director of Technology at Leonard Cheshire. “So we launched an organization-wide transformation initiative we call Project Connect.”
Project Connect is designed to shift mindsets and processes throughout Leonard Cheshire by using digital technology to connect people and streamline operations. But before Project Connect, the nonprofit relied on numerous disparate systems and manual processes.
“The limitations of the tools we were working with were well known,” says Petty. “The need for change was clear—costs kept going up, and we had to make decisions based on little to no data, because it was all stored in different places. There was no single version of the truth.”
Leonard Cheshire worked with QuantiQ—a Gold-competency member of the Microsoft Partner Network—to consolidate its systems and build new apps and workflows using Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform. The nonprofit will use the Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Dynamics 365 Finance apps to consolidate information across services, provide simple, streamlined support, and manage social care billing and project accounting. With the Dynamics 365 Healthcare and Nonprofit Accelerators, Leonard Cheshire saved time and effort by reusing existing blueprints with Common Data Model standards. On the platform, it built customized apps for end-to-end fundraising and billing management.
At the center of its transformation, Leonard Cheshire is using the Microsoft Power Platform to build new, intuitive apps for handling care plans, assessments, and notifications; uploading images to Microsoft Azure Blob storage; and creating data visualization and business insights for reporting. Before, support workers at Leonard Cheshire used Microsoft Word and Excel files to build care plans and assessments, and they used third-party or house-built finance and compliance apps.
“Our old systems hadn’t seen any investment in years,” says Laura Crandley, Executive Director of Partnerships at Leonard Cheshire. “People did what you would expect—they came up with their own solutions. We had thousands of Word documents in use. Our people will be able to manage and record care easily from anywhere using a streamlined mobile app.”
Using this blend of Dynamics 365 apps and Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Power Apps, and Microsoft Power BI on the Microsoft Power Platform, Leonard Cheshire is building a complete, cohesive platform for modern, streamlined operations. That new foundation is bringing the organization’s entire digital world together, creating an ecosystem that’s far more valuable than the sum of its previously disparate parts.
Leonard Cheshire is improving management, service delivery, and reporting while reducing administration and overall costs. An independent ROI study predicted full payback in less than 36 months. The investment pays off in productivity and collaboration, too. Leonard Cheshire staff now work on a common platform with a single view of the information they need.
For example, the nonprofit had a paper-based staff rostering system that it is now fully digitizing. This will give decision makers full visibility into how many external agency staff the nonprofit is using—and an opportunity to reduce this expense by better scheduling according to staffing gaps.
“We’ve identified a lot more ways that we can make a difference using Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform,” says Crandley. “We’re now using them to improve our financial operations, with customer relationship management and compliance monitoring capabilities to follow in the next few months.”
As Project Connect continues, Leonard Cheshire is finding more ways to empower its employees and the people they help. For those who rely on Leonard Cheshire’s support, the transformation initiative will make services more accessible and understandable, ultimately enabling them to live more fulfilling, independent lives from the moment they first engage with the organization.
Our old systems hadn’t seen any investment in years. People did what you would expect—they came up with their own solutions. Our people will be able to manage and record care easily from anywhere using a streamlined mobile app.
-Laura Crandley: Executive Director, Partnerships