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Aspen Medical speeds critical emergency and remote location medical and health services through implementation of Oracle Cloud Applications

Australian healthcare solutions provider consolidates business processes across HR, finance, and projects in support of its extraordinary work worldwide.

By Rob Preston15 August 2022

Companies like to talk about how “agile” they are, alluding to their ability to respond quickly to unforeseen market changes and customer demands. But few companies need to be as decisively agile as global healthcare provider Aspen Medical.

That’s because a big part of the Australian-based company’s business is responding to medical crises and saving lives, often in the most remote, under-resourced parts of the world, deploying teams on very short notice. Whether it’s setting up makeshift hospital clinics in the UAE to treat Afghani evacuees in transit to other parts of the world or airlifting oil and gas workers injured on an offshore rig, Aspen Medical regularly mobilises its medical, logistics, and other dedicated specialists under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Until recently, however, the company was managing its people, projects, and finances using an assortment of non-integrated applications scattered across different subsidiaries. Those silos provided limited cross-organisation visibility into its people’s skills, credentials, compensation, locations, project assignments, and other important details, so it was difficult to make data-driven decisions.

Adding to the complexity is the fact that Aspen Medical employs a mix of full-time, part-time, and temporary workers, many of them experts in hard-to-fill areas. To handle short-term workforce surges, including for areas hit hard by COVID-19 and other outbreaks, the company frequently draws on a network of “alumni” health workers no longer on the payroll but willing to relocate under challenging circumstances.

Benefits of Process, Data Integration

Aspen Medical’s IT team initially focused on updating the company’s HR systems, replacing its array of highly customised on-premises applications with the latest Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management applications. The company later enlarged the scope of the project to include Oracle Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (including finance and project management modules) and Supply Chain Management (manufacturing module, for its mask production and distribution business), enabling it to update, standardise, and integrate all those underlying processes.

For example, with the integration of its Oracle Cloud ERP project management module and its Oracle Cloud HCM time and attendance, payroll, and workforce management modules, Aspen Medical can more accurately assign employee-related costs to each project and department. That integration ensures that the company is billing its government, non-government organisation, and private sector clients with pinpoint precision, says Sanja Marais, general manager of technology and innovation. The cost data is then rolled up into the company’s Oracle Cloud ERP general ledger application to ensure accurate financial reporting, Marais says.

The profiles stored in Oracle Cloud HCM’s talent management module enable Aspen Medical to rapidly identify the right people for a project and speed up credentialing, the formal process of verifying qualifications, experience, and professional attributes. The result has been swifter staff deployment to areas in need worldwide.

‘Stretched’ Labor Market

A better understanding of where Aspen Medical’s employees and contractors are deployed at any given time and against which projects helps the company anticipate skills gaps and make more informed recruitment decisions “in a very stretched market,” Marais says.

“Not all employees, especially specialised talent, can be obtained at the same rate,” she notes, “so understanding the cost of a resource through analysing employment history and finance data, we can ensure that we optimise our talent and recruit and place from the right resource pools.”

Meantime, Oracle Cloud ERP has enabled Aspen Medical to shorten the time it takes to consolidate its annual financial results from one month to 15 days, and that close process continues to improve as standardisation across accounting ensures just one chart of accounts. The finance team now regularly provides detailed dashboards on the financial health of the company globally, providing “huge benefits” to the executive management team and board, Marais says.

An unexpected bonus, she says, was Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s APEX low-code application development platform, which the company used to build front ends to query data migrated from legacy applications to its data warehouse. Two Aspen Medical subsidiaries have bespoke processes under their contracts that the Oracle Cloud applications alone could not support, Marais says, thus the need for the APEX front end to import complementary data into some of the company’s Oracle Cloud HCM and ERP modules. Aspen Medical also used APEX to build a health and safety auditing application.

Culture of Serving

With more than 2,500 highly trained employees globally, Aspen Medical is the only commercial organisation in the world certified by the World Health Organisation as an Emergency Medical Team for infectious disease outbreaks and trauma surgical operations.

The company, based in Canberra, bids on projects and contracts anywhere in the world. Its many engagements include advising the mining and oil and gas sectors in Papua New Guinea on COVID-19 infection prevention and control, and providing air ambulance services to clients in Australia, the Solomon Islands, the Middle East, and other remote areas.

Aspen Medical was founded in 2003 by Glenn Keys, who has placed social impact and community involvement at the heart of the company’s culture. Keys, the company’s executive chairman, started the Aspen Foundation in 2010 with the goal of reducing or eradicating major illnesses and diseases in remote parts of Australia. In 2017, Keys was designated an Officer of the Order of Australia for both his philanthropic work and his advocacy for individuals with intellectual disabilities.