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Case Study: BeyondHousing

How a not-for-profit community housing organisation uses Snapforms to more than halve its paper usage and significantly reduce time-intensive admin tasks.

  • Every year BeyondHousing helps 6,400 people, at one stage relying on up to 280 paper-based forms to manage the administrative needs for its services
  • Using Snapforms has already helped them reduce their paper usage from 30,000 pages of paper every month down to just 12,000 pages per month
  • Snapforms’ Australian-based solution ensures BeyondHousing complies with the Australian Privacy Principles, keeping their clients’ information safe and secure

A not-for-profit community housing organisation, BeyondHousing supports 6,400 people and families each year who need assistance to secure or maintain their housing.

At one point the BeyondHousing team relied on 280 paper-based forms to manage the administrative needs for its housing, support, and advocacy services. 

Printing these forms generated a monumental 30,000 pages every month, a statistic that BeyondHousing’s Digital Transformation Manager, Matt King, was determined to improve.

What was the business challenge?

“Reducing paper usage was a major goal,” Matt explains.

“We converted some of the existing paper forms to electronic PDFs to start the paper-saving phase.

“This brought our paper usage down a little bit – we were 30,000 pages per month across the organisation and we brought it down to around 24,000 pages.”

Inefficient data management was also a considerable drain on resources.

“With a hard copy paper form, we print it out, fill it in, take another set of notes, scan it back in, find it in the email system, send a copy to the relevant people, save it to a local drive then upload it to the relevant system,” Matt explains.

Our previous remote desktop service couldn’t handle modern applications.

Matt realised BeyondHousing’s existing IT environment was a major roadblock to further streamlining their processes and saving paper and other resources.

As a relatively small organisation with a huge geographical footprint – extending right across Victoria’s Goulburn and Ovens Murray regions – BeyondHousing’s team of 75 staff needed an IT solution that could provide them with mobility and flexibility in the four main offices, 700+ properties, and multiple outreach sites.

“Our previous infrastructure couldn’t handle modern applications, or the ability to streamline and workflow documents and tasks,” Matt recalls.

“Our ultimate goal is to have all our key systems – and Snapforms is becoming one of those – all feeding into a centralised repository. A business intelligence tool is currently being implemented to produce dashboarding, analysis, and reporting.”

How was the solution implemented?

As Matt began upgrading the hardware across the entire BeyondHousing IT ecosystem, the team began to adopt a hybrid model of remote working – using laptops and other devices – a process that was accelerated once Covid hit.

“In some programs, we would have averaged up to 12 paper-based forms per client sign-up,” Matt says.

Once we found Snapforms we shifted our focus from MS Forms pretty quickly.

“Before we found Snapforms we tried an array of online form platforms, one being Microsoft Forms, and we found it couldn’t handle what we were trying to do.”

Australia’s privacy legislation also proved to be an issue when using overseas-based providers.

“It was difficult to find a solution that met all of our needs. We’re under strict regulation on where we can store data. Once we found Snapforms we shifted our focus from MS Forms pretty quickly.

“What we’re doing with Snapforms is capturing all the information digitally and automatically emailing the forms to staff and clients. 

“We’re also workflowing data from specific data fields to a centralised space for reporting and trend analysis. 

“Before Snapforms, there was no other way of capturing this data or any automated workflows – so that’s 35 minutes of admin time saved right there, which enables more time spent with our clients.” 

And the costs associated with paper usage – both financial and environmental – have also been vastly reduced.

“After introducing Snapforms our paper usage has come down to less than 10,000 pages per month – so it’s more than halved,” Matt says. 

“We still have more hard copy forms to convert.”

Using workflows to consolidate the number of forms

Matt said the team enjoys Snapforms’ mobile-friendly interface and workflow management functionality

Via workflow we can consolidate a lot of those original 280 paper forms.

“In my opinion, it provides a new level of professionalism – there’s the ease of use when signing a form, mobility, and the forms flow nicely on any device.

“Away from the office, there’s also the ability to send the forms via sms or email, something that was never easy to do.

“And the workflows behind it have worked really well for us – sometimes there are a lot of steps and a lot of approvals that need to be undertaken – so some of the workflows may have seven or eight steps. 

“We are always looking for ways to improve efficiency. 

“The good thing about Snapforms is that through workflow we can consolidate a lot of those original 280 paper forms.

“Using the workflow gives us the ability to use a single form across various departments.” 

Matt says he and the team are so impressed that they actively promote Snapforms to their network of partners across Victoria and New south Wales.

Saving time across the organisation

Matt says time-savings have also extended to the housing team responsible for BeyondHousing’s social housing properties.

Snapforms has saved around 30 to 45 minutes on every inspection.

“Snapforms has saved around 30 to 45 minutes on every inspection,

“When we add this up over time, the time savings are substantial.”

Matt says Snapforms’ user-friendliness has helped increase adoption across the organisation.

“We’re up to about 50 forms – the final number might end up being around 100 forms – used across all departments.”

A great tool in almost any data collection scenario

Snapforms’ versatility and ease of use even came in very handy during the recent flooding events in Shepparton and Seymour northeast of Melbourne.

The platform allowed us to collect vital information quickly. 

Matt recalls that as soon as the local councils impacted by the floods had set up relief centres, the BeyondHousing team was able to immediately set up a smartform that staff could use on their mobile devices to collect vital information about flood victims at the relief centres. 

The information was automatically uploaded to their data repository, enabling BeyondHousing to generate and share real-time, up-to-the-minute reporting with the departments in charge of the flood relief efforts.

“The platform allowed us to collect vital information quickly in an emergency situation,” Matt explains.

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