Starlight Foundation

Sally Donnelly, Starlight Foundation

We saved money in the first year setting up Financials. We got more functionality, better reporting, and when it gets upgraded we don’t even know it has happened. It just works. Before, upgrading our (on-premise) system took ten to fifteen thousand dollars to do which is why we never upgraded for so long.

Sally Donnelly, Starlight Foundation

Company Background:

Established in 1988, Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia (“Starlight”) aims to brighten the lives of hospitalised and seriously ill children and their families regardless of illness, injury or age. Starlight helps 150,000 children each year through their programs both in and outside of hospitals. 

Starlight has a permanent physical presence in all of the major paediatric hospitals around the country, creating a special fun filled place with activities, games and are staffed by their Captain Starlight. Outside of hospitals, Starlight continue their work reaching children in rural and remote areas with community outreach and granting 500 wishes a year.  
 
 

Outdated Legacy System:

Like many charities, the GFC proved a major stumbling block and Starlight struggled financially for a period. Their management team sat down and planned to turn the company around and stabilise their finances. They identified some of the pain points they were having in their business, and listened to feedback that their staff felt held back by their outdated systems. “We knew that the Legacy systems we had were not addressing their needs or our needs and therefore we started the search for something better,” says Andrew Yates Starlight CFO.

The Solution:

Due to their presence in five offices and ten hospital locations, Starlight needed systems that could cover all of those areas and allow growth and development in their programs, particularly connectivity between volunteers, children and staff in different hospitals. 

For its General Ledger upgrade, Starlight chose Financials for Office 365 hosted on Azure. As a cloud solution, Financials offered long term flexibility that could be tailored for their needs and grow with them in the future without investing in costly IT infrastructure. “Cloud allows us to get best of breed, irrespective of our size and automatic updates with minimal input from us,” says Yates. 

Starlight’s ERP solution is hosted on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud data centre, which ensures that staff and volunteers all across the country can access and share necessary information on their desktop, tablet, iPad or phone. Yates adds on cloud computing, “It’s enabling us to grow without adding more costs, and that enables more money to drop down to the program delivery.”

The Benefits:

1)    Reduced Costs - Starlight now enjoys lower annual costs, running their system on the Microsoft cloud with a fixed price per user per month.  

2)    Cost Effective Growth - Because Financials is scalable up to 150 users on multiple sites and on different devices.

3)    Better Decision Making - Financials for Office 365 provides the company’s real-time data in one place, allowing management to make more informed decisions.  

4)    Increased Efficiency - As a charity and relying on donations, Starlight has to operate as efficiently as possible, and are currently on track to doubling their revenue within three years. “We don’t have time to be running hierarchies and to be wasting money on various things, because it’s all about the impact. So, anything that can enable us to run our business more efficiently has to be embraced, and to me that’s what cloud does.”

For more information on Starlight Foundation, go to their website https://starlight.org.au/ 

“We saved money in the first year setting up Financials. We got more functionality, better reporting, and when it gets upgraded we don’t even know it has happened. It just works. Before, upgrading our (on-premise) system took ten to fifteen thousand dollars to do which is why we never upgraded for so long.”

Sally Donnelly, Starlight Foundation

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