Peter O'Hara: 4.5 minute read

Walk in the shoes of our customers

Today marks the start of the road to our 30th year as an organisation. It is a road that has no end, one that continues forward into the night, adding twists and turns as it goes. Since day one we have focused on what should be at the core of every business in the country, and that is our customers. Without them, we would be nowhere. We are therefore starting today, a 60-day challenge in order to celebrate our customers and the difference in which they make to the lives of everyone across the UK.

From Pembrokeshire to Devon and back around to London, before heading up to Newcastle and finishing in Scotland. Our challenge will be a long one, but it is one that we are committed to with more than 100 intrepid OLMers signed up from across the Group to take part.

Working in teams, we will walk collectively across the United Kingdom (virtually) in aid of those who give so much back and that we refer to as customers.

Along the journey, we will share stories, both internally and externally. We will make donations to causes that are close to our hearts and showcase our amazing customers. It is a journey of trust and teamwork. One in which we hope you will join us for.

  • You can follow the journey on Twitter via the hashtag #walkintheshoes

  • or via My Virtual Mission

The Journey

More than 100 intrepid OLMers will be walking (virtually) from Pembrokeshire in Wales to Moray in Scotland, taking in the south-west of England, London, and the North. It is a journey around the United Kingdom to celebrate OLM turning 30, yet it is more than this.

Over the last year, the world has been turned upside down with our established ways of life being left by the wayside. We wake up each day to pictures of people struggling around us and it is for this reason that our journey will not simply be one in which to shift a few kilograms, although that will help.

In 2019/20 approximately 1.9 million people used a food bank in the United Kingdom, around 300 thousand more than the previous year. Throughout the provided time period the number of foodbank users has increased every year, from just under 26 thousand in 2008/09.

Food poverty is on the increase in the United Kingdom and it is for this reason that as we pass each customer stop we will make a donation to a local food bank to support those who are supporting those in need. On top of this will be the central cause in which we will be raising money for on our journey. 

It is for this reason that on top of the donations that we will be making to local foodbanks, we will also be raising money and awareness for The Child Action Poverty Group. The Group works to prevent child poverty, with the aim of doing so for good. With child poverty increasing over the last year and the use of foodbanks up, we need to take action today and this is why our journey will be done in aid of the cause of food poverty and the prevention of child poverty.

A Dedicated Presence in Wales

The journey will begin in Wales. The start point for which is Pembrokeshire, which has been a customer of OLM’s for more than ten years. They have recently signed up for our ECLIPSE platform and are in the process of onboarding. As a long term, valued customer of ours, it is our duty to support them as best as possible. In order to do this, we established a dedicated presence in Wales years ago. By doing do so we are able to effectively understand the requirements of health, social care and education in Wales.

From our office, we employ people from across the country who have knowledge and experience from the sectors that we are looking to support, as without this knowledge we would be offering customers solutions that may not be fit for purpose. For example, Additional Learning Needs in Wales are different from those of Special Education Needs in England. By ensuring that we have a dedicated team on the ground we can keep our promises to customers and provide solutions that are relevant and fit for purpose.

We also have an office in Scotland and two in England, ensuring that we have the required knowledge and experience for when it is needed. We are able to deploy software quickly and easily to our customers based on their needs, through the experience on the ground and not via another country. We work as an agile team across the United Kingdom employing those who have worked in the industries that we are looking to assist, ensuring that we are able to provide software and services that will be of relevance to the customer.

Making Their Own Choices

Our ECLIPSE software and services platform has been designed to operate from anywhere, at any time. Customers can choose to invest in one element of the platform, or in every element, it depends on the requirements at the time. We are currently providing Additional Learning Needs, Bed Management and Case Management to local authorities across the country of Wales. We are doing so to provide choice, as, despite other solutions being advised, our ECLIPSE platform offers flexibility, which is key today.

The pandemic has changed the way in which the world operates. No longer are we chained to our desks, we are working from locations across the country and this is why flexibility is needed, now more than ever.

Our customers in Wales need a solution that works with them and this is where we fit in. We have been supporting customers since 1991 and have no intention of slowing up now. Allowing customers flexibility in order to make their own choices is where the onus should be.

A Final Thought

2021 is a year in which to look back and celebrate the successes of our customers. Without them, we would not be where we are today. They make a difference to the lives of many vulnerable people across the United Kingdom and often times their contributions go unnoticed.

By taking on this challenge as part of our 30th year, the hope is that we will be able to shine a light on those, who, in our opinion do not receive enough credit. We chose very early on to remain independent in order to place our customers first and reject any outside investment which would move us away from this goal.

We are proud to be a part of the lives of so many amazing organisations that continue to care, regardless of the situation around them. They are selfless and push us forward to ensure that the software and services we offer as a Group make a difference for them and those they care for and not us.