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Tech Empowers New Zealand’s Cultural Agency

Adopting an ecosystem approach to IT services proved to be a wise decision for New Zealand’s language agency, Te Māngai Pāho. Reports say that an IT ecosystem enabled the agency to pick and choose the right technology for them. For any size organisation, there is huge appeal in the ability to be nimble by fitting together different applications to create a complete solution without high integration effort or cost.

Bringing together multiple systems that are “all talking to each other” is the goal for Te Māngai Pāho, a Māori language agency charged with promoting te reo Māori and Māori culture. Every year it provides funding for Māori language and cultural programmes, programme-makers, broadcasters, music producers, and archiving of programmes and content.

Te Māngai Pāho decided against finding a single suite to handle all its needs, instead, they looked to integrate multiple tools from multiple providers, while still minimising the number of platforms it supports. For those tools, the agency is looking for cloud-based applications.

The agency’s chief executive said that they are working to connect their HR management solution with accounting software and with their personalised online funding system, which they developed with a New Zealand-based tech provider.

The agency affirmed that they are going paperless from receiving proposals through to assessing decision making, contracting, milestone management, and the final payment in the recipient’s account. They developed the platform over time, adding modules and features.

They said the move to revamp the organisation’s employment contracts allowed them to be more grounded in Tikanga Māori (customary practices and values). It also provided the ideal opportunity for the HR function to join the finance and project management functions in becoming digital.

The next task was to distribute the confidential documents to all staff and ask them to review and re-sign their contracts. The cloud platform also enabled the agency to upload the finished contracts in readable PDF form and distribute the new contracts to all staff.

In lots of organisations, HR policies are something that gets drafted and filed, but they should be more accessible and more referred to and adhered to. Moving to the cloud-based platform allowed the agency to remind everybody about their HR policies. The language agency said that the goal is to reduce complexity, and if that is not entirely possible, then to ensure different applications can at least talk to each other.

At the same time, having provided revised contracts to existing staff, the agency was also able to use the platform’s recruitment module to fill two staff vacancies. The agency now plans to move to its payroll module once the contract with its existing payroll supplier ends.

Automating basic administration functions, whether in finance or HR, is important for the organisation to ensure accuracy and efficiency and the agency is continuously looking for tools that can make life easier and to develop an ecosystem that is connected. The ‘connected ecosystem’ approach means Te Māngai Pāho can get the best solutions for the job, while at the same time ensuring that the organisation’s overall results are captured. This not only prevents double-entry; it makes it easier to track the overall progress of the business plan, said the agency.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, software spending across New Zealand and Australia reached US$ 13 billion in 2020, a 7% rise from 2019 figures. The second half of 2020 was particularly notable due to a 12% year on year growth – a fourfold increase from the 3% rise reported in the first half of the year.

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