Adopting an ecosystem approach to IT services can enable organisations to pick and choose the right technology for their organisation. While large organisations have buying power in their favour when it comes to new tech deployments, small organisations rarely do. For any size organisation, there is huge appeal in the ability to be nimble by fitting together different applications to create a complete solution for your needs without high integration effort or cost.\nBringing together multiple systems that are \u201call talking to each other\u201d is the goal for Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho, a M\u0101ori language agency charged with promoting te reo M\u0101ori and M\u0101ori culture. Every year it provides about $67 million worth of funding for M\u0101ori language and cultural programmes, programme makers, broadcasters, music producers, and archiving of programmes and content.\n[ Learn the 10 old-school IT principles that still rule and the 12 \u2018best practices\u2019 IT should avoid at all costs. | Get the latest insights by signing up for our CIO newsletter. ]\nTe M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho chief executive Larry Parr says they are working to connect their new HR management solution Employment Hero with accounting software Xero and with their bespoke online funding system Tahua, which they developed with New Zealand business Hashbang.\n\u201cWe have an online funding system [Tahua] that we have developed with a provider. We are paperless from receiving proposals through to assessing decision making, contracting, milestone management, and final payment in the recipient\u2019s account. We developed it over a period of time, adding modules, with a provider, so it\u2019s a significant investment. Now the Film Commission uses it, NZ on Air uses it,\u201d Parr says.\nThat\u2019s one reason Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho decided against finding one suite to handle all its needs, instead being willing to integrate multiple tools from multiple providers, while still minimising the number of platforms it supports.\nFor those tools, Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho is looking to cloud-based applications. \u201cI believe [the SaaS model] is economical,\u201d Parr says.\nEnabling a new approach to employment contracts\nParr says a move to revamp the organisation\u2019s employment contracts so they are more grounded in tikanga M\u0101ori (customary practices and values) provided the ideal opportunity for the HR function to join the finance and project management functions in becoming digital.\nHe had worked with a lawyer to incorporate Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho\u2019s values into the contracts, which\u2014in addition to tikanga being central to everything the organisation does\u2014these includes hiringa (excellence and innovation), mahi tahi (working collaboratively), and tauutuutu (reciprocal obligations, the need for openness and honesty in all engagements).\nOnce that had been achieved, the next task was to distribute the confidential documents to all staff and ask them to review and re-sign their contracts. He discovered the cloud application Employment Hero, which had recently become available in New Zealand. It enabled Parr to upload the finished contracts in readable PDF form and distribute the new contracts to all staff.\n\u201cIn lots of organisations, and we weren\u2019t an exception to this, HR policies are something you get drafted and file, and they are there because you\u2019ve ticked the box. But they should be more accessible and more referred and adhered to. Moving to Employment Hero gave me an opportunity to remind everybody what our HR policies were, and get their acknowledgement,\u201d Parr says.\nHaving provided revised contracts to existing staff, Parr was able to use Employment Hero\u2019s recruitment module to fill two staff vacancies. He now plans to move to its payroll module, once the contract with its existing payroll supplier ends. \u201cWhen we start using the payroll function as well, I\u2019ll be very pleased because it just reduces our reliance on spreadsheets and other old-fashioned things outside of the system,\u201d he says.\nConnecting the technology platforms to form an ecosystem\nParr says the goal is to reduce complexity, and if that isn\u2019t entirely possible, then to ensure different applications can at least talk to each other. When Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho adopts Employment Hero\u2019s payroll module, they will integrate the HR system with their accounting software, Xero. \u201cOne of the problems that you are continually trying to solve is reduce the number of platforms you are using,\u201d he says.\nAutomating basic administration functions, whether in finance or HR, is important for the organisation to ensure accuracy and efficiency. \u201cWe\u2019re looking for tools which make life easier and to develop an ecosystem that is connected.\u201d\nThe \u2018connected ecosystem\u2019 approach means Te M\u0101ngai P\u0101ho can get the best solutions for the job, while at the same time ensuring that the organisation\u2019s overall results are captured. This not only prevents double-entry; it makes it easier to track the overall progress of the business plan, Parr says.