REST Industry Super finds value in software-as-a-service

Not-for-profit superannuation fund uses SaaS tool for project management

Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (REST) Industry Super, a Sydney based not-for-profit super fund, has used a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool to manage the company’s projects and growth strategy for 2015.

REST Industry Super was established in 1988. It has two million members in Australia and manages $32 billion worth of super funds.

Prior to the implementation of CA Clarity project and portfolio management (PPM) on demand in July 2014, the not-for-profit used consultancy firms to provide it with project management advice. However, REST Industry Super’s CEO decided to bring project management capabilities in-house.

Clarity PPM is designed to help organisations manage their resources and projects while providing easy to understand information to senior management so they can keep track of how projects are going.

“This tool has enabled us to be more agile and respond quickly to the changing [super fund] market,” said REST Industry Super's information systems general manager, Sandra Coleman.

For example, the focus for 2015 will be on growing the organisation’s membership and ensuring members get a return on their super fund investment.

“They [management] have said that we need to spend at least 25 per cent of our time on strategic change to enable the organisation to grow and invest in the future. The SaaS tool gives management information and data to be able to show that we are dedicating that time to strategic activities,” she said.

Senior management also have a better idea of the costs involved with carrying out REST Industry Super’s projects.

“The use of this cloud solution supports our organisation to grow the capability that we need in project management in the most cost effective way,” said Coleman.

She added that the organisation is now looking at another CA product called Executive Playbook. This software is designed to help organisations define strategic goals and objectives with dashboards and projected outcomes.

“We want visibility and transparency around meeting strategic objectives and being able to see cost benefits. It [Executive Playbook] looks at your strategic plans/priorities and maps them,” Coleman said.

“It makes sure that the projects you are doing are aligned and still going to meet the cross benefit analysis that you might have.”

On November 20, REST Industry Super announced a joint venture with United States-based real estate firm Greystar Real Estate Partners of Charleston, South Carolina.

The 10-year joint venture means the super fund will be the majority equity partner in approximately eight new rental apartment buildings with a combined total of 3,000 apartments to be developed and managed by Greystar.

According to REST Industry Super’s CEO, Damian Hill, the joint venture aligns with its objectives to deliver long-term investment performance for members by offering attractive returns with relatively low volatility.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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