Australia’s ageing population, both in terms of numbers and life expectancy, has resulted in significant growth in the demand for aged care services, now and into the foreseeable future. In addition to the strain caused by this increased demand, the aged care sector in Australia is also experiencing significant disruption as a result of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) reforms. These reforms seek to increase the long term sustainability and affordability of the aged care system in the face of the demographic tidal wave. They seek to provide consumers and their families with a greater degree of control over the types of services they receive, who they receive them from, and where and when they are delivered. In the short term, however, the shift to a market-based, consumer-driven system is transforming the business models and operations of aged care providers in Australia. Instead of receiving annual block funding, service providers now have to compete for individualised budgets and closely manage cash flows. We believe that the organisations who will thrive in this ‘new world’ will be those who are consumer-focused in their DNA, technology-enabled, and flexible enough to adapt their business models. If this sounds like the direction that you’d like to see your organisation move in, here are the key areas that we believe you should focus on: Prepare for the disruption. Successful providers will be those who are able to change their ways of working and transform their operations to accommodate the new model of care. Transition to CDC will require a shift in culture from providing traditional care to delivering exceptional customer service, and greater investment in structures and systems to respond to expressed preferences and customer choice. Become customer focused. The winners in this ‘new world’ will be those who have invested in getting to know both their current and potential customers, as well as their broader environment. Given the diverse cultural backgrounds and complex physical, psychological and social needs of older Australians, service providers will have to make clear strategic choices about which customer segments they will focus on and how they will there them. To do this, organisations will need to apply human-centred design techniques to understand their chosen customer segments, identify their journeys, and uncover their expectations. This understanding will allow services providers to design and deliver services that are responsive to each segment’s diverse needs and preferences. In a world where customers can now ‘vote with their feet’, service providers who fail to understand their customers’ diverse needs and preferences will find themselves unable to retain and attract their business. Build and sustain workforce capabilities. As the aged care sector grows and services become more customer-centric, the skills required of the workforce are also evolving. Increasingly, consumers will demand access to a workforce with not only specific cultural, linguistic and technical skills, but also with ‘softer skills’, such as communication and attentiveness. Moreover, growing demand for aged care services, combined with the increasing complexity of care requirements, will be creating intense competition for skilled workers. In this increasingly competitive environment developing a ‘differentiated’ employee value proposition will be critical to attracting and retaining staff with the requisite skills. Our recent report on Global human capital trends, suggests that providing an engaging employee experience not only helps attract and retain skilled employees, but it also helps drive a strong customer experience. Develop innovative service delivery models underpinned by technology. In order to provide more customer-centric services in a cost-efficient manner, service providers will need to rely on technology to increase the efficiency of their operations and improve their services to consumers. New technologies, such as telecare and robotics, sensors and wearable tech, and virtual and augmented reality, all have the potential to create entirely new business models, improve customer care practices, and strengthen organisational efficiency and effectiveness. In recognition of this, the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) recently released a report that provides a roadmap for technology investments in the aged care sector as a whole, as well as providing guidance for individual aged care providers. In a world of increasing competition, rising consumer expectations, and shrinking margins, service providers will need to develop and implement their own technology roadmap if they are to survive and thrive. Deloitte Social Impact Consulting is passionate about working alongside private, government and not-for-profit organisations to address society’s greatest challenges. We work closely with aged care providers to support the sector’s transition to a consumer-led market. By bringing the best of Deloitte’s expertise in human capital, strategy, digital, technology, and customer experience we can support you in developing your transformation strategy, technology roadmap, customer-centric operating model, and ultimately, improve your organisational efficiency to bring the best value to your customers. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Tharani Jegatheeswaran, Vivian Stephens or Natalia Babjaková.