Case Study: RSPCA

30 Mar, 2016

250 staff, 3000 volunteers, multiple stakeholders across Queensland and international partners created a challenge to efficient and effective communications.

Vita Enterprise Solutions’ Collaboration services delivered connected workforces, stakeholders and international partners to drive productivity gains, cost effectively.

“We are a people business as well as an animal business,” says Mark Townend, CEO of RSPCA Queensland.

What Mr Townend means is that, apart from looking after the welfare of thousands of sick, injured or mistreated animals, the RSPCA has to manage a lot of people too.

“There are 250 staff and 3000 volunteers working for the RSPCA across Queensland, so an efficient and cost-effective communications system is vital to the smooth running of our operations.”

Most of those people work remotely, away from head office at Wacol, and the RSPCA had wrestled with a mix of WebEx and Skype to conduct training and other team activities, but those tools had been found to be poor quality and unreliable.

The cost of giving volunteers the skills they needed to be effective has in the past been enormous. They would have to fly to Brisbane for training at Wacol and be put up in a motel by the RSPCA.

Mr Townend believed video-conferencing technology was the answer, but found it hard to justify the investment for an organisation that relies almost solely on donations.

Vita Enterprise Solutions worked with Mr Townend and his CIO Jeremy Jee to give the RSPCA the ICT solution it needed; and in the process helped transform the organisation into one of the most cutting-edge, not-for-profit groups in the country.

We are a people business as well as an animal business

Mark Townend CEO of RSPCA Queensland


Vita Enterprise Solutions has a challenging relationship with its customers. Not in terms of harmony – Vita Enterprise Solutions insists on the highest standards of professionalism from its representatives -but in terms of provoking consideration of solutions that the customer may not have thought of or been aware of.

Initially, Vita Enterprise Solutions reached out to the RSPCA to discuss issues like mobility and fixed lines. But soon the discussion turned to technology that would revolutionise how the RSPCA does its work.

Mr Townend knew he wanted to get into video-conferencing, he knew the technology was out there, but he didn't know how best to use it.

Vita Enterprise Solutions prides itself on acquiring a deep understanding of a customers' business, and strives to use that understanding to provide the customer with a range of solutions that offer opportunities for their organisation to compete or operate more effectively.

Vita Enterprise Solutions forensically examines customers' needs, understands their aspirations, provides customers with the knowledge they need to evaluate a potential solution, tailors it to customer specifications and then manages its implementation.

Vita Enterprise Solutions is effective not because it understands its customers' world as well as the customer does, but because it strives to know its customer’s world better than their customer, and then provides them with insights into how they might do things better.

In short, it’s not just about selling hardware and software. 

Working with Vita Enterprise Solutions can help you make your vision a reality.

Vita Enterprise Solutions was given full access to all departments of the RSPCA. It developed relationships with the senior leadership team right through to the support staff, and started asking questions.

What became evident was that on their own the savings from using video-conferencing for training would pay for the investment in the technology. Instead of flying people down to Brisbane and providing accommodation, they could be trained virtually.

Added benefits to that approach include consistency of training. Filming means training can be saved, distributed for future use, provides the opportunity for facilitators to review their effectiveness; as well as allowing the CEO to monitor performance.

Mr Townend quickly grasped the potential to cut training costs using video-conferencing, but wanted to know how else he could use the technology.

Vita Enterprise Solutions started looking into what else the RSPCA could do from an operations standpoint. For instance, the RSPCA inspectors are never in the same spot at the same time. With the solution suggested, you could have a situation where 10 inspectors on the move in different jurisdictions can pull over, open up their tablets or phones and have a quick virtual conference.

Mr Townend also realised he might get a return on intellectual property, for instance by putting cameras in the vet or wildlife surgeries so uni students could view real-time operations.

Once Vita Enterprise Solutions had shown RSPCA the potential value to the organisation of the latest video-conferencing technology, the ideas started snowballing.

Vita’s vision ... is now enabling RSPCA staff to collaborate via video in real time anywhere, anytime on any device.

Mark Townend CEO of RSPCA Queensland

The solution

When it came to selecting the hardware, there wasn’t really a choice. Avaya was the only suitable system because of its agnostic capabilities. As long as the device being used has a camera, the person holding it can be connected.

Vita Enterprise Solutions brought Avaya in to present Radvision's capabilities to RSPCA. Phillip Townsend, Avaya Australia & New Zealand’s Territory Account Manager for Queensland, believes Vita Enterprise Solutions’s ability to provide a personalised solution through an innovative and agile approach complemented RSPCA’s unique business challenges.

“Through Vita’s vision and alignment with RSPCA, Avaya Video Collaboration is now enabling RSPCA staff to collaborate via video in real time anywhere, anytime on any device to ensure animals are receiving the best care possible in a more responsive manner,” says Mr Townsend.

He added that empowering RSPCA staff to engage internally and externally through the real-time video capabilities of Avaya Video Collaboration has delivered better incident management, real-time animal behavioural assessment, training and education of remote staff and engagement with international partners.

In its simplest form RSPCA can now collaborate via video in real time from any device including mobile, PC and the boardroom anytime from anywhere through Avaya.

Bringing Vita on board as the network providers was a simple process according to Senior Relationships Manager at Telstra, Paul Dunn.

“Vita Enterprise Solutions are one of Telstra’s largest enterprise partners,” says Mr Dunn. “They already had a thorough understanding of RSPCA QLD and therefore it was straight forward to work to with them to ensure the most positive outcome for RSPCA QLD was met.

“Telstra and Vita Enterprise Solutions collaborated to understand the ultimate goal for RSPCA QLD which was to provide real-time video to increase productivity for all future animal assessments and behavioural programs.”

Vita Enterprise Solutions became the glue that held the project together and ultimately ensured the delivery of a solution that was a perfect fit for the RSPCA.

“Without the hard work of the team to think outside the box on making this solution viable for RSPCA QLD, the opportunity would have been lost for RSPCA to implement,” says Mr Dunn. “Vita Enterprise Solutions took the lead in this partnership and Telstra thank Vita for all the work involved pre- and post-implementation.”

The RSPCA’s Mr Townend commended Vita Enterprise Solutions’ role in managing the project.

“Working with big corporations like Telstra can be hard just because of their size,” he said. “Vita made Telstra easy.”

Vita Enterprise Solutions ensured the project came in on time, delivering a blue-chip customer to both Telstra and Avaya and helping that customer achieve many goals – including some it didn’t know it had. 

Mark Townend was impressed. “Everyone came to the party in building a high-quality, value-for-money solution”, he says.

“Nothing is a problem when you are dealing with Vita, there is a real ease of support from their team.”

Everyone came to the party in building a high-quality, value-for-money solution.

Mark Townend CEO of RSPCA Queensland

Happy customers

Mr Townend is excited by the potential of the video-conferencing system to bring real benefits to his organisation. 

“There is great value in that real-time training can be delivered to all staff and volunteers across the State at a low cost, whilst delivering consistent messaging and increased awareness across the organisation,” he says. 

“Previously regional managers would travel to the city to train and then deliver that training to the local staff and volunteers, and often they simply did not have the time available to pass this knowledge on.”

All dogs presented to the RSPCA undergo behaviour tests to assess their suitability for adoption, and Mr Townend is considering conducting these tests via video-conferencing drawing on expertise from professionals across Australia and overseas.

RSPCA officers and investigators now have the capability to use their portable devices to communicate back to vets in a live environment, allowing rapid assessment of an animal’s injuries and helping to make critical decisions about treatment faster.

And in the event of a disaster, the improved communications capabilities will allow smoother liaison with SES, police and volunteers.

“I couldn’t be happier with the system we now have and the way Vita Enterprise Solutions helped to make it a reality,” says Mr Townend.

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