Meet the Revolve team: Katie Ward and Chris Gelley

04 January 2023
Chris Gelley and Katie Ward at SBC

Revolve, the project replacing our current Customer (CCEMS) and Finance (ACCPAC) systems, is on our minds and in our calendars. With an August Go Live of transition to Microsoft Dynamics, we have a strong project team with representatives from across the business to guide the organisation through this change.

We had a wonderful chat with Katie Ward and Chris Gelley, who are representing the Operations crew.

Tell us about your time at SMCT

Chris - I started working with the Necropolis in 2001. My first 12 months was within Horticulture, then moved into Funerals Services and Crematorium simultaneously. Around 2017 I moved to the role of Operation Leader Quality Assurance, and recently I have been seconded into the Revolve Program reporting to Katie.

Katie - I joined SMCT in December 2017 as Operations Manager, primarily overseeing Horticulture and Burials functions at SBC. Over my five years, I have been involved in the operations of all nine sites. Most recently, my role has focused on project work including Revolve and Project Cultivate.

Tell us about Revolve and what it means for Operations

Katie - The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics will be revolutionary for Operations, particularly the digitisation of what to date has been largely paper-based processes and procedures. The beneficial impact and efficiencies gained can’t be underestimated, delivering benefits to both operations and, most importantly, our customers and community. I’m very excited!

Chris - In one word ‘efficiency’. Revolve will enable Operations to track the movement of all deceased arrivals and provide more accurate traceability across all sites by means of bar coding. This will also improve the customer experience and give our customer facing teams live status details. All of which will reduce the number of phone calls, texts, or emails back and forth to confirm the status of a process.

What do you think everyone should know about the new system, Microsoft Dynamics?

Chris – Focus on your area to begin with. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by going to deep too quickly. Learn how to find what you need before you start touring the rest of the system. You do not need to learn the whole of Dynamics from day 1, just what you need for your work.

Katie – It's not CCEMS... it will replace CCEMS, not replicate it so expect there to be changes. Importantly, these are good changes that should make things easier and more efficient. We know these changes may feel overwhelming at first but as a Microsoft product, the system should start feeling familiar quickly. Be kind to yourself as you navigate a whole new system and put your hand up if you need any help.

How do you find working together?

Katie – Chris is one of the most supportive and optimistic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. No task is too hard, no deed too onerous. Chris is solutions focused, always positive and so determined.

Chris – Love it. I have been lucky enough to work with and be mentored by many in my 22 years with SMCT. Katie would have to be up there with the best. I am really enjoying working with her on the Revolve program.

Chris, what is Katie’s most annoying habit? How about what you value most?

Katie’s most annoying habit has two parts: constantly apologising for things that need no apology, and then pointing out to me that I do the same thing. We started an ‘apology not required’ jar, $1 for each un-required “sorry”. We are as bad as each other so I believe it will result in a stalemate.

What do I value most? Trust. Katie will always, above anything else, do what is right. She is a lovely, friendly, open, and honest person whom I am happy to call a friend.

Katie, your turn, what is Chris’s most annoying habit? How about what you value most?

Chris can pull out the best GIF that sums up a situation perfectly in seconds. It’s not so much annoying, I’m just jealous of this ability. And sorry... prolific apologising as mentioned. The ‘sorry jar’ will be affording a very nice bottle of champagne at the very least to celebrate the successful ‘Go Live’ in August.

Along with his sense of humour, Chris’s positivity is among the many attributes I value most. Also, his ability to churn out the work is incredible!

What aspect of Revolve are you most excited about?

Chris - Bar coding. Current systems have a heavy reliance on manual processes and Revolve will mitigate the chance of human error and time spent due to these processes.

Katie – So much! The end-to-end tracking of CR’s via barcodes is huge as is the digitisation of paper-based documents. A less tangible aspect is what I refer to as ‘noise reduction’. Revolve will see a reduction in the phone calls and messages that fly around, delivering a more seamless service to our customers.

What will Day 1 of the new system for Operations look like?

Katie – For Operations, our front-line teams will be onboarded gradually to ensure our critical activities are still being delivered, and that the appropriate support is available. Most of our frontline teams have had limited interaction with CCEMS, and the take up of digital devices plus Day 1 changes in the Crematorium are so big, we want to ensure everyone is comfortable.

Chris - Scary but exciting. This is a huge amount of change for SMCT, and change is scary. However, change is also necessary. We, ‘Team Katie’, will be there for you every step of the way to support and answer any question or concerns you may have.

What advice would you like to give Operations in preparation?

Chris – It is inevitable to have some hiccups. Please try not to panic, we can fix it if you let us know it is a problem, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Katie – Everything that Chris has said. A quote from Robert Sharma to keep in mind when wrangling with the new system: “Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

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