Case Study: Invocare

Case Study, e-Signature, Payments
Digital Transformation

Invocare, an ASX200 listed organisation with a turn-over of 500M per annum. Specialising in end-of-life care through a network of funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries. Its network is extensive and covers three countries. 

Historically customer management and invoicing was done at the individual brands and premises level by the funeral directors. Old school, analogue and low tech. 

In 2020 a digital transformation of the organisation was well underway; they were centralising all ERP functions and had adopted Oracle Cloud ERP as the customer and financial management system to manage their aggregated network of businesses across multiple countries. And need to deliver a Customer Communications Portal (CMP) was identified as detailed below in their CEO statement.

“All our future paperwork with customers will go digital – no exceptions. The most important focus for Invocare remains the families, and their service, not the paperwork – that part needs to be automated. The CMP will make it easier for families to get the necessary initial and follow up paperwork but all in a digital format distributed via email or sms. Part of that communication is also providing a greater variety of easier online payment options including the ZIP pay service. Whilst invoices and statements will now all go digital, very shortly all contract paperwork will also be sent to the customer electronically with the ability to sign electronically. There is no need to ask a customer to come into our branch to sign paperwork when they can do this easily via a digital exchange using an eSignature in their home”

– Martin Earp the Invocare CEO

There was, however, a piece missing from their digital revolution. The ability to deliver documents securely, acquire signatures and process payments.

We were invited to participate and showcase our products because of our track record of delivery and accelerated deployment in the banking industry. Additionally, our solution was an order of magnitude less in terms of both cost and time than the bespoke work required on Oracle ERP. The production pilot included integration into Oracle ERP for 2 brands in the Funeral “At Need” business. The pilot was designed to deliver integrated customer communications, across multiple channels, for new customers and deliver customer invoices and allow for the payment of invoices and ensure the customer experience was integrated into a CMP and was consistent with their multiple brands.

End-of-life care is not a standard invoice and collect payment process. There can be multiple family members who need to be communicated with and involved in the payment processing – where costs are split among family, friends, and sometimes employers. The initial value proposition with was our NuPayments platform combined with NuSign’s ‘NuExchange’ features to securely deliver documents to customers.

Within 8 weeks of the contracts been signed, NuPayments and NuSign were integrated into the Oracle ERP, delivering communication and invoices and collecting payments from new customers. The initial pilot was set to run for 6 months however within 2 months of the pilot starting, Invocare chose to move directly and rapidly into a multi-year agreement that included the remaining and additional lines of business and geography’s, covering Australia and New Zealand, and their 80+ brands. This was a staged rollout over the next 6 months from pilot to full production adoption.

Adoption of NuPayments and NuSign saved years of more complex enhancement and development of Oracle ERP solutions to adopt their bespoke needs. And there has been substantial ongoing enhancement with the same agility, speed and cost benefit, avoiding higher development costs in the core systems.

In 2022, as well as fully realising the benefits of NuExchange for document delivery, Invocare saw the value in adopting NuSign’s core features for e-Signature. They replaced DocuSign and immediately saw additional cost and time savings, as the e-Sign processes could be fully automated with NuSign – NuDocs features, removing the need for manual signature block placements. NuSign now provides Invocare with an end-to-end document delivery, e-Signature and payment collection solution, across all lines of business.

In 2022 another project was initiated for Funeral Pre-Need services – essentially a payment plan over multiple years to pre-pay a funeral and related services. Up until this point, the solutions had focussed on “At-Need” services (after death) and Invocare wanted to extend this digital transformation into their Funeral Insurance and pre-payment services – requiring delivery documents for e-Signature and to initiate payment processing. 

Tangible Business Benefits

Substantial shift to electronic payment, pre/post – life care events led to:

  • Major improvements to payment receipt and collection activities with automate communications such as reminders etc.
  • Major reduction in size and cost of financial reconciliation team through automation
  • Digital transformation and customer experience ensured the best and most sensitive outcome for their customers.
  • Ability to deliver the customer experience to multiple family members involved.
  • NuSign was able to extend the use of eSignature across all processes, delivering lower friction better quality customer experience.

Invocare have gone to great lengths to streamline operations via the introduction of standardization around systems and processes across their enterprise and multi-brand operations. The funeral industry requires a very personalized and empathetic approach to the families involved. As such, a key component for the CMP was to provide a consistent communication and messaging approach but also provides the necessary flexibility for personalized messaging by Invocare with strong representation of their 80+ brands and 260 sites to retain and maintain that personal and local care.

The design of Customer Portal provided Invocare the ability to customize the entire experience to align with their brand(s) marketing positioning. For example their Value brand communications to customers (many of whom deal remotely with the funeral branches) is very different from premium services and products provided via other brands. The customer portal delivered by NuSign can easily cater to both requirements. 

” Covid 19 meant we needed to accelerate where we were heading anyway. Our clients expect us to step up digitally like other industries and are now demanding more remote interaction up front and ongoing – by doing this we also provide a safer environment for them in line with minimizing social interaction. We signed up the CMP with Nuvola and the ZIP solution in mid-July 2020 and mobilized a joint team to deliver this into our Pilot sites 9 weeks later.  This was an extremely accelerated program and required bringing together the best of breed approach from multiple parties including leadership from our respective Invocare Digital and IT teams working closely with key IT service providers in the market – Seven Consulting has provided the thought leadership in digital transformation and program management expertise, both Accenture and Elwyn Consulting the specialist integration skills required from the Oracle ERP system and the Nuvola platform provides their NuSign solution, already proven in the banking industry. We see this platform as a key step in advancing our customer experience and given the rapidly advancing landscape for digital technology solutions in the market, we fully expect to plug other specialist technologies into the platform as it grows.” 

– Martin Earp Invocare CEO

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