Developing the SAIF Technology Task Group

words: Sarah Brodie, Brodies Funeral Services

April 2018 saw another pioneering work group launched, in the form of the SAIF Technology Task Group.

The group consists of innovators headed by Terry Tennens of SAIF, and ably assisted by Ciaran O’Toole of Golden Charter, Ross Hickton of Trevor E. W. Hickton, Mark Worley of J. Worley Funeral Directors Ltd, Hannah Leverton of Leverton and Sons and myself, Sarah Brodie of Brodies Funeral Services.

Still in our initial stage, we are working towards the collective vision of improving and evolving the use of all ‘technology’ across SAIF members.

As a heading ‘technology’ encompasses many elements, and this led us to our first task in pinpointing our main focus. Ross and Mark penned a detailed survey, sent to all SAIF member firms, with the intent of gaining insights into general thoughts and current uses.

Thanks to a good response we now have a focus on the gap analysis of internal software, inclusive of operations to phone systems, technology training courses, digital and online marketing and influencing the decision makers.

Along with reasonable positivity, the survey revealed some truths about the perception and fears relating to developing technology. When asked about the use of calendar software for managing funerals it was highlighted that 59% of respondents still use paper only due to worries with the complexity of data shown.

The ‘Marmite question’ was asked about a social media presence and it had either positive or negative views. However, the results came back with comments such as: “Very new to it myself and not confident enough to use”, which is where the research and development by the task group aims to help bridge the gap between confidence and support training.

The survey concluded with the respondents’ thoughts overall.

One example was: “Very good survey, hitting all the issues, we would like further advice and training on moving forward. Taking us to the next level in all aspects of funeral directing within the modern age, we want to make some leaps, but need a safety net underneath us.”

This is evidence of a need and desire for the exploration of improving technology use. The task group aims to assist in providing this safety net through our investigations. We were pleased to note the majority of comments looked positively at the progressive advance of available technology.

Although still in the introductory stage, we have a dedicated WhatsApp group, schedule regular conference calls and presented at SAIF Education Day on 31 October at Leicester Tigers Stadium.

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