Mark Raeburn: 3 minute read

What do we do?

OLM produces social care technology that takes the complexity out of people's lives.

Updated insights are available here.


Original text

It is a question that we often get asked.

What do you do as an organisation and to answer that we need to go back into the depths of our history. In 1991 the landscape of health and social care looked very different to what it does today. The Children’s Act of 1991, alongside the Community Care Act of 1993 were beginning to be implemented across the country and social workers had begun adapting to a new way of working.

These new acts marked the start of the move away from the Government being responsible for organising social care services to becoming the enabler of these services. They needed a way in which to manage the new processes and with the rise in IT usage, an opportunity was born. Our Chief Executive, Peter O’Hara, saw this and formed OLM.

£1,000 in my pocket
On 30th May 1991 Peter formed OLM with £1,000 in his pocket. Most thought him foolish but he had a vision and now, more than 27 years later, that vision is flourishing.

“Back in 1991 most people, including myself expected me to fail but with £1,000 in my pocket and a passion to make a difference, I created something that has so far withstood the test of time and continues to innovate and grow each year.

We’ve continued to expand each year because I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with talented individuals who dedicate themselves to the task at hand. Individuals who in many cases stay with the company for more than 10 years.”

Today, OLM employs more than 300 people and has grown and expanded as the needs of the sector have. We have taken customers through three different technology upgrades, to the point today when we have ECLIPSE, the fourth and most recent.

Is the personification of what we do, it is the OLM way of working. We invest in innovative software and services to deliver better outcomes for the sector. We deliver solutions that take the complexity out of care and for all those involved.

We recognised that social care processes were too cumbersome and complex. They had forgotten about what was important:

We created our ECLIPSE services to support new ways of working. We invested in the 3 conversations model, the brainchild of one of our Directors, Sam Newman. This ground-breaking approach is proven to improve lives and reduce costs. It has gone on to be widely praised by the sector and spoken about by Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker.

We recognised that no software solution was delivering what was needed for social care both now and in the future.

We invested in our ECLIPSE platform and developed it with the day-to-day user in mind. We are the only major supplier that has invested in completely re-engineered software using the latest Cloud Native approach. This delivers, ease of use, new functionality and the ability to keep up with the speed of change in the sector. To ensure that the ECLIPSE platform was crafted with the appropriate level of support we worked with hundreds of practitioners.

Our next generation ECLIPSE software covers safeguarding, citizen engagement, finance management, commissioning, case management and bed management.

The difference between doing what’s right and doing the right thing
Peter has remained true to the founding vision of OLM. He takes pride in the fact that as an organisation we are independent and are beholden to no shareholders, leaving us free to make our own decisions and free to follow his vision. This has enabled us to create an internal culture that attracts and retains the best team members. It has allowed us to make the right long term strategic decisions and investments.

“At a personal level, when I’m faced with a ‘big decision’, I always revert back to asking myself what the difference is between doing what’s right and doing the right thing. There’s a subtle difference between the two and I’ve always wanted to ensure that our investments and activities as a company are what’s right.”

By remaining independent and resisting outside influences we have been able to expand and grow. Not just within our software development arm but within the business as a whole.

Since 1991, 11 acquisitions have been made, with each being designed to strengthen the business. The purchase of OLM’s sister company Pavilion Publishing was done through the desire to invest in and support professional development for health and social care professionals and use the knowledge and experience to support OLM’s solutions.

This increasing knowledge base is testament to the core ethos of OLM, to make a difference to the lives of health and social care professionals, through the use of intelligent software and platforms. The key word here being, ‘intelligent’. Without proper market knowledge and experience, OLM could not effectively adhere to this ethos. You cannot make a difference without full market/sector knowledge.

So what do we do?

We make a difference to the lives of health and social care professionals through every means at our disposal. If we believe that there is a need in the sector, for example if we see that the NHS is struggling with bed management then we look to invest in solutions that help to take the complexity out of people’s lives.

We are not satisfied with staying within our bubble and we keep our fingers on the button. We work collaboratively to understand the issues for all involved in order to create solutions that are fit for purpose, not our shareholders pockets.

We are OLM, and we invest to do what is right.