Q+A with: Gary Drew, CTO, Ryalto

Filling in the Gaps - a Q&A with Gary Drew

Immerse yourself in a Ryalto deep dive with Chief Technical Officer, Gary Drew, as he shares the unique perspective of the person responsible for delivering delight, efficiency and military grade security to all Ryalto users.  

Gary brings his vast industry knowledge to bear on subjects from recruitment overspend to the consequences of not implementing Ryalto, to provide a deeper understanding of the technical strengths that make Ryalto a clear winner amongst the competition.

Please tell us who you are and what your role is with Ryalto.

Gary: I’m Gary Drew, Chief Technical Officer at Ryalto. This means that I’m responsible for the day-to-day activities of the product and services. I’m also responsible for innovation, moving the products forward, making sure that the products stay compliant, are safe to use and that we keep on enhancing the experience for our users.

Tell us about your background in this industry?

GD: I’m coming rapidly towards 30 years in the IT industry. Pretty much all of that time has been spent in software companies. For the last 13 years or so, I’ve focused on healthcare technology and worked across all areas of healthcare from the NHS to private hospitals, to social care, and all the derivatives within those particular areas.

What is Ryalto?

GD: The best way to describe it in two words would be ‘workforce application’, which means it’s a piece of technology that is used to support a workforce and is serviced by their mobile devices.

What problems does Ryalto solve?

GD: To do that I’ll tell you where I believe we are slightly different from our competitors. And let’s just pick out two specific areas of Ryalto.

The first main area is the booking of Bank shifts, not to be confused with ‘rostering’ where people are in a permanent position. This is where you are looking for people to do additional shifts, where there’s a shortage, which happens across a number of sectors, specifically healthcare, but also of course, hospitality and construction; the kind of sectors where the workflow fluctuates.

The other area is what we refer to as comms and engagement. This is a way for the workforce to communicate with each other. It’s a way of providing information via news feeds; whether that’s something from the CEO’s blog, or a colleague’s birthday, and more local news.

Uniquely, Ryalto combines Bank shift booking and comms so that you actually engage your workforce and therefore encourage them to do more Bank shifts.

And why would you do that? Well, this is why Ryalto is a disruptive business because a lot of the shifts are supplied by agency workers. This is happening every day; millions of pounds are spent on it across the NHS and other healthcare facilities. The agencies make a lot of money by supplying these workers, even though these workers are often the same people that work at the hospital.

It’s madness that you are paying sometimes two or three times the normal amount for a nurse because you are one short on a ward. What Ryalto is doing is solving that problem by using technology. Even our competitors that focus just on the shift side still have a human intervention piece. So although they have a platform, they still actually actively look for people to supply to the shifts. Ryalto is a hundred percent hands off in that it’s allowing the community that are already on Ryalto to either look at the shifts that are available and those that are suitable for them, but also to communicate with their workers that maybe haven’t done a Bank shift yet and would like to.

It’s kind of a self-referral process and you can actually offer that work for slightly more money for the inconvenience of working that shift, which makes the workforce happy.

As a provider, you’re not paying anywhere near the agency cost. It could be half or three times less. We work with a number of organisations that are spending millions and millions on agencies, and all that money is going to recruitment companies that are finding those people.

So that’s what Ryalto is about. It’s surprising that in 2022 no one has really cracked this properly, except us. I think what makes us unique is that combination of engaging and motivating and having workers that see that the shifts are there and can pick and choose their own. The workforce can do that on their phones; they can literally scroll through and say, ‘Oh, I might do that one next Tuesday or next Friday’. In contrast, with the agencies it’s all last minute, phoning people, probably at an inconvenient time.

It’s allowing all those individuals to work it out for themselves and the platform can see who’s booking what. I think the reality here is that the agency providers have a place, and ultimately what we are trying to do is not to eliminate agencies completely, but to reduce the dependency on them. If we can make a reduction in spend, then it’s a win-win for most people.

Is the aim of Ryalto to eliminate agency or paper processes?

GD: I don’t think so. For me, it’s always a blend. It’s a blend of the technology and what makes life easier for those involved in the process. And the cost saving is key, particularly when we’re talking about the NHS, because that’s public money. Then there’s productivity to be gained and there’s less mistakes if you are doing something in a structured way. We know that particularly in healthcare too much is done on paper and that could be improved.

…the cost saving is key, particularly when we’re talking about the NHS, because that’s public money.

Gary Drew, CTO, Ryalto

What is the environmental impact of using Ryalto?

GD: I would say it certainly helps in a number of ways. By trying to get the right people to the right places is actually quite significant. The best example is that we know already from our own data that, let’s say, we’ve got a hospital in location A and a hospital in location B. You’ve got a worker that lives near hospital A and you’ve got a worker that lives near hospital B. Both of those hospitals might have shifts that need fulfilling. Now, of course it makes sense for the worker that lives near to hospital A to work at hospital A, and the same for worker that’s near hospital B.

But no, you’ll quite often find that they will travel to opposite hospitals because somebody has called them about the shifts. This can’t happen with Ryalto. So clearly if people are travelling less, then there’s a real environmental impact.

What do you think your customers would say about you as a company?

GD: Now, a lot of companies will claim this, but I absolutely believe this: at Ryalto we really know our subject. We understand in detail the problems that we’re trying to solve. And we are passionate about doing that. Yes, you know, we are a commercial organisation, but most of the people in the organisation, not just the senior individuals, have a connection to healthcare in some way. My head of technical service is Jonathon. His wife is a doctor. My front end developer, his wife, is a nurse. Jon Bennett, the CEO, and I, both worked in healthcare for many years. That’s why we were attracted to Ryalto, because we could see that there is a problem around wastage and we can go a long way to solving that.

What level of disruption could a business experience when implementing Ryalto?

GD: The impact is minimal in that it is a cloud technology. You don’t have to have any tech at your office. You don’t have to have dedicated hardware or anything. It is very light compared to most software, and that’s because it’s all configured in the cloud and you can potentially be up and running within a week.

What is the business impact of not implementing Ryalto?

GD: There’s no doubt that in a few years everyone will use a technology like Ryalto. It’s inevitable because it just makes sense. We can evidence that healthcare operators we work with have reduced their agency spend and dependency by many millions of pounds, so you just can’t ignore that. The problem is that today it’s still the norm to put up with the pain of overspending.

We are on a journey of change with some very large organisations and it will take time to change behaviours. But there comes a point where it’s indefensible not to use a product like Ryalto because you are wasting money and wasting productivity. You’re not giving the right shifts to the right people. So the sooner you get involved and talk to people like us, the sooner you will see those benefits.

If you would like to explore Ryalto further and discuss aspects of our frontline workforce platform and how it will help you improve processes and save money, please fill out the form below. Gary, as well as other members of the team from Sales to Implementation, will be happy to talk. 

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Screenshot of Ryalto app on an angled phone placed on ribbion Screenshot of Ryalto app on an angled phone placed on ribbion