CMRI Case study
Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) is a world-leading independent
research institute dedicated to discovering how to prevent or treat birth defects
and diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and a range of genetic disorders.
CMRI has around a hundred scientists and research students, working in teams
that focus on the most critical research issues in the area of children’s health.
Salary packaging plays an important role in attracting world class research talent
•The management at CMRI had decided to switch to Smartsalary in July 2012; during the middle of FBT
year. This was going to be a key challenge for both Smartsalary as well as the Finance and Payroll team at
• Dependency on the previous provider for data transfer purposes was a complication because of the
format of the data in which it is used at different providers
• CMRI had one of our competitors as their salary packaging vendor; however, there were lapses with
regards to customer service and SLA to the research staff
• Moreover, the fees being charged to employees were high, a fact that was validated by the Finance
manager, Viraf Variava, who had recently joined from Centenary Institute, another Smartsalary client
• Being a highly educated workforce, awareness of salary packaging was excellent within the organisation
• Being a customer centric company, every interaction with customers is measured through a feedback
loop involving the NPS methodology. As measured by NPS, the advocacy levels have been steadily
improving. Also, the pricing that employees at CMRI receive are capped – therefore saving money on any
incremental benefits they package for free
• With a dedicated client relationship manager in Patrick, CMRI’s finance manager, Viraf, is able to ensure
a smooth functioning of salary packaging services
• The workload for payroll in CMRI has significantly reduced through the implementation of efficient and
lean processes for approvals and sign offs, compared to the previous provider
• Quarterly reviews and regular reporting on customer issues keeps Smartsalary accountable to CMRI’s
management so they are able to concentrate on more strategic issues.
Actions taken by Smartsalary during transition
• Smartsalary commissioned a dedicated project team involving a project manager to coordinate all the
transition planning and execution
• The communication line with the payroll department in CMRI was critical to the success of the transition.
The transition process involved regular review meetings to provide a seamless transition to the employees
• All customer information was set up and uploaded into the Smartsalary format and system at a record
time, with the right YTD reporting for every employee at CMRI