Smooth Management in the Pit

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Case study of the #DIESE implementation project at Orchestra Victoria

Case Study – How #DIESE revolutionized payroll for Melbourne’s Orchestra Victoria.

Orchestra Victoria belongs to Australia’s orchestral gems – a gem hidden in the orchestra pit. Founded 55 years ago, they are the official performing partner for Australia’s national companies, Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet. As pit orchestra, the ensemble varies in size depending on productions and projects. For this reason, it is by nature composed of a mix of permanent and casual musicians.

5 years ago, Orchestra Victoria felt a strong need to make the management of their musicians easier and more reliable, especially regarding payroll calculations. Inaccurate calculations of payments would too often result in incorrect amounts, which would mean additional payments, corrections, and considerable time and effort spent.

That was the main issue #DIESE addressed, and the main goal targeted when Orchestra Victoria chose to transition from their previous system in 2019.

Payroll was a starting point and a major issue, but Orchestra Victoria could gradually implements thanks to #DIESE – and to their own great work and collaboration – a working 360° orchestra management system. Here are 3 main axes supporting this system:

A reliable payroll file (for real)

The process now goes:

  1. Orchestra managers assign musicians as they go, on rehearsals, performances etc. They assign musicians – individually or as groups – to planned activities, and if needed flag them as covers or as non-played calls.

  2. From their taking part to activities, the system calculates a series of payroll items (e.g. number of played calls, calls on Sundays, allowances etc). Values are updated every night, according to configured rules. Managers can check them at any time and add manual allowances.

  3. When they are ready for payroll – done every fortnight– all our managers have to do is export a file in CSV format. There is only one single file to issue for all musicians, containing all values requested on the payroll side.

  4. This file can be directly imported into OV’s payroll system CiA, which will create payments. This is a result of an integration set up by IT4Culture to work with CiA – a typical third-party system integration, see our case study on payroll integrations.

Of course, managers take this occasion to check all figures in the file, before transferring the data to CiA – the new process being a 20 minutes check to make sure everything is okay, rather than hours of counting and checking all schedules.

This is all done thanks to the COB module in #DIESE, that has been designed to answer the needs of ensemble management (COB stands for Chorus – Orchestra – Ballet!).

Besides allowing to schedule people, the COB module allows to count. To count many things – the system calculates any rule configured by orchestra managers in order to pay musicians, to cover for their meals and accommodation, and to comply with contractual requirements. Each contract type – permanent, seasonal, freelance – have their own set of payroll items.

From Season Planning to Musician Contracting and Scheduling, seamlessly

#DIESE is essentially a powerful productions database. Orchestra Victoria plan for their complete season, and store history of all projects and collaborations – belonging to the pit Season or to their own chamber music or staged concerts.

This database of productions is closely linked to a works database: any production can be linked to an original work – orchestral works but also, opera, ballet etc. This is essential as years pass to analyze Repertoire and plan for the future.

An exciting aspect of the #DIESE Works database, is the native integration of Daniels’ Orchestral Music Online: Orchestra Victoria use works form Daniels’, and mark in #DIESE they own changes to instrumentation and information.

From the moment a production is confirmed for the upcoming season, Musicians Recruitment and Contracting can start.

Orchestra Victoria use #DIESE’s Musicians Recruitment module to send out and monitor work propositions to their pool of artists. Once a work proposition is accepted, the musician is automatically added to the project cast in #DIESE, and only the contract remains to be done.

Contractual documents to be signed are issued with OV’s own templates, thanks to musicians personal details – which are also stored in #DIESE, well protected by user permissions. Final PDF documents are signed electronically thanks to our integration with DocuSign, and automatically come back to be stored in #DIESE. The newly employed musician can now be scheduled like the others!

Live information sharing with musicians

A final aspect which made the lives of orchestra managers easier is live information sharing with all musicians. Be they permanent or employed for a week, all musicians are given a personal access to the mobile-friendly portal #MyDiese.

In #MyDiese, musicians can look up their own shifts and calls, always up-to-date since it displays information from the COB module in real time. Even cooler, from #MyDiese they can sync their COB planning with their usual calendar app (e.g. Ical or Google Agenda).

Orchestra Victoria also gives them access in #MyDiese to the performance dates and complete season plan of the orchestra. They can also look up live information on productions.

Last but not least, musicians can apply for leave in #MyDiese!

... This is just a glimpse of the use of #DIESE at OV. They've also linked their contracts to the budget tracking functionality, and set up material stock management for their instruments in the inventory module. Contact us and we'll tell you more!

Pic: Orchestra Victoria website