By providing access to education, opportunity, and justice, War Child gives children in war-affected communities the chance to reclaim their childhood and break the cycle of poverty and violence.
International Relations and Development, Civic Advocacy
War Child needed to transform their approach to technology, data security, knowledge management and improve overall structures and efficiencies .as a means to grow their social impact. In essence, War Child needed to adapt workplace modernization and cloud adoption within their organization. RedBit was brought in to conduct a Technical Discovery to assess what would be needed to get War Child back on a path that would allow them to continue to succeed in their social mission.
Implementing a Tech Center of Excellence
File Control, Collaboration & Remote Access through Microsoft 365 Solutions
That is the number of children living in war affected areas. That is the number of childhoods that have been robbed of normality and justice. That is the number War Child drudgingly deals with, as the organization tries to help children in war-affected communities reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice. War Child plays an active role in raising public awareness around the impact of war on communities and the shared responsibility to act. There is a sense of urgency in the mission that War Child carries out, which is probably why it is more than understandable that the task to keep their technology up to date took a back seat. At some point though, as it is in most cases, the technical debt built up of their technology was unsustainable, thus motivating War Child to approach RedBit to reboot their technology infrastructure to allow them to refocus their resources on the heavy mission at hand.
As a rule of thumb RedBit does not just jump into the solution, but first breaks down the presented problem. Considering that the problem stems from the technology at place in War Child, the first step towards reformation was conducting a Technical Discovery Assessment. Taking into account the function of the various systems and technologies used and the purpose it is supposed to serve gives perspective into pain points of the default technological architecture. Through an in-depth analysis of the systems in War Child, RedBit uncovered the following.
Outdated hardware and software
The most evident limitation of the technology was that the tech in place was outdated. War Child was using Windows 7, which is a version of the software that no longer has updates. That translates to a limited operating system and poor security. Furthermore, it was evident that the hardware, i.e. the laptops and desktops were in a dire need of an upgrade.
Limited collaboration and communication tools
War Childs operations are mainly coordinating with staffers and locals spread out across the world in various locations. A lot of the responsibilities involve communicating with these individuals in war torn areas. Through the technical Discovery it was unveiled that there is a lack of remote access to files and inadequate capabilities of file sharing methodology. War zones are everchanging and volatile, which means so is the information and knowledge regarding them. Having disruptive and lagged communication and knowledge between team members would greatly hinder the impact and reach of the mission War Child strives to accomplish.
Lack of inhouse technical expertise
War Child is no exception in that, it is just like most nonprofits to rightful prioritize using their resources that directly boost the impact of their mission, which is why there is generally no in-house IT experts to consistently monitor and update the technology at hand, thus leading to the point of unsustainable technical debt.
The technical Discovery gave leeway to targeted recommendations that focused on not only upgrading but sustaining the right technology for time to come. Using the results of the Discovery we gave detailed recommendations on how to maximize the positive impact of technology on the users.
Recommendation #1 - Tech Center of Excellence
One-time solutions are just that: one time use. Instead, bearing in mind the long-term goal of War Child and the necessity to have a self- sustainable technological structure in place that helps the organization make the right technological decisions moving forward, RedBit recommended a Tech Centre of Excellence (Tech CoE). Tech CoE would be responsible for a governance process and team that will be responsible for managing governance, risk management, and compliance policies. Additionally, this Tech CoE would provide oversights for future project implementation, organizational change management, and succession planning for employees in key roles. Setting up this Tech CoE correctly will allow for War Child to move forward being able to analyze technology solutions and trends and cycles as they grow to enhance their donations and impact. Laying the foundation for a Tech Centre of Excellence (CoE) that can be maintained by War Child ensures they are leveraging the right technology to support their mission.
Recommendation #2- Hardware Update
By replacing outdated desktops computers and laptops coupled with upgrading the system from Windows 7 to Windows 10 War Child can gain some flexibility and more importantly relief from their tech. Up grading the outdated tech would facilitate the ability to achieve remote access and mobile connectivity to the War Child digital assets and allow more efficient project operations in the field. Additionally, this would also allow War Child to standardize their hardware with a vendor to facilitate efficient and manageable OS refresh, patch management, hardware refresh, distribution and support.
An added bonus to the upgrade would be that it will provide a better work-life balance for hard working staffers across the globe. An up to date tech platform means staffers would spend less time worrying over limited scope of their tech, giving them a much-needed little peace of mind.
Recommendation #3- File control, collaboration and remote access
A lot of the success of War Child's mission revolves around having clear communication and easy collaboration with all team members across the board. The intentions of implementing Microsoft 365 is to have one sole service that is an umbrella of for all the file sharing, collaborative and remote access tools. War Child’s main method of collaboration is using email systems as well as local and network file shares for their document sharing management, making it slightly hectic to manage. The incorporation of Microsoft 365 will merge the needs of the organization and provide highly efficient collaboration tools as well as applications for scalable file control. Integrating this software provided War Child with email, Office desktop applications, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing with IM, audio, and HD video, meeting broadcasts, a corporate social network, work-management tools, compliance solutions, and data protection with DLP (Data Loss Prevention) among other important services to facilitate easy collaboration amongst the team.
At the time of writing this, War Child has started executing some of the recommendations. Partnered with RedBit, together we are working on first migrating War Child on to M365. RedBit is very excited to work with War Child in working towards maximizing the use of technology for the betterment of the nonprofits mission.