Case study title
Cloud - Charity Sector - The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation
Client NameThe Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation
Cloud Solutions in the Charity Sector by GCI, delivering business connectivity, disaster recovery, connectivity and security improvements on a global scale.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award equips young people for life and work and is the world’s leading achievement award. In 2013 more than one million young people around the world took part in the Award in over 140 countries and territories.
Since the Award’s launch nearly 60 years ago, it has inspired more than eight million young people to transform their lives. By creating opportunities for young people to develop skills, get physically active, give service and experience adventure, the Award can play a critical role in their development outside of the classroom. It also allows their achievement to be consistently recognised worldwide, giving young people unique international accreditation of their experiences.
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The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation drives and supports the Award’s global growth so more young people can undertake the world’s leading youth achievement award. Working through a network of Award Operators in more than 140 countries and territories, the Foundation are creating new ways and locations for young people to participate in the Award using innovative online tools. The Foundation lead the Award’s entry into new countries to ensure equal opportunities and consistency around the world.
With ambitious plans for growth, the Foundation were eager to upgrade its ageing IT infrastructure and utilise new and existing technology to streamline its working practices on a global scale. The ability to work remotely was identified as one of the biggest challenges for the Foundation team due to the location of four regional offices in Sydney, Kingston, Nairobi and London. With so many volunteers and employees to communicate with, the Foundation required a standardised approach for the distribution of information to ensure a consistent level of service.
Rapid development further accelerated a need to review internal systems to minimise on-site management and instead explore connectivity through a cloud-based solution.
The Foundation approached GCI to support with their IT, having already had a long-standing relationship with GCI’s Chairman Wayne Martin. As current supporters of the Foundation, GCI provided a Cloud and Connectivity based solution for the Foundation that went live in December 2014.
The first issue to be addressed was Connectivity. Having previously had an 8mb DSL connection with another provider, the Foundation were suffering from slow service at their Headquarters in London. Their regional offices relied on this connection for the deployment of 50 Hosted Desktop seats with Internet access and email services also struggling to function on the same connection. Whilst the server was capable of handling remote access requirement, its physical location in London resulted in periods of unavailability due to site interference. Furthermore, the Foundation were planning to move over to VoIP (Voice over IP) and were regular users of Skype. In order for a successful move onto convenient online services internally, reliable, high-speed internet access was required.
To resolve these issues, GCI agreed a 5 year contract with the Foundation to provide a high speed 30mb fibre connection and the installation of a back-up 11mb EFM connection. This connection provided the Foundation with robust and reliable Connectivity, capable of facilitating international online demand and provided a disaster recovery solution in the rare event of a failure in the initial 30mb circuit. Furthermore, the solution has enabled greater resilient speeds for VoIP, video conferencing, online collaboration and data stores of the Foundation's Online Record Book (ORB) hosted in Australia. The ORB is the Foundation’s new online system to help participants, leaders and assessors undertaking, delivering and assessing the Award worldwide. It can be accessed anytime anywhere, therefore enabling the Foundation to reach more young people.
With increased connection speeds, GCI upgraded all four of the Foundations offices with GCIs Hosted Desktop solution, a feature rich desktop application that can be delivered to any device for remote working. It allowed the Foundation to move away from the legacy servers hosted at their offices in London and place them into GCI’s secure IS027001 datacentres for additional support. Due to being delivered over GCIs private Cloud, security is increased further as information is independent of any other organisations or applications, which is imperative when sensitive client details are being stored.
Finally, on order to minimise onsite management, GCI also provided the Foundation with a Managed IT support contract which provided unlimited telephone and remote support for all its network infrastructure.
Having provided the Foundation with the infrastructure required to acquire further cloud products and solutions, GCI look forward to continuing their long-standing relationship in the future.
“This deployment has been one of the smoothest technology transitions I have ever done and much credit is due to the team at GCI.”Mike Heath Head of Information Management
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