Act For Kids provides Australia’s children with one of the most valuable services of all; protection from abuse and assistance for the abused. Operating primarily throughout Queensland with a growing presence in Adelaide, South Australia and Sydney, New South Wales, Act For Kids is active in regional and most rural areas in Queensland. It has grown from just one person to more than 200 due to demand for the valuable services.
As a charity operating in diverse locations, the integration and utilisation of technology was always going to be a challenge. Especially when it was running the bulk of its technology internally.
“We had an IT system that relied on our own hardware located on site, “Koni Hanlon, Executive Director People, Culture and Infrastructure at Act For Kids, said. “We did have our email and Office 365 in the cloud, but we didn’t have any way to transition fully to it. We were also concerned that a lot of our hardware was quite old and starting to fail. We didn’t have a network and it was very difficult for us to work flexibly; for example, working from home or a remote location wasn’t particularly easy with the infrastructure we had.”
Act For Kids is also growing rapidly; adding 25 per cent to its size at the beginning of the year and winning tenders for five new locations such as Maroochydore, Roma and Toowoomba. It had plans to add another 100 people to its workforce which meant, it needed a IT solution that would be scalable and future proof. A solution that enabled new locations to be brought online quickly, and enable remote working.
“One of our challenges as a charity is that we want to spend our money on providing services to kids, but we recognise the need to spend some money on IT so we could operate as an organisation,” Hanlon said.
“We went out to tender with an outline of what we needed without being technically specific. We wanted a system that is scalable, flexible and robust and able to meet the needs of a team spread over multiple locations. We needed managed services, but also direction and recommendations around what else was required for us to improve our IT approach, to meet our current and future needs.”
Brennan IT was selected to provide managed services, migrate a wider range of data sets to the cloud, as well as provide the organisation with all hardware procurement and a private IP network.
The roll out happened on a site-by-site basis, with remote locations being the first to benefit from the new solution.
“With so many regional offices, the roll out of the technology solution was not seamless. Adopting a cloud-based solution when Internet connectivity is often limited in rural locations had been a challenge, one that Brennan IT has been working tirelessly to find a solution to”, Hanlon said. “Some of our sites are poorly located when it comes to data and broadband capability,” she said.
“Thanks to the efforts of Brennan IT, we’ve managed to address a lot of that now, and we’ve been continuing to work with them on additional solutions on how to address this without spending a fortune.”
Brennan IT’s skill with support at all levels has also been relied on by Act For Kids as the managed services have been rolled out, Hanlon added. “We have services in sites people have never heard of, such as locations in the Cape and Gulf. In those places our staff are generally locals who aren’t necessarily IT savvy. So we have relied on Brennan IT’s helpdesk staff to support staff cope in areas where power can go out regularly, and staff would otherwise struggle to do a basic recovery process.”
The effect of the roll out has had an instant benefit to the organisation, Hanlon said. “We now have a reliable network that isn’t going to fall over and we’re not going to lose data,” she said. “The robustness and integrity of our solution is also a big boost to our ability to work. For those of us that need to travel, the ability to log on to the network from anywhere, and for that to be so simple is certainly very helpful.”
With a more secure and reliable network, Act For Kids can now operate with the confidence that data is less likely to be lost from IT failure. Furthermore, staff are now capable of working in a more mobile and efficient manner. Perhaps most importantly, Act For Kids can now grow, secure in the knowledge that IT costs won’t rise to become prohibitively expensive.
To find out more about Act for Kids, click here.