The Salvation Army is using a project-based outsourcing model to support its highly specialised but thinly spread IT department to ensure it keeps pace with IT developments.
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The charity has experts in each area of technology who use IT services suppliers to support them on projects when they arise.
It has 24 IT staff supporting 5,600 users in the UK. Phil Durbin, head of corporate systems at the Salvation Army, said: “Our IT team has one person per role with, for example, one database administrator, one network manager and one communications manager.”
The Salvation Army operates through a diverse network of more than 800 locations across the UK. When a technology specialist in the team wants to run a new project, he or she will find a supplier to provide support.
A project to upgrade to SharePoint is a case in point. The organisation had been using SharePoint since 2008, but was upgrading to SharePoint 2010 and needed additional resources to support its move to SharePoint as a platform. In this case, it outsourced support to IT services provider Bluesource. It still uses the supplier for third-line support, but Durbin said that despite limited IT staff, the charity “rarely has to use them”.
Another example is the charity’s use of an outsourcer to help it introduce virtual desktops. “We have an in-house specialist, but we outsourced the project work,” said Durbin.
The organisation will soon embark on a project to change the look and feel of its SharePoint, said Durbin. “We recently moved to SharePoint 2010 but we are still on 2007 skins and we are about to launch the new look and feel to the organisation,” he added.
“SharePoint meets the demands of both the IT team and our operational users. It’s a single platform that can be used across the organisation and managed cost-effectively from an IT perspective. It’s so adaptable that it can be used to help manage information, simplify process and help teams collaborate.”