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Cancer Council NSW fixes data silos in integration move

The Cancer Council in New South Wales has integrated its core systems to eliminate data silos and improve productivity

The Cancer Council in New South Wales (NSW) has integrated its core systems to eliminate data silos and improve productivity.

Prior to the integration work, the council, which funds cancer research and offers services that improve the quality of life of cancer patients, had relied on manual processes to extract data from disparate systems using legacy integrations and batch imports for all data exchanges.

Frances Waterford, CIO at Cancer Council NSW, said it took a “greater amount of time to complete processes”, which were less efficient than the non-for-profit (NFP) organisation would have liked, affecting employee engagement levels.

“The overhaul allowed our people to see how improvement in the IT ecosystem could help them offer better constituent experiences and simultaneously improve workforce satisfaction,” she told Computer Weekly.

The integration work was done using Boomi’s cloud-based integration platform, which linked the council’s Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) system with peer-to-peer donation platform Funraisin, fundraising tool Evergiving, project management platform Jira, and billing software Zuora.

The work spanned the design, configuration and development of the integration system, including application programming interface (API) integration and workflow automation.

“As this was our first deployment of Boomi, we were keen to get the design right from the start, and ensure it could be scaled into the future,” said Waterford.

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During the migration process, Waterford said her team had to decide whether to host the Boomi platform on its in-house cloud infrastructure, or to leverage Boomi’s Amazon Web Services cloud environment, which they eventually chose.

Other than performing user acceptance testing and going live in April 2020 during the initial Covid-19 lockdown period in NSW, she said there were no significant challenges during implementation.

“As an NFP, we needed to select the most versatile, cost-effective, and low-code solution,” said Waterford. “That’s why we chose the Boomi platform – it wouldn’t require a dedicated team of developers, and it allowed us to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as constituent centricity.”

Since completing the integration, the council has eliminated duplicate data and improved user experience. Employees now spend less time on routine tasks and the productivity returns have enabled the council to reinvest supporter dollars where they are needed most.

“Formerly, donor support employees would have to go through three different systems to obtain and record data when constituents requested a change,” she said. “Inaccurate information made servicing our community slower.”

“Now our supporter experience unit can better focus on the constituent experience by using a single sign-on digital form, integrated and developed using Boomi.

“With less time spent on spreadsheets, and more time focused on supporter engagement, we’ve been able to create more rewarding roles for our employees,” said Waterford. “At the same time, we’ve also found new ways of engaging our supporters, given the administration behind each engagement is no longer a concern.”

Digital strategy

The integration project is part of the Cancer Council’s broader digital strategy to becoming a fully digital, cloud-first organisation at a time when donations are declining due to the pandemic’s impact on fundraising.

The strategy has paid off during the council’s annual Daffodil Day donation drive, when it “quickly pivoted its fundraising tools and methods, in a brand new, socially distant way”, Waterford said. The council eventually raised up to A$500,000.

The council is currently evaluating the Boomi master data hub (MDH) to manage data and leverage analytics to attain a single source of truth for future business intelligence projects.

“Throughout the last year, Australian NFPs have seen existing, daily obstacles amplified by restrictions that have eliminated fundamental face-to-face interactions; those designed for both community engagement and fundraising,” said Nicholas Lambrou, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Boomi.

“With an integrated digital environment providing granular data visibility to transform the constituent experience, Cancer Council NSW has been able to reshape its business model to create more meaningful interactions, while combating the industry-wide revenue decline,” said Lambrou.

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