About Women’s Aid
“Women’s Aid is a national, feminist organisation working to prevent and address the impact of domestic violence and abuse. We do this by advocating, influencing, training, and campaigning for effective responses to reduce the scale and impacts of domestic abuse on women and children and providing high quality, specialised, integrated, support services. Our vision is an equal Ireland, with zero tolerance of domestic abuse and all other forms of violence against women.”
For every nonprofit, ensuring that data is collected, stored and managed with the correct security measures in place is paramount to their success. For Women’s Aid, their purpose is no different. Having met with supportIT CEO Joe McGivern in 2018, Women’s Aid CEO Sarah Benson knew that the supportIT team were the perfect fit to allow them to deliver this for their service users (contacts).
Working with the team in Women’s Aid, Joe, Gavin Tinnelly and their team began to truly understand the workings of the nonprofit, their IT infrastructure needs and how they could adapt certain processes to better improve their contacts’ experience. They began creating a plan of action for future projects to further improve operational efficiencies. One of which was their legacy internal database.
Created in the early 2000’s, the Women’s Aid database system had served its purpose for a number of years. It was when the Covid Pandemic hit in 2020 and the world moved to remote working that the team at Women’s Aid encountered extreme difficulties with the system. With 30 volunteers around Dublin City and surrounding areas, the team quickly discovered that their current database was incapable of sustaining remote access and would continuously shut down should a team member access it while another was using it. With this solution, only one user at a time could input data at one given time.
SupportIT worked with the team to resolve issues as best as possible but due to the outdated design and age of the system, there were limits to what they could do with the system.
Women’s Aid were proactively looking at ways to improve their IT infrastructure. Having opted for M365 licensing, they had made use of Microsoft Forms and other elements of the Microsoft 365 suite. With a view to facilitating effective hybrid working and in order to allow volunteers to work efficiently from home, the team at supportIT had come to a solution for the outdated legacy app, in the form of Microsoft Power Apps.
Power Apps are easily developed mobile and web apps for any business need. The easy-to-use software and ability to create dashboards and data management systems made this the perfect solution for Women’s Aid. The core benefit of this was that it was cost effective. As Women’s Aid are a charity, they can avail of Microsoft’s NFP grants and discounts. The supportIT team utilised these grants to ensure Women’s Aid incurred no additional licensing charges.
They also built out a data management app suited to needs of the nonprofit, ensuring that it was user-friendly and captured all relevant datasets that were required.
Before implementing the system, Gavin and his team provided training to all users and volunteers to allow them to learn how to input data and use their bespoke app. Once their app was deployed, the supportIT team were on standby to resolve any potential issues that may occur in the beginning of the project.
The bottom line for Women’s Aid was to be able to maintain the excellent level of service and care to their contacts while improving their data management systems and through the use of Power Apps. The deployment of the app was seamless and the Women’s Aid team found the system to be extremely efficient and transformative to their operational processes.
The system has become accessible to remote volunteers while remaining extremely secure with the built-in security features of PowerApps. Their multiple remote users are also now able to input data at the same time, without running the risk of shutting down their entire system. Their data was now centralised and secure. With this efficiency and improved reporting as a result of accurate data collection comes an improved call response rate, which has greatly improved their contact’s experience.
As Power Apps is completely scalable, the next step in their IT roadmap is building out the reporting element of Power Apps, by using another product of the Microsoft Power Platform called Power BI to create these reports. SupportIT are looking forward to continue to work with Women’s Aid, every step of the way.
“Power Apps has been absolutely transformative to our processes. It has made our work so much more efficient and with that efficiency comes an improved call response rate because we are ready and waiting to answer the next call.” – Linda Smith, National Helpline Manager, Women’s Aid