GOAL brings cloud computing to 1,500 aid workers worldwide

18 Jun 2012

John Purdy, CEO, Ergo, and Robert Lacey, IT manager, GOAL

International aid agency GOAL has deployed cloud computing technology to some 1,500 aid workers in 13 of the world’s poorest and most deprived countries. The deployment by Ergo is one of the biggest Microsoft 365 deployments to go live so far.

Since its inception, GOAL has spent in excess of €720m on humanitarian programmes in more than 50 countries. More than 2,300 GOALies and many thousands of local staff have worked in the developing world on GOAL’s behalf and the organisation has responded to every major humanitarian disaster since 1977.

A combination of out-of-the-box applications and customised Ergo solutions have seen aid workers improve their personal productivity by as much as 20pc, according to Rob Lacey, IT manager in GOAL.

“Multiply that by 1,500 and you’re talking about saving hundreds of thousands of euros,” he said.  

The full range of applications in Office 365 has been deployed to overcome the challenges faced by the aid agency. Field workers use Lync for instant messaging and sharing desktops from remote corners of the world. They access SharePoint collaboration software, creating a pool of knowledge that avoids wasting time solving problems that may already have been solved.  

Grant management system

The cumulative effect of having all information hosted in a central repository means a field worker can go into a new country much better prepared. They can identify and search out colleagues who have been there before or access information in country mini-sites to get a better understanding of a place.

A Grant Management System, built by Ergo and integrated with GOAL’s accounting package, has helped achieve better governance.

GOAL can share reports more easily, not just with its workers but also among donors like the Irish and US governments, showing them how funds are spent on the ground.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years