Summary

HelpAge International is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) which helps elderly individuals claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. HelpAge works for and with the elderly by lobbying governments to achieve policy change, undertaking research programs, and through community outreach.

The organisation focuses on worldwide issues with a specified focus on the elderly. These issues include things like disaster risk reduction, climate change, rights, health, social protection, HIV and AIDS, and in emergency responses to disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan (Nov. 2013) and the 2015 earthquake that shook and destroyed much of Nepal.

As part of their digital transformation journey, HelpAge International worked with Intelogy to replace legacy systems (like Access databases and Excel Sheets) with modern applications to streamline several critical business processes.

Challenge

The organisation began restructuring in 2017 to decentralise management and to delegate decision making, aiming to empower regional offices. The IT structures needed to reflect this decentralisation and simultaneously provide the cost benefits and overview of a single holistic and collaborative environment.

Mail had already been transferred to Office 365, which meant Office 365 licenses were already in place, and other technologies like SharePoint, PowerApps and Flow were right at their fingertips.

With a large-scale digital transformation, it can be difficult to know where to start. With Intelogy and their existing Office 365 licenses, HelpAge knew they would get a well-rounded, strategic approach to their projects. By working closely with stakeholders and key personnel, Intelogy devised an approach which would give a quick win to the project owners, show value quickly, and provide a proven model to replace legacy systems with modern ways of working by using PowerApps and Flow.

HelpAge International has a network of well over 100 affiliates and 200 other partners in more than 70 countries. Their global dispersion and the headaches caused by centralised IT were the primary drivers for seeking digital transformation.

HelpAge utilised large Access databases and a series of Excel sheets to manage their network data. The principal spreadsheets were stored in a central location but because of latency and global access issues, regional users tended to keep their own version of the truth. This led to data concurrency issues, shared documents with multiple potential sources of record, avenues for potentially insecure transfer of data and inefficient governance on documents. There was also no overview of data, no ability to pinpoint trends, and no way to manipulate data for statistical analysis.

Intelogy has extensive experience in building process-driven, low-code business applications and PowerApps and Flow were the perfect solution for building a bespoke Network database for HelpAge.

Strategy

With PowerApps and Flow, Intelogy built an application with an architecture that centres around long-term scalability. Intelogy started small, with just a membership database, where HelpAge personnel could track prospect-members, disaffiliated members and current members. They could also manage everything you’d expect in a basic CRM, such as contact information and interaction details.

SharePoint in Office 365 was chosen as the storage platform, which provides a powerful, secure backend that is globally available and has easy integration points with PowerApps and Flow. SharePoint also provides reporting functionality and fully integrates with Power BI.

This initial version of the application has a user-friendly interface where users can easily manage and view information and reports. Intelogy achieved great results by running sprints with HelpAge, with frequent check-ins to get feedback on new functionality, and PowerApps made rapid prototyping that much simpler – eliminating the need for wireframes and lengthy approvals.

Results

Version 1 of the application was a resounding success, and HelpAge quickly came back with a list of new additions for Intelogy to integrate. Adding new features was extremely simple due to the architecture and flexibility of PowerApps.

Intelogy created a new module, with a new SharePoint list where the additional data will be housed and connected in PowerApps. This allows HelpAge to track additional information such as survey data.

Adding more functionality in the future will be just as easy, flexible, and will provide the ability to grow with the business.

PowerApps, together with SharePoint and Flow is a powerhouse solution, which allows Intelogy to rapidly prototype functionality, with a modular and scalable approach. By working closely with HelpAge, Intelogy was able to iteratively build an application with quick feedback and short sprints, ensuring an application they use daily and love.