The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is offering the cloud-based communication and collaboration tools of Microsoft Office 365 to all its National Societies across the world.
IFRC is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through 187 National Societies. This global cloud technology deployment, which includes email, collaboration tools, and online training capabilities, will help reduce the disparity in access smaller National Societies have to technology compared to the larger ones. Office 365 will serve over a million volunteers and staff.
IFRC believes that the National Societies can grow and become more effective with the use of technology such as cloud services. “Technology will help us to better connect with our stakeholders no matter where they are and improve the process of delivering new programmes”, wrote Edward Happ, Global CIO of IFRC in a blog post.
“In addition, technology helps to improve outcomes in our emergency response work”, he continued. “Technology helps our team to more quickly assess an emergency situation, share updates easily with large audiences and communicate better with our network of Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers and workers as they provide goods and services and respond to disasters. Through technology we are able to accomplish more tasks at a faster pace after a disaster, meaning we can save more lives.”
The deployment of Office 365 will also help IFRC fulfil its fundamental principle of universality by providing all societies with equal access to new ways of working. Two of the 80 early-qualifying National Societies (in Bangladesh and Namibia) have already deployed Office 365.
Happ stated that the IFRC’s partnership with Microsoft reflects a shift in its technology strategy from managing data centres and technology projects internally to handing over some of the work to external parties and focusing its internal technology time funds on improving the technology that directly helps beneficiaries and those in the field. “That is a more strategic use of our technology, saving us time and money, and making us more effective”, he wrote.
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