Non-Profit Partners In Health: Saving time, saving money and saving lives with the cloud
Powered by Microsoft Azure, Partners In Health saves money and fine-tunes its programming—creating additional resources to improve people’s health worldwide.
The international nonprofit Partners In Health (PIH) modernizes healthcare in the world’s most in-need populations. By deploying Microsoft cloud solutions across sites globally, PIH is streamlining operations, optimizing capacity and communication, and most importantly, saving lives.
Marc Julmisse, chief nursing officer at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti says “we’re saving time and money, and every dollar we save is making it to the field to help those that need it.”
A nonprofit’s mission is focused on serving its people and can be even more empowered by the right IT. Non-Profits can now qualify for large discounts which accelerates their mission to do good.
How can the Microsoft cloud empower Non-Profits to achieve more?
Non-Profits are constantly pinching pennies and trying to make the most of their existing resources. To help them leverage their existing resources, including data, Partners In Health created a centralized, cloud-based clearinghouse for its offices, clinics and field employees to store, access and analyze data.
It's up to the staff to input patient details but because the files are hosted in the cloud, team members can upload information from any device, anywhere in the world. This optimizes their communication and collaboration and expedites decision-making.
Partners In Health also utilizes data stored safely in the cloud to better understand quality of care in its clinics, hospitals and home visits. The insights gleaned from data uploaded in real time empowers the Non-Profit to share best practices from locations that are exceeding benchmarks, direct resources where they are most needed and demonstrate success to donors.
How can the Microsoft cloud leverage communication to connect multiple employees worldwide?
Non-Profit leaders know that communication is the key to innovation and problem-solving. Because of that, Partners In Health standardized its communication systems with Microsoft and these improvements led the way for non-profit’s directive to help people that need it most.
Take, for example, the recent Ebola outbreak. With Office 365, PIH sent an all-hands email to mobilize people—and start saving lives as quickly as possible. Such an efficient response to a health emergency would have been impossible in the nonprofit’s previous IT solution and employee’s reliance on personal email accounts.
And because Outlook is just one part of an entire cloud ecosystem, employees who are integrated into the email exchange can also collaborate on documents in SharePoint, access performance metrics in OneDrive and brainstorm solutions with colleagues half a world away on Skype for Business. What’s more, the Azure cloud identity solution provides a database of employees, their location and their work, which local technical leads can manage without relying on headquarters oversight. This solution ensures staff get the access and resources to do their jobs—quickly.
How does the Microsoft cloud protect Non-Profit’s sensitive data?
Partners In Health collects patients’ most sensitive information about their health status so PIH knew they had to show how safe and secure they were, and the cloud allows them to do just that.
Microsoft’s cloud encrypts email, allows custom security settings and protects data from threats with industry-leading firewalls and antimalware.
How does the Microsoft cloud help non-profits work in remote and challenging conditions?
Serving the world’s most at-risk populations where they work and live means that Non-Profits operate in unforgiving locations.
Thanks to cloud access, employees plow through what used to be daily IT headaches and even bigger IT disasters. By backing up the data to OneDrive, non-profits no longer worry about losing valuable or sensitive data.
Mobile access to documents, programs and storage allows employees to stay productive. The Microsoft cloud helps people stay connected and collaborate in real time, even to the most remote areas.
The Microsoft cloud empowers Partners In Health to do more with less. As a more efficient, collaborative and flexible nonprofit, PIH can respond to any health crisis—and ensure people across the globe get the life-saving care they need.
Office 365 Case Study: PATH
Office 365 Case Study: PATH
Saving lives through innovation and IT
PATH, a Seattle-based global health nonprofit that innovates better solutions to help the world’s most at-risk groups, also tackled an equally daunting logistical problem: “With a piecemeal infrastructure struggling to keep pace with 38 offices and nearly 1,300 employees, most of whom work in the field in hard-to-reach locations, the organization needed to improve its own technological vitals. In short: “Our global footprint had expanded beyond our investment in IT,” explains chief information officer Erik Arnold.
A global rollout of Office 365 not only standardized its infrastructure; the cloud-based tools helped staff work faster and smarter to pursue projects in the most remote corners of the world—where its life-saving work is most needed. They now
overcome in-country connectivity issues,
strengthen coalitions with outside organizations,
break free of physical IT hardware,
expand without extraordinary expense, and
collaborate with colleagues around the world.
“This solution ensures we maximize the amount of our funding that goes directly to the activities that advance our program missions.” - Chief Information Officer Erik Arnold
Technology overcomes global barriers
Adapting to on-the-ground realities
PATH works in what Arnold generously calls “challenging places”—where internet connection, electricity and even roads aren’t reliable. Office 365 enables staff in remote areas to communicate with other locations, make deadlines and most importantly meet health needs. Mobile access to SharePoint, for example, allowed field staff in Kenya to send invoices and time cards to the Nairobi office, replacing their old system—delivering paper documents via motorcycle and airplane.
Employees can also check out documents to their laptop or mobile device from SharePoint, make edits then check the file back in—all so changes aren’t lost if the internet connection fails. “That feature means our teams in Tanzania and Zambia can use it more easily, helping them buy in to the system,” says Laurie Werner, deputy director of PATH’s Better Immunization Data Initiative.
“The cloud is the only way our teams can efficiently collaborate not only within the organization but also when we partner with corporations, universities, governments and other nonprofits to build coalitions and partnerships,” Arnold says. “Office 365 is the obvious solution.” He has seen how adding Zambian health officials’ edits in real time to a diagram of health supplies distribution using Visio, flow chart software available at a steep discount to Office 365 Nonprofit recipients, strengthens relationships and streamlines workflow.
Another example: The Better Immunization Data Initiative, which uses data to improve countries’ delivery of vital vaccines, used SharePoint to collaborate on literature reviews, initial assessments and other documents at its onset; now that the project is underway, it provides updates to its external evaluator via the same platform. And because PATH depends on outside alliances—to develop lifesaving medicine and track children’s immunization schedules, for example—these tools are literally saving lives.
PATH’s footprint is continually changing—it opens and closes offices as needed, moving personnel as they meet milestones and tackle new health crises. “We are cloud first—we have to be,” Arnold explains.
Instead of relying on on-site servers and other hardware, PATH safely stores all data in the cloud for immediate access anywhere, anytime and from any device. “We can move more quickly, scale up teams and spin up new solutions in sites in different countries,” Arnold says. “It’s so much easier when we’re not managing physical boxes and configurations.”
PATH is always evolving to meet the world’s health needs: It has seen double-digit growth for more than a decade. Modernizing its IT system provides scalability without a huge expense. “As a nonprofit, it would be irresponsible to build a large, complex, and expensive IT organization,” Arnold says.
“This solution ensures we maximize the amount of our funding that goes directly to the activities that advance our program missions.”
Collapsing distance and time zones
“SharePoint reduces my workload but increases our ability to communicate,” says Werner, who manages an international team from Seattle. She has set up alerts when staff from other offices update documents or complete tasks, so she always knows the status of any given deliverable. With all important documentation uploaded into SharePoint, she no longer has to hunt for information buried in her email or rely heavily on conference calls spanning multiple time zones.
“Office 365 gave us an efficiency we didn’t have,” she adds. “We have been able to develop interventions and ramp up our projects more quickly even though our teams are dispersed.” From the Peruvian rainforest to far-flung villages in Myanmar, that means PATH can build healthier communities—and save lives.
Office 365 for Nonprofits is here to help organizations do more good with technology
Office 365 for Nonprofits is here to help organizations do more good with technology
Microsoft took a significant step forward in its mission to help nonprofits harness the power of technology with its announcement of the global availability of Office 365 for Nonprofits through the Technology for Good program.
Office 365 for Nonprofits is available today in 41 countries around the world, and will be available in up to 90 countries by July 2014. There’s no cap on the number of nonprofit employees who can use a donated instance of Office 365 for Nonprofits, whether the organization has 10 employees or thousands.
The benefits of having access to the cloud and a simpler IT administration structure through Office 365 have been experienced by many customers, such as the Delaware chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which also happens to be a Microsoft YouthSpark partner, according to a post from General Manager of Microsoft Citizenship & Public Affairs Lori Harnick.
Here’s what George Krupanski, chief executive officer of the Delaware chapter, had to say about Office 365: “For many of our kids, Boys & Girls Club is a home away from home. Office 365 allows us to spend more time and resources helping our young people because we are spending less time trying to manage our systems. It also frees up space on our servers, so we can spend our resources on programs for kids instead of on additional technology equipment.”
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How we’re putting the Microsoft Cloud to work for the public good
How we’re putting the Microsoft Cloud to work for the public good
By Brad Smith as written on blogs.microsoft.com
As Satya Nadella announced today, we’re committed to putting the Microsoft Cloud to work for the public good. That’s why Microsoft Philanthropies, with support from Microsoft Research and Microsoft Business Development, will donate $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years. Our goal is to support 70,000 nonprofits through this initiative during that time. I wanted to provide some more detail on what we’re doing and the commitments we are making today.
Our rationale for today’s announcement is simple. Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for addressing the world’s problems. Cloud services can unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. They can also improve communications and problem-solving and can help organizations work in a more productive and efficient manner.
We believe that each of us in the tech sector has a role to play, and we should each do our part. As we at Microsoft seek to play our part, we’re launching today three concrete initiatives that are designed to ensure that cloud services are easily accessible to nonprofit organizations, faculty researchers in universities and people who today lack affordable broadband access.
Here’s what we are doing:
- Serving the broad needs of the nonprofit community.
Through our new Microsoft Philanthropies arm of the company, founded last month and headed by Mary Snapp, we will build on our longstanding global software donation programs to create a comprehensive and industry-leading donations program to provide cloud services to nonprofit organizations worldwide. This will ensure that nonprofits have access to the full suite of Microsoft’s cloud services. Specifically, we’ll include:
Microsoft Azure, so NGOs can access our data centers around the world to develop and run their applications and make use of our computing and storage power;
Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), so nonprofits can manage all of their devices, applications, and data on a cross-platform basis based on industry-leading security and identity management services;
CRM Online, so nonprofits can use our new cloud solution for managing relationships with donors and beneficiaries;
The expansion of our Office 365 Nonprofit program, which currently includes the cloud-based versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and will now include Microsoft’s Power BI, so nonprofit groups can make use of our newest business intelligence and data analytics.
The full Microsoft Cloud nonprofit program will begin rolling out this spring. We’ve been providing Office 365 services to nonprofits the past two years, and we will apply to this new and broader effort everything we have learned from this experience. We are setting today the goal of serving 70,000 NGOs through one or more of these offerings by the end of 2017, and then we’ll focus on serving even more nonprofit groups each year. We expect that in 2016 alone we’ll donate to nonprofits through these offerings cloud services with a fair market value of close to $350 million.
- Expanding access to cloud resources for faculty research in universities.
Through Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies, we will significantly expand our Microsoft Azure for Research program, which grants free Azure storage and computing resources to help faculty accelerate their research. Harry Shum, our executive vice president for Technology and Research, has been a passionate advocate for the potential of cloud computing to be transformational when in the hands of passionate research teams committed to understanding and addressing big challenges. To date this program has provided free cloud computing resources for over 600 research projects on six continents. We will build on what works and will expand our donations program by 50 percent, with a focus on reaching important new research initiatives around the world.
We know from experience that this program can make a critical difference for researchers in universities, and our increased funding for this effort therefore builds on a successful formula. As a company we have supported and witnessed compelling examples of the breakthroughs that can be achieved when university faculty harness the unprecedented power of the cloud is used to analyze data, unlock insights and predict outcomes. From protecting forests in Brazil to fighting wildfires in Greece, and from developing new medicines in the United Kingdom to modeling flood risks in Texas, dedicated university researchers have used Microsoft Azure to advance their cutting-edge research projects. The expansion of funding for these grants will enable faculty around the world to accomplish even more.
- Reaching new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services.
Finally, we will pursue new initiatives that bring together Microsoft Business Development and Microsoft Philanthropies to combine investments in innovative new technologies for last-mile connectivity access with donated access to our cloud services. Just last month, Peggy Johnson, our Executive Vice President for Business Development, announced in the Philippines part of our new focus on funding new connectivity access for underserved communities, building on such work as our TV White Spaces project to bring low cost connectivity to rural Kenya through the Mawingu project.
We’re enthusiastic about the potential for TV White Spaces to bring broadband connectivity at a low cost to more communities around the world – and to do so in 2016, without waiting for the arrival of the next decade. That’s why we’re going to grow this connectivity initiative by growing our financial investment and combining it with cloud services donations and community training programs that we’ll pursue in partnerships with local governments and nonprofit groups. By combining connectivity with cloud services and training focusing on new public-private partnerships, we are setting a goal of pursuing and supporting at least 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the end of 2017.
Taken together we believe these steps will ensure that nonprofit organizations and university researchers around the world obtain the access they need to pursue cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
Our approach reflects the unmet need we see in communities around the world, the confidence we have in the ability of nonprofits and researchers to solve these challenges, and the ambition we have for Microsoft Philanthropies to drive digital inclusion and empowerment programs around the world.
All this also reflects a cross-company commitment to help respond to the question Satya raised: How can we make sure the cloud truly serves the public good? Today is a step on that journey. We are committed to doing more, and in the coming months we will launch additional programs through Microsoft Philanthropies to address this opportunity. We’re committed to being part of a broad discussion and a comprehensive response, built on partnerships across civil society and around the world.