Oxfam’s chief technology officer, Nick Mitrovic, aims to manage the technology, delivery and operations within the organisation. In total, Mitrovic has 120 people in his department that manage different elements of Oxfam’s technology stack.
Mitrovic believes their IT strategy to be generic, but the team can develop technology methods that will impact the organisation in numerous ways.
However, the most significant change made within the organisation has been their move to the cloud. Originally, the company had three large data centres that would run a custom VMware solution, but this proved to be difficult to change. As a result, Oxfam struggled to scale up or down when required.
Speaking with News Stateman, Mitrovic says: “We don’t know when disaster strikes, and so we have to respond quickly, and you can’t plan for this – but this set-up didn’t allow us to do that. In addition, we were constantly firefighting to patch this solution, meaning as an IT function we didn’t have the headspace required to work on the wider business problems and understand what the business really required.”
Since Oxfam is a not-for-profit, replacing datacentres and infrastructures every few years is not the best choice. Cloud, however, is a modern, scalable alternative that will help them to tap into new technologies with ease.
Oxfam uses Microsoft Azure as it was the most enterprise-focused at the time. Furthermore, Oxfam wanted a partner that would help the organisation to migrate and manage this cloud space. For this, they turned to Rackspace – a supplier offering a fit-for-purpose cloud for Oxfam.
How the cloud brought a silver lining
To determine if the move was beneficial, Oxfam also captured specific metrics before and after moving to the cloud. The results showed an estimated increased rate from 21 per cent to 32 per cent after the migration period, as well as a 3.5 per cent increase in conversion from speed improvements alone. This brought in an extra £162,000 per year. Additionally, the organisation saw a 22 per cent increase in sales across the online shop.
“In the online retail space, we normally see a 5 per cent increase on average in the industry, so a 22 per cent increase is significant,” Mitrovic says.
It is clear that the shift has benefited Oxfam – and Mitrovic hopes to see more benefits from additional cloud features in the future.
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