Case study: Charity uses SOA to help boost donations
The charity arm of Great Ormond Street hospital for sick children is revamping its business processes and IT systems using service oriented architecture (SOA) as part of a drive to double its fund-raising efforts to £50m per year.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC) will make it easier for donors to give money online by integrating the website with its back office systems and integrating a customer relationship management system with finance applications.
The donations will help the world-famous paediatric hospital to modernise its facilities, treat 20,000 more young children, buy vital up-to-date equipment and support pioneering research.
The new SOA approach will replace the current time-consuming and manual process of recording the hundreds of donations the charity receives each week into disparate systems, which leads to duplication of work and a higher likelihood of human error.
Mark Saldanha, head of IT at GOSHCC, told silicon.com: "It is about standardisation for quality of data, reusing as many manual steps as possible by automating, and providing better quality of service to our donors."
The charity is currently just over 16 months into the three-year project that will see the organisation move to SOA - an IT architecture based around common platforms, protocols and reusable code.
Saldanha said: "The strategy is about trying to consolidate all the data transactions we have coming into our back-end system from third-party suppliers and partners."
GOSHCC is using Sun Microsystems' Java Composite Application Platform Suite technology as the platform for the new SOA infrastructure.
Saldanha said: "This software will affect any kind of development we do. We are creating new applications like mad."
One of the key advantages of the SOA platform is that it will allow an organisation with relatively small IT resources to take on many more innovative projects than before while maintaining a small IT team.
Saldanha said the benefits of moving to an SOA platform are "huge" but said they cannot be easily quantified using traditional return on investment calculations.