DanChurchAid is taking a big step towards a data-driven business with the Microsoft Power Platform while creating a central data platform in the cloud.
Went from on-premise to cloud
The story from DCA is not unique. It is the story of an organization that relies on insight into their contributors, and which is largely driven by flexibility in relation to innovation and new ideas.
As an organization with a long history, DCA has for many years relied on on-premise storage of data and solutions. Data resides in a wide range of source systems without the ability to provide insight and create real business value.
“Data silos was the big challenge in our old set-up. Firstly, it provides poor conditions for change, innovation and our ability to act quickly on new ideas. Secondly, it limits our ability to show our contributors exactly how much effort we can make thanks to their contributions. We know the way forward: We must be data-driven and the goal is to collect data so we have one joint picture of the entire organization.” – Kenneth Andersen, Digital Project Manager, DCA
The challenge was the start of a major digitization project that will take DCA from on-premise to the cloud, and which will ensure future innovation and interaction between the organization’s many solutions.
A data platform as the focal point
As a key element in the large digitization project, which includes CRM (Dynamics 365), a new marketing platform and a new CMS system, a data platform has been built on Microsoft 365. It makes use of Azure, the Power Platform and SharePoint.
The data platform is the unifying point where data from the marketing platform, CRM, CMS, payment module, survey platform, telemarketing module, financial reconciliation and more is collected. In short, it is the data platform that will form the basis for insight and future innovation in DCA.
The purpose of the data platform is to gather data in one place so that it is accessible to all solutions. Information and data are shared through a publish / subscribe pattern, which in short means that the various systems can subscribe to specific updates or events. For example, the CRM system can subscribe to updates of existing customers in the financial system, so that the data is always visible in both systems.
With data collected and visible in the system which the individual user is most accustomed to, DCA has created a basis for efficient workflows. By doing so, they ensure that in the future they can come up with new initiatives that are not slowed down by access to data.
“Creating an actual data platform – a platform that puts data first – has been a great desire. For me, it is the very cornerstone of succeeding with our ambition to become data driven. As long as data simply resides in various source systems and is shared as an Excel sheet, our goal cannot be achieved. Therefore, the desire was to gather all the data that provides value for the business in one system. Data remains in their original systems, but on top of the many stand-alone systems, we now have one system (the data platform) that gathers the threads so that we can draw knowledge and value from our data across the organization.” – Kenneth Andersen, DCA
The right solution, the first time
A data platform will only be as good as the data you store. Saving all data, just for the sake of security, is not a real option.
Therefore, Delegates’ first task was to gain insight into DCA’s business through a series of workshops. The purpose was to identify which data is important to the business, based on the mantra: Data must be shaped for the business and for business goals – not for IT. Therefore, it was crucial to understand the business’ need, so that we did not risk just throwing a lot of data into a new box. “As consultants, one of our most important tasks is to understand our customers and their needs. We need to understand what kind of data is relevant, so that it can be modeled and made available in an easy and usable way in the company. ” – Poul Kjeldager Sørensen, Delegate
The result of a thorough preparation is a solution that is as simple as possible.
“The collaboration with Delegate has been crucial to achieving our goals. For us, it has not been an IT project, but a business project. If we “simply” had to implement the Dynamics platform, we could, in my view, have hired anyone. But for this project, we needed a partner who could help us gather data and processes. A partner who could challenge us and help us create business value based on our data. This is where I believe that Delegate’s consultants are able to do something special.” – Kenneth Andersen, DCA
The value of DanChurchAid
The data platform in Azure does not stand alone, but is part of a larger digitization project. But with its central role in the entire digitization project, the data platform is the prerequisite for future innovation and the realization of new good ideas.
That DCA has taken their data into the cloud provides security and a new perspective on the future. They now have a solution that is long-lasting, making them able to act on new ideas again, which are realized on a platform that can handle future upscaling and changes.
“This technology boost gives us a technical maturity that will be crucial for the transition to a data-driven and digital organization that is ready for new initiatives. It makes us believe that we are in the frontline, and that we can do, what is needed. That alone is important, but it also means we can work smarter. The prospects are great, and the goal for the future is to achieve “smarter” earnings, understood in the sense that if we can spend fewer resources on fundraising for our projects, it provides better conditions for providing help in the world. After all, that is the big goal.” – Kenneth Andersen, DCA