Akshaya Patra, a non-profit organisation, has recently launched a mobile app that enables users to have a 360 degree view of the foundation. In an interaction with Dataquest, Vijay Kumar, IT Head at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, talks about how IT helps the NGO.
Q1. How does IT support the NGO?
Organisations today cannot survive in isolation, nor can it work without the use of Information Technology. The role of an IT department is essential to survive in today’s challenging times and we at Akshaya Patra are also leveraging Information Technology in making major decisions on Production Planning, Procurement, Daily Production Requirement, Production Order, Supply Chain, Finance, Security Processes, and other technological tasks and projects.
Akshaya Patra is using Microsoft Dynamics, AX2009 as ERP for all the aforementioned processes with the aid of Central Servers at Bengaluru. Pan India connectivity to the servers, the daily processes and all MIS reports on operations are generated out of the ERP.
ERP is also implemented on all modules including Procurement to Production, Supply Chain, School Enrolments, Complete Financial Transactions, and Costing.
We are using Microsoft 365 CLOUD platform for all our mailing activities. More than 1000 email ids are managed by us.
Apart from the aforementioned tasks, this department also manages and looks into other IT requirements, ranging from matters of connectivity to system management for the other 24 locations where Akshaya Patra operates.
Q2. What are the IT investments the NGO has made recently and for what purposes?
For the present financial year (2016-17), Akshaya Patra has invested approximately Rs. 2 crores for the following purposes:
· Infrastructure as a service [IAAS] – We have our virtual servers on VmWare giving us high availability for all our Server, Storage, Network etc.
· For seamless transaction on ERP and other softwares we have high level of MPLS connectivity to data centre, head office and all kitchens.
· Organisation wide Intranet Portal Services which covers all departments while engaging with AppPoint – BARTSuite Intranet for Document Management, Project Management, Customer Life Cycle Management, Operations Management etc.
· We have common CRM for all our Donor and Customer Care, which covers all the functions of Donor Management.
Q3. What is the ROI you have received from your IT investments?
The ROI that Akshaya Patra has received from the IT investments can be measured by the following that has benefitted The Foundation immensely:
· High availability of data and servers
· Redundancy build up on all aspects
· All enhancement activity on ERP is now seamless with a robust infrastructure
· User Experience has been enhanced
· Streamlining of Inventory Management
· Streamlining of Production Planning
Q4. What are the new apps you have developed? How do they help you and your stakeholders?
In the context of apps, Akshaya Patra has recently launched a new mobile app. The app has received enormous appeal registering 500 downloads within a month of its launch. The Akshaya Patra mobile app functions as a virtual handbook that enables users to have a 360 degree view of The Foundation. It allows users to search all kitchen locations pan India exhibiting the total number of beneficiaries and beneficiary schools. It also allows users to create their personalised fundraising campaigns. Users can also use this app to make hassle-free mobile donations just by the click of a button. So far the Foundation has received donations upto Rs.5 lakhs through this app.
Additionally, the application also has push notification options for users to keep them updated with the latest Akshaya Patra happenings and whereabouts. It also facilitates users to share Akshaya Patra feeds and posts with their friends and family on their social media handles. The Akshaya Patra mobile app is both Android and iOS compatible and it can be downloaded from both Google Play Store and the App store.
Q5. When are you planning to launch your new app?
In addition to the new mobile app, we are in the process of building Daily Production requirement mobile app. This is under progress for HO and basis the result we will look at Pan India.
Q6. What are your plans with regards to IT deployments?
Akshaya Patra is moving the entire IT infrastructure to Private Cloud, (Infrastructure as a Service [IAAS]) in collaboration with Tata Communications Limited, Bengaluru. Our entire Infrastructure will be hosted on Private Cloud and will be managed by them (Tata Communications Limited, Bengaluru).