SERV Kent, Service by Emergency Response Volunteers, is a UK charity based in county Kent. The charity provides out-of-hours free transport of blood and samples between all the major hospitals and hospital services including some hospices, blood banks and air ambulances. To be able to offer these services, the charity has approximately 130 volunteers, available every night, weekend and holiday, spread across 1,442 square miles of Kent. Volunteers fulfill various roles ranging from motorcyclists and drivers riding and driving their own vehicles, duty controllers manning the phones and a fleet of marked emergency response vehicles, some run by dedicated individuals and others shared across teams.
Managing SERV Kent operations requires rota, response availability lists and callout recording, capabilities to manage incoming calls, start dispatches and collect responder information, all available from remote locations. Additionally, supporting functions are required including management of membership, events, documents, fleet vehicles and supporting information.
Previous volunteers had constructed a convoluted management system via Google Sheets, which were then served to members via iframes in a Joomla website. Apart from being cumbersome this meant that much of the information was managed on a few local PCs. Only one or two individuals had authority to change it online and significant manual effort was required at the end of each month to set up and configure the following month.
As an example, the response list was a collection of 30 Google Sheets, 15 of them reading from the other 15 which were updatable by 15 forms feeding those. Served to the members through 15 Joomla custom modules on a single Joomla article. One change in just one detail and the entire system would collapse, not to mention the slow performance and complete lack of security. The system was completely open to abuse as forms were freely published.
David Brown, Secretary and Web Master of SERV Kent said, "I knew of the fantastic capabilities of VACAVA's RapidBIZ, combined with IBM SoftLayer. When VACAVA offered us an instance as a charitable contribution, free of charge, I jumped at it. I could see the immediate advantage of easy and fast RapidBIZ application development and deployment along with secure and flexible IBM SoftLayer hosting."
VACAVA's generous contribution of RapidBIZ, IBM SoftLayer capacity, and VACAVA services, has enabled SERV Kent to develop a secure, fast extranet with new applications available anytime, anywhere. This has vastly improve organization management and member service. With the productive RapidBIZ environment, new capabilities have been developed for fleet and response management, event attendance along with a self-service rota. These new capabilities have vastly improved the volunteer experience with easy, yet secure, information access. Real time updates anywhere, anytime, have completely eliminated the need for monthly configuration planning, reducing monthly staff workload and bottlenecks. Members now interact with the charity real time, from any location, with greater efficiency and user satisfaction.
As Founder and Managing Partner at VACAVA, I am grateful for the opportunity to share technology that can advance the important cause of SERV Kent. RapidBIZ and IBM SoftLayer were a perfect solution to help quickly and affordably solve SERV Kent business management issues.