Network Infrastructure update: Programme approach and priorities for 2021 – 2022

This Network Infrastructure Programme update looks at the approach and priorities for the next year, including for systems such as Charitylog.

Pam Creaven updates us on the approach and priorities for the Network Infrastructure Programme to support Partners with new and existing solutions such as Charitylog. Please read on for more details.

The Network Infrastructure Programme emerged from Project SOPHIE where we visited many Partners across the network to understand where the commonalities and differences in their infrastructure were alongside their ambitions. Having learned a great deal from that work and the infrastructure projects that followed, the Network Infrastructure Steering Group recently reflected on how the programme can add the most value going forward. We have concluded it is now time to focus on fewer priorities and devote more resource to drive these projects. 

We also recognise that the Network Infrastructure Programme does not and cannot operate in isolation and needs to link closely with developing conversations in the Network Development Programme. As this develops throughout the coming year, the programme will align with the Network Shared Strategy as it becomes clearer. 

At this time, the Network Infrastructure Programme Steering Group has agreed the below approach and priorities for this financial year. 

We’ll be providing regular Infrastructure Programme updates so look out for more communications. 

Case, Contact & Rostering Management 

Salesforce 

A number of pilot Partners have been working to design and configure a Salesforce solution, and the project is currently in the middle of implementation with these pilot Partners. It was agreed that this work should continue, with the programme seeking to support more Partners to consider Salesforce as an option, supporting them to make the move to the new software should they choose to. 

4 Partners have currently signed up to use the system, with a similar number actively considering doing so. 

Further to this, embedding mechanisms to enable the use and continual improvement of the Salesforce solution will be key to making it a viable solution across the network. 

Charitylog 

A discussion was held on the way forward with Charitylog. More detail is available in the recent Charitylog update, but the key point was that with a significant number of partners still using Charitylog, it was decided that we would continue to work together to make improvements to the system. 

Finance Systems 

In the past year, the programme has worked with a number of Partners to design and build a finance system using the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central software. This has now been successfully implemented with one Partner, with another five Partners to follow in the summer, and further implementations are being planned over the year. The Steering Group agreed that we should focus on this solution above other finance systems, aiming to increase the number of Partners using the solution in 2021/22. In line with Salesforce, this will also involve the establishment of robust mechanisms to manage the solution going forward into the future. 

Technology & Core Infrastructure 

One of the most common questions asked of the programme is whether there is a roadmap for the technology and core infrastructure for Partners. At the same time, one of the most common discussions we have with Partners is about the many interdependencies between technologies and how decisions in one area affect others. This project will therefore seek to work with Partners to support them to level up their technology and core infrastructure, allowing them to take advantage of other digital solutions. We will also work with Partners to design a “roadmap” for technology across the network, seeking to recognise where they are in their own digital pathway currently, but also how to move to the next stage. 

Brand Partner Portal & Websites 

The Brand Partner Portal already acts as the mechanism for enabling integration for local I&A services with Age UK’s Advice Line. Working with a group of pilot Partners, Age UK has built a new way for Partners to enter information about services which will then appear on both national and local websites, with the aim being to take advantage of Age UK’s digital presence and ensure older people can find the services they need. Ideally this will result in easier access to local services, but also reduced calls to both Age UK and Partners about what services are available. Furthermore, we will in time be able to provide all Partners with a searchable database of the services provided across the network. 

Over time we will be seeking to use the Portal as a one stop shop for data that flows into Age UK from Partners, and by doing this we will be able to provide data back to partners, both access to the data itself and to reports with analysis of the data.  

Look out for more information on how to get involved in the Brand Partner Portal shortly. 

More information 

For more information about the approach and priorities, visit the Network Infrastructure Hub or contact the team at NetworkInfrastructure@ageuk.org.uk  

Pam Creaven 
Services & Partnership Affairs Director, Age UK 

Author: ageukcomms

Age UK

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