The Australian Red Cross is a legendary force for good in so many people’s lives. Founded in 1914, just nine days after the start of World War I, the organisation is a cornerstone of philanthropy and community delivering vital services to millions.
People are at the heart of The Red Cross. Australian Red Cross programs are run and managed by volunteers with oversight from Red Cross employees. Over 2.5 million people have volunteered with the organisation since its inception, and its network of stakeholders extends across partner organisations, emergency services, donors and customers. More than 200 services are delivered nationwide.
The rise and power of digital engagement meant that the Red Cross knew it had to find better ways of reaching present and future generations. However, as is common with so many established enterprises, its digital ecosystem had grown over time, driven by different needs and departments. The result was redundancy, lack of a single standard and confusing touchpoints. Many of the products and services lived in isolation and the experience for the end user often seemed fragmented.
The organisation was determined to build a central, unified experience for all its stakeholders – an experience that was best-in-class. They knew that executing on this vision was vital for the organisation to meet the challenges of a digital world and reach the next generation.
The goal was to create MyRedCross. Just as COVID arrived, LEVO was brought in.
Technology doesn’t work until people make it work. When it came to MyRedCross, people on both sides of the technology equation were critical for its success: the people who would use the technology and the people who would need to be on board to successfully implement technology across an organisation.
LEVO’s proven and unique structural mapping is a discovery methodology like no other that can turn seemingly intractable politics and non-communicative silos into a harmonious diplomatic machine. To make MyRedCross a reality, the LEVO team needed to bring the organisation on a journey of discovery that put the stakeholder first by seeing everything from his or her point of view.
LEVO rapidly conducted discovery workshops that brought everyone together and helped point the extended Red Cross family in the same direction, aligning priorities. One early challenge was around confirming taxonomy because there was confusion around how specific stakeholders, services and categories were named and defined.
“People became so excited by the transformation, they jumped on meetings early.”Donna Jiang, Senior Project Manager at Australian Red Cross
With the arrival of COVID, one challenge became even more urgent. The Red Cross made 98% of its shopping revenue from 180 bricks-and-mortar shops selling pre-loved items. With lockdown and social distancing restrictions, it suddenly became clear that making online a premier destination for the shopper was more important than ever. To do this, the LEVO team enabled a bespoke e-commerce platform, launched in time for Christmas.
An even more important element of the project was unifying the digital experience by recognising that a single stakeholder may have several different identities (e.g., volunteer, shopper, donor) when interacting digitally with the Red Cross. A key goal of MyRedCross was to create a self-service personalised portal that would seamlessly engage with these multiple-identities.
According to Danijel Andric, Interim CIO at Australian Red Cross, this ambitious goal was to provide a unified touchpoint that supported all stakeholders throughout their lifecycle. After all, today’s client could be tomorrow’s volunteer or donor and vice versa, and providing every individual with a consistent digital experience.
“The 360 degree of the stakeholder is essential,” he said. “Going to a single portal and observing how you interact with us is the true value of this platform.”
Many organisations strive to achieve this yet come up short. MyRedCross is a notable exception.
MyRedCross has launched. While the long-term benefits of MyRedCross will be realised over time as ease of engagement and positive user experience deepens stakeholder experience, efficiency gains are already being seen.
Consolidating back-end data processes in a secure infrastructure, and automating a range of administrative functions such as volunteer on-boarding have sped up processes freeing manual resources to focus on other more valuable activities.
“We have seen some obvious quick win benefits by moving to a platform-as-a-service. You are unshackled,” said Andric, noting that four channels have now been consolidated into one.
Even more important, the speed of the implementation has made the organisation see what’s possible and increased the appetite for even more participation and innovation. “Once people see it, they want to become part of the journey,” Andric said.
According to Andric, critical elements of digital projects, especially potential dead ends, often seem intangible to outsiders, but those who have undergone a digital transformation process know why avoiding these pitfalls are critical. “A proper blueprint can save months of effort,” Andric observes. “There will always be changing priorities, but you need to tie everything into the big picture.”
“LEVO has the architectural foresight to navigate these steps.”Danijel Andric, Interim CIO Australia Red Cross
That’s what LEVO did. “They have been instrumental,” he said. “LEVO has the architectural foresight to navigate these steps.” Part of the advantage was that he knew that LEVO had a wide scope of experience to draw from and specific experience around Episerver implementations across a range of organisations. “I really enjoy vendors who have done something a hundred times like LEVO.” Andric said that the key was a relationship that was a partnership in which the organisation and LEVO could openly talk about objectives and pain points.
“Everyone sees what’s possible now. LEVO has proven they’re a true adviser.”Donna Jiang, Senior Project Manager at Australian Red Cross
As a volunteer organisation focused on supporting the community, Australian Red Cross doesn’t have infinite resources, and, according to Andric, “it is critical that resources are well used.” One key LEVO benefit is providing a workable path to ongoing innovation built around this focus. This path is frequently overlooked when the focus is on the technology, but it involves true engagement with the people of the organisation and supporting them to see what the digital can deliver when the road map, the values and vision meet the right technology. “Everyone sees what’s possible now. LEVO has proven they’re a true adviser,” said Jiang.