The charity’s website was increasingly becoming the core platform for engaging with its stakeholders, donors, patients, and carers. However, the site lacked the reliability and stability required, and was not set up to grow with the British Heart Foundation’s ambitions.Solutions Cloud, Cloud Adoption & Migration, Public Cloud, Applications, Security Platforms Applications, Cloud, Microsoft Azure
Accelerating the mission to beat heartbreak forever through technology
The British Heart Foundation is the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. Voluntary contributions account for 80 per cent of its revenue, totaling £136.4 million in 2017-2018. It also operates over 700 stores across the UK as well as an online store, collecting, sorting, and selling second-hand goods to further its fundraising efforts.
“The British Heart Foundation is a special place,” said Mary O’Callaghan, Director of Technology Engagement at British Heart Foundation. “Over the last 50 years, UK deaths from heart and circulation diseases have fallen by half, but to bring them down even further we need to be constantly innovating, looking at new ways to use data and patient insights. To help achieve this we need to increase our funding, not just in the UK, but globally too.”
A platform to support life-saving research
The charity knew it needed a better technology infrastructure to support these ambitious goals. Its website has become increasingly important for delivering on the promise of its mission for 2030, with its online retail business, fundraising campaigns, and acting as a source of information for all stakeholders. Working with Rackspace Technology, the British Heart Foundation migrated to Microsoft Azure, giving it a platform that is both reliable and scalable.
As much as 80 per cent of the charity’s income comes from voluntary contributions, of which just over 60 per cent is legacies. The rest comes from a variety of fundraising sources, including community activities, events, major gifts, and mass participation events. Increasingly, these fundraising efforts rely on the British Heart Foundation’s website to promote and provide information, as well as acting as a donations channel itself.
“The website was fit for purpose around six to eight years ago,” explained Amit Patel, head of enterprise architecture at the British Heart Foundation. “But more recently it has struggled to scale up as needed. We’ve seen massive growth in digital donations and sign-ups. For instance, our London to Brighton Bike Ride is a major annual event, and all of its information and fundraising is processed through the website. We see a major peak in online traffic during this time, and we’ve had issues in the past with the website slowing down, grinding to a halt, or even crashing, which hampers the user experience and can hinder people from supporting us.”
The charity realized that in order to grow and meet its targets, it needed a platform that had the reliability and scalability to support it. After establishing exactly what it needed, the British Heart Foundation appointed Rackspace Technology as a strategic partner through a procurement exercise and Microsoft Azure was selected as the cloud platform for its reliability and Platform as a Service offering.
“We’ve been working with Microsoft directly over the past two years but didn’t have the capability to migrate to and run Azure in-house. Rackspace Technology provided expertise and experience with Azure, as well as collaboratively working as an extension of our team to make sure everything was exactly how we wanted it to be,” said Amit.
“We chose Azure because we could design a scalable, reliable base, and were interested in its Platform as a Service offering.”
“Rackspace Technology brought a lot of knowledge, which we simply wouldn’t have been able to get on our own. It has really opened its doors to us and worked as a partner, not simply a service provider.”
A foundation for today and tomorrow
Since the migration, both Mary and Amit feel the entire business is responding differently to the website. “There’s a much more relaxed attitude towards the website,” said Amit. “In the past, there had been concerns over whether certain campaigns would break it. After the move to Azure, we ran a campaign on dementia. Traffic was significantly up, but we didn’t encounter any of the issues across the site that we had in the past. We’re going to be pushing a lot more traffic through it in the coming months and years, and we’re reassured it will be able to perform optimally.”
The modern platform has not only provided the foundation for the British Heart Foundation’s 2030 strategy but has already proved valuable in attracting the talent that will help them deliver it. “We’ve now got an industry-leading platform, which makes it easier to attract and retain the talent we need to make our ambitions a reality. It’s the first time we’ve had IT and digital working together, with Rackspace Technology as a guide. That sets up all sorts of possibilities of what we might achieve in the future,” said Mary.
Looking to the future
The migration was always about providing a future-proofed platform to support the British Heart Foundation and its 2030 strategy. Now it is in place, the website is opening up new possibilities the internal IT team couldn’t have previously considered. “Having this new, expandable platform, which can access all the tools Azure supports, is helping us think of new ways of helping patients via digital technologies. At the same time, it’s unlocking innovative approaches to fundraising and revenue generation,” said Mary.
And while the new site is reliable and scalable, the charity knows it is just the first step in order to keep in line with technological advances. “People are going to be going more digital and we need to be with them. We’re looking at Platform as a Service with Rackspace Technology, which will help us be more agile, more scalable, more stable. It’s ongoing, and it’s the way we can best use technology to reach our targets,” said Amit.
About Rackspace Technology
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