Case study


Creating a home for NCVO’s digital properties on AWS Explore more projects

The challenge

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (NCVO) digital properties were a complex tangle.

The umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector represents more than 16,000 voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and social enterprises across England. Its practical resources help members spend less time on the day-to-day running of their organisations, freeing them up for the real focus of their work.

But over time, the council had ended up with disparate websites, content management systems and other tools. This lack of consistency meant managing NCVO’s digital properties was costly and time consuming – and using them was jarring and confusing.

The team needed someone to figure out how to untangle and streamline it all, making their digital properties and processes more efficient and consistent.

And they wanted partners who shared their values and ways of working – in particular, agile, open, multi-agency working.

The hunt for a partner who shared NCVO's values – agile, open, and collaborative – led them to Isotoma.

The proposition

Winning control of these digital properties was going to take a once-in-a-lifetime business change.

NCVO had already pinpointed AWS as its preferred hosting provider. We were recommended as the team to manage the transition, thanks to our extensive experience of AWS and Django, and our breadth of skills across DevOps and development.

The key was going to lie within the working relationships; co-ordinating the technical aspects while managing the needs of NCVO’s stakeholder network. We recommended setting up a working group with multiple specialist tech agencies – with Isotoma as infrastructure partner.

The project journey

Discovering that your digital properties aren’t working together effectively is a common enterprise issue, but most don’t plan for such an ambitious overhaul. As a charity, budget is always a consideration but NCVO secured grant funding from the National Lottery Digital Fund.

As mentioned, the team knew they needed AWS’s reliability, scalability and cost-effectiveness. And after several open conversations, they agreed we had the right skills and ambition to support their strategy.

To kick off, NCVO’s digital technology strategist helped the organisation to define its four-year technology strategy and set up the working group.

As you’d expect with such a large and complex organisation, there are lots of different interests to be protected and supported.

We worked closely with tech partners, NCVO’s business partners, internal programme managers and other stakeholders to secure their buy-in and make sure the process was as efficient as possible.

We liaised with the other providers to migrate their applications into AWS and bring them under one roof. Where possible, we moved to serverless tech and updated the applications, a process that continues today as we work to implement a single sign-on process across all NCVO’s properties and retire old systems.

Our own team and their NCVO counterparts kept in day-to-day contact with a dedicated Slack channel and regular progress meetings.

The impact

A real difference to communities across the country

Case study

Kubernetes migration for Pebble

Pebble – a specialist provider of funding and finance software to schools – was enjoying the growing success of its platform Fund Manager, which we’d taken from a Windows desktop application to an online SaaS product several years previously. But with hosting costs on the rise and complexity increasing, it was time for another update.

Explore our work with Pebble

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