Action Cancer’s primary challenge lay in their existing internal software, which was in need of legacy modernisation to ensure its continued support and security. The bespoke CRM and process management system (CID – Client Information Database) was on premise, meaning data was stored on a physical server in the office and managed all data, initiatives, donations, appointments, corporate services and referrals to GPs.
A secondary challenge was identified in the connectivity and scalability of the charity’s online booking system contained on their website. There was an opportunity to improve the booking system’s connectivity with their back office system and eliminate the occasional discrepancies caused by syncing issues. The scalability of the website’s booking system for corporate initiatives, such as the ‘Big Bus’ health checks, was also highlighted as an area to improve reliability and scalability.
It was agreed that the first step would be to upgrade the entire system and move it to the Cloud, ensuring data security, improved integration and continuous support.
The first part of the project was to set up a local development environment, upgrading the host server to the latest version of PHP and upgrading the underlying software framework to the latest stable release. Initially utilising GCD’s IDE to highlight and resolve deprecated code, our team then worked through the system alongside the Action Cancer team to verify the solution and improve security screen by screen.
From the outset of the upgrade process, a new cloud based architecture was developed in Microsoft Azure using Azure DevOps for continuous integration and continuous deployment.
On premise integration tools still needed to be maintained to integrate with the digital mammography machines to ensure scans were immediately available to the appropriate staff and consultants who review and provide referrals from directly within the software.
Once the system was migrated to the Cloud, we began the next phase of actively developing new features, which have helped them adapt to Covid-19. In 2021, we developed an additional service to allow clients to book appointments online for various services. This integrates directly with CID, where appointment availability is managed and integrates the booked appointments into appropriate Microsoft Office Calendars. Thanks to the integration of Microsoft Teams they can now have online appointments for their support and supplementary therapy services.
By moving the old solution to the Cloud, we’ve ensured a more robust, reliable and scalable solution allowing the team to access the system remotely while maintaining an upgraded and secure solution.
Not only have they benefited from service improvements but we were able to develop features that enable them to pivot and maintain services with minimal disruption despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
About Action Cancer
Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity and provides critical services around cancer awareness, prevention, detection and support. These include digital breast screening, support and therapeutic services, health checks and health promotion programmes.
They have multiple on-going initiatives such as the Big Bus which travels to 225 locations throughout Northern Ireland annually to deliver their health promotion programmes to schools, community groups and workplaces. As well as eighteen charity shops, campaigning and research, all without public sector funding.