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My name is Susan Smit. I'm the CEO of ACORN Foundation, based in Johannesburg.
We are a non-profit company focused predominantly on health and nutritional programs for early childhood development, but we do a lot other than that. We build infrastructure, replacing bad toilet with flushing toilets in our rural and urban areas, we do installation of food gardens and educational programs. We supply stationery and educational materials for early childhood development and for primary school.
What was the main business challenge you tried to resolve?
We had multiple challenges; IT infrastructure was one of those challenges. Prior to going on Office 365 , we were working independently on our laptops and basically working via emails, etc. We didn't have a platform in the cloud where we could all share documentation and access documentation. Our second problem - we've got 40,000 kids on our database, it's approximately 796 early childhood development centres. We collect a lot of information and data about centres and student. Then on a regular basis, like every two months, children would be assessed or measured their weight and their height and their heat, in their arms and etc. And we had to record that data, which we all did manually on Excel.
Did you manage to solve your challenge and how?
I did quite a bit of research and eventually came upon on Facebook page called SA NPO Network. I picked up Arnold from Phambano Technology first and started communicating with him, asking questions about how we as a non-profit could leverage or could benefit from a free or much reduced cost software, etc. And he put me in touch with Sompisi with Bhuti. Bhuti organized our free Office 365 licenses for all our users. I think it's up to 10, maybe more. Once that was done, Bhuti sated up everything for us. (Share Point and emails.) It was a breeze. I was waiting for something to happen because in the past, everything would happen, and it just run so smoothly.
Except the hardware procurement, we've probably spent a total of about 60,000 Rand since November 2019. That is not a lot of money. That's with the Windows licensing and monthly support.