Since implementing Claranet’s flexible and resilient hosting platform, Amnesty has been able to add further functionality to its websites. For example, it is now able to offer a self-service function to users wanting to access its resource system. This allows users visiting the Amnesty website to become members by signing up online and setting up direct debits themselves.
“Before Claranet’s hosting platform was in place, any e-commerce - where our members request information packs, CDs and other materials, or set up direct debits - had to be fulfilled manually as our website and applications couldn’t support this capability,” said Patel.
Claranet has helped us to simplify our back-end processes and to automate fulfillment, so that our staff can get on with more important things like building additional functionality to support our next campaign."
Moving to the cloud
For the second phase of its IT revamp, Amnesty is embracing social media tools and changing the content management system (CMS) on which its website is built. According to Patel, this has made the ability to flex, as online capacity requirements change, even more important, and has prompted the move to a new hosting platform, Claranet’s dedicated virtualised hosting platform (DVH or private cloud).
By moving to Claranet’s private cloud service, Amnesty now has in place the foundations to support its constantly changing requirements. “For example,” says Patel, “we recently ran a campaign highlighting Shell’s appalling human rights record in Nigeria, and using donations, had bought an ad in the Financial Times. At the last minute, however, the ad was pulled by the FT, infuriating campaigners. As a result, our blogosphere went completely crazy. Despite the huge spike in demand, our websites didn’t crash. Claranet’s virtualised platform meant that our server resources could be dynamically allocated to where they were needed.”
A dedicated cloud platform also enables Amnesty to avoid downtime. “From a business continuity and disaster recovery perspective, the virtual platform really delivers,” comments Patel. Amnesty no longer needs to downgrade servers when making a physical upgrade to its IT infrastructure; and should something happen to one server, the intelligence in the platform allows resource to be reallocated automatically ensuring continued uptime. “We also now have peace of mind knowing that, no matter what, an unknown third party supplier can’t turn off the website – everything is securely managed in Claranet’s cloud environment.”
The third and final phase of Amnesty’s digital strategy involves the launch of a revamped Amnesty International website in late 2011. This will mark the end of the three-year project in which, thanks to Claranet, the charity’s hosting infrastructure has been consolidated, simplified, and made more flexible and reliable. And through enhanced data analytics and online functionality, Amnesty has been able to better engage its members.
According to Patel, Claranet’s private cloud infrastructure will continue to be the foundation that underpins Amnesty’s digital communications strategy. The realisation of this strategy will help Amnesty to continue to fulfill its mission.