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The RAF Benevolent Fund was founded in 1919 to support all serving and former members of the RAF, as well as their partners and dependent children. Through its HQ in London and offices across the UK, the charity spends over £18 million each year helping over 60,000 beneficiaries.
It is also responsible for the maintenance of two major war memorials: the RAF Memorial and the new Bomber Command Memorial.
With their ageing system reaching end-of-life, charity organisation Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) faced the challenge of providing an IT system which was not only reliable and secure but also within their tight financial restraints.
No government funding means that the RAF Benevolent Fund is completely reliant on private donations and fund-raising. As a result, it has a strong focus on ensuring maximum return on investment in the knowledge that every penny spent on IT means less going to a beneficiary.
With much of its on-premise infrastructure coming to the end of its life, the charity was facing some significant challenges. However the most pressing IT issue was downtime.
Gary Ross, Head of IT, explains “Downtime can have a devastating effect on the charity. If our systems are down, we cannot receive or process any donations. Not only does this mean we may miss out on contributions, it may mean we can’t get urgently needed funds to our beneficiaries. We cannot let our beneficiaries down, so it’s crucial we ensure constant systems availability for the HQ.”
Another key concern was security. Ross continues, “It is absolutely essential that we keep all our data secure. Details of our financial donations are highly sensitive; it would be very damaging to the charity – especially to our reputation – if compromised.”
I needed a partner who could work alongside me to ensure that the RAF Benevolent Fund gets the best long-term value from its ICT investment. Redcentric understood how important it is that we put the needs of our beneficiaries above everything else and I know they will go the extra mile to ensure that when the job is done, I’m 100% happy. They are an exceptional team.
Aware of both these issues, and sensitive to the RAF Benevolent Fund’s cost concerns, Redcentric recommended migrating from a physical server and PC environment to a virtualised server and Citrix farm solution.
Not only did this provide a resilient infrastructure that could be scaled to meet future needs, it also reduced the up-front investment and the ongoing running costs. In addition, the Citrix element centralised the application management, reducing processing demand, improving security and extending the life of the PC estate by several years.
Furthermore, to ensure uptime and the security of the solution, Redcentric proposed a full suite of managed infrastructure support, including: back-up management, AV and patch management, monitoring services, network and security management and 24/7 service desk.
The new infrastructure has had a dramatic effect on the charity. Most importantly, downtime has been significantly reduced, as has the total cost of ownership, due to the low up-front investment required. This means that a larger percentage from every donation received can be directed towards beneficiaries.
Furthermore, the RAF Benevolent Fund now owns an IT solution that is highly scalable, making it simple to expand as and when required in the future.
“I have complete confidence in the team. They understand how important it is that we put the needs of our beneficiaries above everything else, and they support us all the way.”
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