Charity Laptops Reach the Schools where they’re Most Needed
One Education, a spin-off of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) empowers teachers and children with educational opportunities and a rugged, low-cost laptop connecting them to a whole learning community. In 2012, the Australian government contracted One Education to reach 50,000 disadvantaged children, a 10-fold increase in what the organization had delivered prior.
One million mobile (laptop and tablet) computers for Australian students in need. That’s the goal of One Education CEO Rangan Srikhanta. It’s a goal he says “is only achievable with the help of Salesforce.”
At the heart of One Education’s mission is the XO-duo – at around just $200 it’s a subnotebook computer that uses a Linux operating system and Sugar user interface. With an ongoing investment of $15 million dollars into Australian schools, One Education is committed to ensuring its computers and learning programs reach the students that most need them.
Using Salesforce as the organization’s logistics, customer service, accounts and management foundation, One Education has emerged from a mire of high cost and complexity. “At the back end, we had a raft of different systems that were tracking applications from schools, the location of XO devices already out there, teacher training, finances, and the list goes on. It was model that after just 15 schools, we realized wasn’t going to scale easily.”
Salesforce delivered a single platform cloud solution that has completely transformed the entire operation into a highly manageable, scalable model of efficiency. Rangan says that with this new model in place One Education has confidently accepted federal government funding for 50,000 machines, which are headed for 300-500 schools: “That’s a whole lot of relationships, training, asset tracking and financial management that we just weren’t set up to handle previously.”
These days it’s all quite straightforward.
For any of the 8,000 schools in Australia, determining their eligibility for the program is simply a matter of entering the school name on the One Education website. The site immediately responds with the total investment required by the school and the amount for which it is eligible under the scheme. In the background, it’s a database linked to Salesforce doing the hack work.
One Education obtained demographic and socio-economic data from the Federal Government, using Salesforce to analyze the data and automatically identify schools eligible for the program. “Every time someone enters the name of a school on the website, Salesforce is in the background verifying the data and providing them with the eligibility response and pre-filling the sign-up form, helping us to cut down sign-ups to less than 2 minutes (previously 30 minutes)” Rangan says.
Aside from the management of schools and devices there’s a training program for school staff, managed and tracked in Salesforce – machines can’t be sent out to a school without trained people on the ground. “The time and money we are saving through bringing our training program into Salesforce is substantial,” Rangan states. “These days training materials and support are accessible on the XO, which take teacher registrations and track course progress. Once the XOs connect to the internet, they communicate with our database, adding new contacts or merges with existing contacts – and assigning them to the correct school.”
“We’re no longer going down a path of separate systems, with all the challenges of trying to get them to talk to each other. We’ve been there before and it was a complete waste of money, it put us at the mercy of too many individual consultants.
Instead with Salesforce, we can confidently shape and scale our program as we go and trust that if we are going down the right path – there’s an AppExchange app for it!”