In the 1990s, Indonesia’s social issues such as high school dropout rates, substance abuse, and street crime, appeared to be bound up in a complex relationship. Veronica Colondam thought, love may be the answer. She went on to found Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB, or ‘Loving the Nation’s Children’) Foundation, which focuses on: promoting healthy lifestyles; providing alternative education and vocational training; entrepreneurship and job creation programs.
Since its inception in 1999, YCAB Foundation has grown from strength to strength in promoting youth development. Staff headcount clocks in at 655 today. Its work has expanded to 20 provinces in the country and beyond its shores to provide seed funding for other projects in countries such as Myanmar and Uganda.
“To be the only Indonesian non-governmental organization (NGO) among the top 100 NGOs in the world is testament to the effort we’ve been putting in over the last 17 years,” said Veronica. It was first placed at the 74th position in 2013, and then rose to 49th place in 2016.
However, as operations grew, so did its workload. It was hard work sifting through and trying to make sense of the rapid data growth. Has the organization achieved desired outcomes? What do they need to do next? Program managers and the management needed answers quickly, but few were to be found.
With times a-changing, expectations evolved too. Teachers saw the need for greater provision of individualized learning support. Online courses would help students reinforce what they had learnt. Course materials had to be on a central repository so every student can have convenient access to them anytime, anywhere.
It was time for its IT capacity to catch up with the work.
Anton Suwoto, Chief Technology Officer at YCAB Foundation, worked with Microsoft Indonesia to deploy the cloud-based Office 365 apps and Dynamics CRM Online, as well as create intranet portals hosted on the Azure platform. The management and program managers use Microsoft Power BI to visualize and analyze data about student performance and enrolment numbers. Students use Office 365 Classroom to share documents with classmates and teachers, and to check assignment deadlines using the Calendar function.
Through the Azure-based administration portal, staff were able to greatly reduce administrative work and eliminate data discrepancies—a problem that has plagued the nonprofit for years. It also serves as reporting tools for management to gain insights, so as to empower informed decisions and better planning.
The single largest impact came from the use of Office 365. Before, emails would fly in one after another—whether it is about proposing new agendas, sharing meeting notes or reminders on tasks and updates—even as staff and senior leaders struggled to consolidate them. This changed with SharePoint Online, which revolutionized the way the organization work. Gone were the days where they had to comb through their archives for the latest document version; now, all they need to do is update documents shared in the cloud. What’s more, several people can work on the same document simultaneously on any device. For instance, an administrator can update a shared class roster while a teacher checks it in class.
Anton observed, “We have about 2,000 students, and a large workforce dispersed over a wide geographical region. Moving to the cloud has seen a 90% efficiency boost in the way we interact and work across the entire organization.”
The changes can be felt in the richer learning experiences. Teachers and students now communicate instantly and work on projects easily, whether they are in an Internet café or on their mobile phone while commuting. They are also making full use of a new educational portal to swap job search tips on a forum, contact mentors, and download curriculum resources whenever they want.
YCAB Foundation has already changed three million lives. Given its IT transformation, which in turn enables improvement in operations and services, the nonprofit’s vision of reaching five million youth worldwide by 2020 may be realized even sooner.