Avanade gives back in the Netherlands

  • Posted on August 26, 2016

Sharing knowledge, wisdom and work ethic with students is the mission of Giving Back, a small foundation situated in Amsterdam. The name is perfectly suited for what the company stands for: literally giving back to their community. The people working at Giving Back are dedicated to connecting students with mentors from partner organizations to help them grow personally and professionally. Matching students with professionals sounds simple enough, but that is not always the case.

To match a mentor and mentee, both have to sign up at Giving Back. Until recently this was a manual process that required both students and professionals to complete paperwork that captured their personal information, study history, motivation, points of interest and so on. More than 150 questions are needed to be able to get a good profile – and this took quite a bit of time. But it didn’t end there. All of this information was brought in on paper, typed into worksheets, discussed via email, printed out, sorted, matched, used in meetings, retyped neatly and then filed into folders. Not efficient for the students nor the professionals, and certainly not a process that enabled Giving Back to quickly and accurately match mentors and mentees.

As you can imagine, it was quite a relief for the whole organization when a colleague from Accenture deployed an online survey to improve the registration process of Giving Back.  The first step in easing the sign up process had been realized. The next step was digitalization. I was invited to help with this phase of the project. Our challenge was having a lot of unstructured information coming in that had to be stored and displayed in a manner that is logical, useful and clear for everybody related to Giving Back. We were able to change a highly manual and labor intensive process to just two steps! The student and mentor fill in the online survey and the admin from Giving Back imports this information into the Giving Back CRM system. The data is now turned into valuable information that is accessible through the CRM system and ready to be used by multiple users!

“I want to start already, where is my password?” was the reaction by one of Giving Back’s team members when they saw the solution and the power that the system represented. They now have time back in their schedule to focus on the mission of the organization – bettering the lives of students - rather than the administration of their back end processes.

I enjoyed this great experience from A to Z. I met a group of five enthusiastic individuals who are committed to helping eager high school-students, bachelor students and master students learn new skills in the cities of Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Utrecht, four major cities in the Netherlands. Helping Giving Back was my first project at Avanade and a great one, I learned a lot and had fun along the way. I look forward to continuing to work with Giving Back in the future to help them along their digital journey!

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