The most vulnerable in society depend on receiving help when their social networks or the public sector can’t provide it. This is where the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) steps in and commits to assist — this is their mission! With their team of 130 employees, 2,600 volunteers, and numerous donors that support their operations, the SRC of Zurich has been able to deliver humanitarian services to Swiss citizens through youth education and new-citizen acclamation and cultural orientation.
The SRC of Zurich needed a way for its dynamic team of employees and volunteers to effectively communicate and collaborate. HCL Connections was introduced by Belsoft (an HCL Business Partner) and was deployed at SRC of Zurich to provide quick and easy access to project information for both internal and external team members.
In order for the dynamic teams at the SRC to keep in constant contact and successfully execute on humanitarian projects, they needed a collaboration solution that would be quick to set up and easy to use. They needed a solution that would allow their employees and volunteers — who can range in age and computer skill level from young “digital savvy nomads” to elderly volunteers with little computer experience — to easily collaborate. It also needed to be mobile-device-enabled, for access from various job sites.
The SRC provides a wide range of services that center around its commitment to supporting human dignity and upholding the following values:
Humanity: Humans are fellow human beings, always and everywhere
Voluntariness: Real help does not need self-interest
Unity: Unique in every country and open to everyone
Universality: The humanitarian duty is global
An example of their good work is with the Youth Red Cross, where young volunteers conduct play and read-aloud sessions, as well as handicraft afternoons for children of asylum seekers. They support and educate school children with little knowledge of German and/or with learning disabilities. They also visit elderly people in senior living facilities to talk, read to them, and otherwise brighten their day. Another example is when the SRC welcomes new citizens to Switzerland and helps them “get on their feet” in a new country — teaching them a new language and coaching them in cultural adaptation — positioning people for better job opportunities.
To carry out their work, SRC of Zurich considered various collaboration tools in the market — including those from Microsoft — but selected HCL Connections because of its powerful capabilities and ease of use. Belsoft Collaboration, a valued HCL Business Partner, is the trusted advisor for the SRC of Zurich. Only a few of the SRC employees knew about Connections, so as part of an evaluation effort, Belsoft demonstrated how they could easily set up project communities, create guest accounts so that external volunteers could log in to learn about and share project content, and how it was all accessible from their mobile devices. The evaluation team then presented their findings on Connections to the decision-making board at SRC of Zurich and they approved the purchase, installation, and rollout of Connections. The persuasive facts that lead to the approval included Connection’s clean UI, no redundancy, ease of use for both novices and experts, and how quickly project communities could be setup and disseminated to the teams, giving everyone the ability to be productive on Day One.
The Connections rollout project took about 6 months to complete, including product installation, configuration, and a training workshop — along with growing adoption through employee word-of-mouth and daily use. Connections “sold itself” to the teams and use of it spread quickly, thanks to its intuitive and powerful capabilities that were immediately evident to all.
Today the employees and volunteers describe their Connections work experience as being more "comfortable" than it was before Connections was deployed. No longer is there time spent on lengthy searches for information and trying to reach people. Connections provides the team with project clarity — what needs to be done, by whom, and by when. And the assets are there, readily accessible from within the environment, to support the work.Today the employees and volunteers describe their Connections work experience as being more "comfortable" than it was before Connections was deployed. No longer is there time spent on lengthy searches for information and trying to reach people. Connections provides the team with project clarity — what needs to be done, by whom, and by when. And the assets are there, readily accessible from within the environment, to support the work.
They also found training costs to be minimal. Only one how-to training workshop for the staff was required, and, with their new Connections knowledge, teams could search and find things quickly and trust that the information they found was the valid, single source. Connections users appreciate their ability to share 100% of the key project content with project stakeholders. In general, the team is working faster, smarter, and getting their work done more effectively. A nice side effect has been greater employee job satisfaction and loyalty.
The team is working faster, smarter and getting their work done more effectively, thanks to HCL Connections.
— Markus Riziotis
Head of IT
Swiss Red Cross of Zurich
About the company
Swiss Red Cross of Zurich
The Swiss Red Cross, Canton of Zurich, is an independent aid organization in the canton of Zurich. Together with 2,600 volunteers and numerous donors who support them, the organization provides a range of support for people in difficult life situations.
About the Partner: Belsoft Collaboration Belsoft Collaboration AG is an independent and innovative solution provider with over 20 years of experience in the IT business. It is an award-winning HCL Business partner headquartered in Zurich, and it partners with their customers to provide powerful communication, collaboration, and integrations solutions, as well as tailor-made software applications.