Cloud Technology Creates Greater Social Benefit

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Gap Consulting and Smart Works have implemented Microsoft’s intelligent cloud solution to support more women in need on their road to successful employment. They are now aspiring to win a ‘Technology for Good’ award.

Gap Consulting, Smart Works and Microsoft’s intelligent cloud support more women in need on their road to successful employment. Their Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution has maximised outreach and enabled social benefit. They are now aspiring to win a ‘Technology for Good’ award.

There are 717,000 unemployed women in the UK (March 2017 – UK Office of National Statistics,) and one UK charity is on a mission to change that with the help of the latest cloud technology from Microsoft.

Smart Works is a unique not-for-profit that helps women in need to succeed at job interviews. The charity provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training. The aim is to give women the confidence, self-belief and practical tools to secure employment, and start a new chapter of their life.

Last year Smart Works met with 1,800 women at their London office, and 2,700 across the UK. More than one in every two women who came through the charity went on to interview successfully for a new job. Just under half of the women who come to Smart Works have been previously unsuccessful in as many as 50 interviews. Feedback from the charity’s clients highlights the personal and social benefits:

“Smart Works gave me confidence and took a big weight off my shoulders. They made me feel like a person again, that I counted, and was part of society.”

The Smart Works vision of facilitating a woman’s journey into successful employment is complex to implement. It requires managing a database with accurate, reliable information to support funding applications; the ability to evaluate the process and the impact; and gaining insights and knowledge from the data available for effective strategic planning.

Smart Works selected Gap Consulting as their Dynamics 365 Partner to create a digital platform that manages appointment bookings, client communications via SMS and supports outcome-based reporting for regional offices, referrers, partners and Government agencies. The platform is highly secure and offers significant capacity for growth.

As a result, Smart Works have doubled their booking throughput, set up new offices and can prove the success of their services to all their key stakeholders.

Rosemary Ashworth, UK Head of Operations at Smart Works says:
“We have 100’s of referral partners who refer women to use our services such as Job centres, women’s charities, women’s refuges, and prisons. Dynamics 365 management information helps target services for referrers. This helps Smart Works recruit more referral partners locally, as we can now demonstrate service benefits. We can also identify types of referrers, for example, charities supporting refugees, who we need to engage with more because they currently refer very few people to us. By keeping staff and volunteers up-to-date with achievements, it keeps them close to our mission. Dynamics 365 dashboards show what’s happening; for example, how many women were helped each week and if they were successful.”

Key benefits to the charity as a result of implementing Dynamics 365 include:

  • Increased engagement of staff and volunteers
  • Mobile outreach extends the service to more women in the community
  • Services can be strategically targeted to the women who need them most
  • A ‘signposting service’ helps connect women to other Smart Works partner organisations
  • Improved knowledge and insight provides intelligence to new sites, volunteers and supporters
  • New offices can be up and running within hours
  • Positions the charity to ensure ongoing funding and accreditation
  • Automated intelligent communication reduces administration efforts
  • Minimal training requirement

Supporting the not-for-profit sector

Andy Dudley MD, Gap Consulting comments:
“As a Microsoft Gold CRM Partner, Gap now has a broad spectrum of not-for-profit customers and appreciates the need for them to look after their own clients, service users, donors and partners to a high standard. As well as Smart Works, Gap now enjoys close partnerships with many organisations in the sector including Shelter, Mencap, Girlguiding and The Scouts Association. “With a focus on value for money as well as the commerciality and professionalism of the sector it is a perfect fit for the Microsoft cloud proposition”.

Andy Clough, Dynamics 365 Solution Sales Professional, Microsoft UK says:
“Smart Works is demonstrating the power of utilising the Microsoft cloud in a strategic way and highlighting best practice for their sector. We are very excited about our partnership with Gap Consulting as they support Smart Works to be effective in helping more women in the community than ever before.”


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Rebecca Howard
Gap Consulting
+44 7796793337
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