Bosom Buddies was founded in 1965 by a group of women to help support a friend who had been newly diagnosed and was about to start her breast cancer treatment. Volunteers provide support by offering patients a ‘buddy’ to assist them and their families through treatment.
Every patient receives a” Blue Buddies” bag that contains patient aids and information. Bosom Buddies also delivers “Breast Awareness” presentations to schools, government agencies and local businesses to help spread the word about the importance of early detection. It stays in touch with patients and members through regular newsletters, emails and social media.
Like many charities, the organisation is funded through donations from businesses, trusts and individual supporters and fundraising, so often has to rely on others’ generosity and make do with limited, outdated resources.
By mid-2016, the computer infrastructure at Bosom Buddies’ Pearce Community Centre had become completely unreliable and temperamental when completing basic functions. The old systems were incorrectly configured and poorly maintained, leading to volunteers being unable to shut down the computer, extended time delays due to rebooting and constant service drop outs. This was extremely frustrating for both staff and volunteers and posed a security risk, as the inability to shut down the office computer delayed important software updates.
An even greater problem was the impending closure of the charity’s infrastructure hosting provider after funding was withdrawn. This would mean Bosom Buddies losing its internet, local area network, software licences, crucial files and email services, making day-to-day work and communications with patients nearly impossible.
As a charity, Bosom Buddies was limited in its ability to fund upgrades or expensive hosting alternatives. Any new solution needed to be affordable long-term and enable Bosom Buddies to be much more self-sufficient, without expensive installation or licence fees. With its existing hosting provider about to close, time as well as money was limited.
Local Datacom infrastructure specialists Nathan Rodwell and Adam Herd donated their time to provide much-needed support to the charity. They worked closely with Bosom Buddies to assess its needs, proposing a solution requiring minimal ongoing effort, but making volunteers’ lives much easier. These simple but effective hardware and infrastructure changes completely transformed the charity’s existing system.
Bosom Buddies was also set up with a new web and email provider in a way that made it less dependent on other parties. Datacom provided Microsoft licences directly to Bosom Buddies, removing its reliance on external providers’ licences to do basic tasks like send emails or prepare newsletters. The team reconfigured the Bosom Buddies network setup and internet connection, organised the migration of the charity’s files to the new system and put a backup system in place especially tailored for small organisations.
While the changes were relatively small, the cumulative effect on productivity and efficiency for Bosom Buddies now that its systems are working correctly has been dramatic.
With the new network and hardware in place, Bosom Buddies’ office computer network is now much faster and there are no more problems shutting down! The independent backup system has made recovery of any data in the event of an outage much easier and not reliant on a hosting company.
Bosom Buddies is now completely self-sufficient, with its own web and email address. And, no longer requiring external IT support means the charity has saved precious fundraising dollars that can be much better spent on the patients and families that need it most.
“We now have a white box sitting on our desk at Pearce and it has changed our world. Our system is so much faster than it was, we never have any problems shutting down and we now log on as Bosom Buddies Admin – not some unknown person from five years ago! A massive thank you to Datacom – it was reassuring to have you come in to assess our needs and find the right solution.”
Kareen Tait - Executive Officer, Bosom Buddies