Job Title : Head of information systems
Organization : Age UK
As head of information systems for Age UK, Alan Crawford has delivered an end-to-end transformation of the charity's infrastructure to create a system that is agile, scalable and cost-effective.
Crawford was appointed head of IS immediately after the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged in April 2009.
To thrive, Age UK needed a strong IT infrastructure: in 2009 it had two legacy infrastructures and a split operating model, half outsourcing contract and half inhouse team.
With a significant transformation of the entire infrastructure required, he tackled the operating model. The outsourcing contract was ended and Age UK joined Charityshare, a not-for-profit joint-venture that effectively pooled the IT teams and skills of various organisations. This move gave Age UK access to the equivalent of a managed-services provider at reduced cost.
Over the past two years Age UK and Charityshare have completed the transformation to provide a modern infrastructure, including: migration to commercial datacentres, a virtualised server infrastructure, a single wide-area network for 500 sites, standardised local-area networks, one domain, a new Exchange organisation, a new file-services structure and a new voice platform.
The final piece of the jigsaw was transforming desktops to include Office 2010 and Windows 7. Over the same period Age UK has transformed itself, with a new website, CRM consolidation involving seven million individuals' records, rollout of EPoS tills and thin clients to 450 shops, a radio station called The Wireless, and HR and finance-system consolidation.
Before his current role, Crawford was seconded to the merger team for a year as a programme manager. He has been head of IT at three other UK charities and previous experience includes outsourcing and local authorities.
At home, Crawford meditates on why he chose a career in IT.
Toby Wolpe is a senior reporter at TechRepublic in London. He started in technology journalism when the Apple II was state of the art.