Cost-cutting, social media, cloud hosting: All in a day's work for Amnesty International's IT dept

Interview: Head of IT Kamesh Patel on how tech is supporting the cause of global human rights...

...member of our web presence, has a single log-on into our systems and not multiple, therefore we can service them at CRM level to ensure we get them the right communications, we know who they are, they only need to fill in their details once, and they can continue to fill in more and more details about themselves if they wish but we will only ever ask for it once," Patel said.

The website uses private cloud technology

The website has benefited from moving to a private cloud infrastructureImage: Amnesty International

Other functionality Amnesty International wants to add to its websites is the ability for members to set up direct debits for contributions via the website, making the whole donation process easier.

Social media is high on the agenda too, and the organisation is looking at how it can use social tools to drive more users to Amnesty's sites, as well as incorporating elements of social media into the websites themselves to raise awareness and encourage greater engagement with the organisaton.

"We're now embarking on an approach where we're going to be where these people are - so on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter. And where it's appropriate, we will bring them back to or for either necessary information or to take an action or carry out some kind of activity on our behalf to engage further people and get our messages out, then they're welcome to go back to their social sphere where they exist," he said.

As well as drawing people in from social networks, Patel's team is attempting to capture data to get a better understanding of what's going on in the social sphere and work out what kinds of conversations Amnesty International could benefit from joining.

"We're trying to steer the conversation in the way that it...