SAAS IMPLEMENTATION AT FARESHARE
The world has rapidly moved to a paperless environment with the advent of the computer and now the cyber world is taking over where individuals, groups and corporate have recognised the internet as the next big thing. The advent of Web 2.0 technologies has been instrumental in the shift away from standalone desktops and workstations to a virtual platform that exists in cyberspace. This shift has given rise to a virtual space for users to get connected, develop applications and share information. In this report we wish to elaborate on our efforts to provide a company, namely Fareshare, with an online platform to interact with its partners and everyone associated with it. To give a brief outline, Fareshare is a non-profit organisation providing charities with quality food that would otherwise have been wasted by big retail outlets and super markets. The organisation aims to tackle two major issues namely food poverty and food waste, by spreading the slogan “no good food shall be wasted.” Problem Identification:
Fareshare is spread across sixteen locations in the U.K. We visited the office in Birmingham, where we discussed with Mr. Clive Litchfield, the Administration Officer at Birmingham, the working of the organisation. The Birmingham Office had tied up with over fifty charities based in Birmingham and provided them with food, on demand provided they had stock. On the supply side, they tied up with Sainsbury’s, a well known mega retail store that agreed to provide free food, a week or two before the “expiry date” which would otherwise head for landfill. Now the problem we identified here was that being a small organisation, Mr Clive was required to take inventory of the stock and personally feed it into his system every morning. Then the rest of his morning went in calling these charities and reading out the entire inventory and taking the order for every single item. The order was then passed onto the delivery guys who would take the items from the warehouses and drive the vans full of food to the charities. The delivery guys were mostly volunteers who had to sign up in person at the office every morning. This seemed more like the job of a waiter at a diner than an official in charge. The above process, according to us was cumbersome for everyone involved. Mr. Clive spends hours calling each charity to take the orders. Each call lasts a good twenty minutes. Charities have to call and listen to all the items available. Volunteers signing up for delivery have to go in person to sign up for deliveries without knowing where they would be required to go. These issues, we believe can be solved with the help of some Web 2.0 tools by incorporating cloud computing into the processes followed at Fareshare to make them smoother and much more efficient. Thus the task at hand for us is to provide the said company with an online infrastructure to increase efficiency and reduce costs in the long run at a minimal cost applying SaaS of Web 2.0 and cloud computing technologies.
Tools in Aid – “Web 2.0, Cloud Computing and SaaS”
Web 2.0, according to us is a revolutionary way of using the web. The whole ideology behind Web 2.0 is to showcase how powerful the web is and how rapidly there has been a shift in the utility that the internet provides. Web 2.0 is a category of new Internet tools and technologies created around the idea that the people who consume media, access the Internet, and use the Web shouldn't passively absorb what's available; rather, they should be active contributors, helping customize media and technology for their own purposes, as well as those of their communities. It is the beginning of a new era in technology — one that promises to help nonprofits operate more efficiently, generate more funding, and affect more lives (Techsoup.com). Web 2.0 uses web as a platform for harnessing collective intelligence using data...
References: Accounts APIs, AuthSub for Web Applications, http://code.google.com/apis/accounts/docs/AuthSub.html [accessed 17/04/2010]
Armbrust, M et al , Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing, February 10, 2009
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