The Chilean Red Cross improves disaster response

Boosting humanitarian relief efforts with IBM System x and Lotus

Published on 22-Jul-2011

Validated on 01 Oct 2013

"We have been impressed with the generosity of the IBM donation and are grateful for the level of support we are receiving throughout the implementation process. The IBM donation will contribute greatly to the modernization of the Chilean Red Cross, helping us achieve our goal of becoming a more efficient humanitarian organization." - Ismael Espina, IT Administrator, Chilean Red Cross

Customer:
Chilean Red Cross

Industry:
Healthcare

Solution:
Cloud Computing, SmartCloud - Solutions, Collaborative Innovation, Optimizing IT

Overview

Headquartered in Santiago, the Chilean Red Cross seeks to promote the International Red Cross Federation’s humanitarian values in Chile. The Chilean Red Cross focuses predominantly on three key areas, namely: disaster response, disaster management, and health. The organization has been active in Chile for over a century and currently has more than 100 employees working in a number of offices across the country.

Business need:
To replace manual processes and enable higher speed in managing projects and coordinating emergency response, the Chilean Red Cross needed an efficient automated resource management solution.

Solution:
IBM donated IBM® System x® 3250 M2 and IBM System x3250 M3 servers powered by Intel® Xeon® Processors, running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. IBM is also implementing Sahana and IBM Lotus® software.

Benefits:
IBM System x servers provide a powerful yet efficient server solution. Sahana ensures effective emergency resource management while IBM Lotus software will improve management efficiency.

Case Study

Headquartered in Santiago, the Chilean Red Cross seeks to promote the International Red Cross Federation’s humanitarian values in Chile. The Chilean Red Cross focuses predominantly on three key areas, namely: disaster response, disaster management, and health. The organization has been active in Chile for over a century and currently has more than 100 employees working in a number of offices across the country.

The IT infrastructure challenge
As a humanitarian organization, the Chilean Red Cross needs to coordinate fast and efficient emergency responses in the event of a large-scale disaster.

However, with little or no IT infrastructure, the organization lacked the means to manage its resources optimally, particularly when coordinating emergency relief efforts. “The vast majority of the logistics work carried out in our Santiago headquarters and branches was done with personal computers or simply using pen and paper,” said Ismael Espina, IT Administrator, Chilean Red Cross. “Equally, we had no internal IT platform to coordinate activities between our Santiago headquarters and regional offices, making it difficult to collaborate on projects across our branches.”

He adds, “All in all, a major technological overhaul was needed to modernize our organization and improve its operational efficiency.”

Assistance from IBM Global Technology Services
As part of its corporate responsibility program, IBM Global Technology Services supplied a number of IBM solutions to the Chilean Red Cross, to provide the organization with a customized IT architecture. IBM set out to identify the principal needs of the organization and established that it required a robust server platform and specialist communication and collaboration software.

With this specification in mind, IBM Global Technology Services is currently assisting the Chilean Red Cross in the implementation of IBM System x3250 M2 and IBM System x3250 M3 servers powered by Intel Xeon 3400 Series Processors and running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. “The IBM system x platform is well-suited to the size of the Red Cross branches receiving IBM technology donations,” said Cecilia Anríquez, Chilean Red Cross Project Manager, IBM Chile. “What’s more, as an NGO, the Chilean Red Cross does not have a limitless budget for utilities. The low energy consumption, reliability and price-performance of the IBM System x servers featuring Intel Xeon Processors will enable the organization to maintain low operating costs.”

In addition, IBM has customized and implemented Sahana Open Source Disaster Management software, running on Linux, and will shortly be rolling out cloud-based IBM SmartCloud Services (formerly LotusLive services).

“Above all, our priority is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the IBM systems,” said Cecilia Anríquez. “The IBM solutions need to be easily manageable by the Red Cross IT team and accessible to all Red Cross employees and volunteers. For this reason, IBM Chile is offering comprehensive training to Chilean Red Cross users to ensure they feel at ease with the new solutions.”

Improving disaster response and management processes
Sahana Open Source Disaster Management software was first developed following the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami and is designed specifically for non-profit organizations. The software contains a number of modular, web-based disaster management applications which together help coordinate emergency responses in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

IBM worked with the Chilean Red Cross to ensure that all Sahana applications were customized to meet the exact protocols of the Red Cross Federation. “Sahana emerged as the right choice after the Chilean earthquake of February 2010 when the Missing Person module was discussed in detail,” said Cecilia Anríquez Cespedes. “The module enables users to enter very specific characteristics about missing individuals, such as height and hair colour, in order to create an online bulletin board with descriptions of missing people and information about those attempting to locate them.”

In addition, Sahana’s Volunteer Coordination module enables the Chilean Red Cross to harness its pool of volunteers in a faster and more efficient manner by creating volunteer directories containing volunteer contact information, availability and specialist skills. Synchronized with Google Maps, the module also enables the Red Cross to establish which volunteers are based closest to disaster-affected areas, ensuring faster first responses.

The Chilean Red Cross also benefits from customized Inventory Management modules, which list the location and expiry date of medical and food supplies.

Improving long-term project management processes
The implementation of IBM business productivity software - IBM Lotus Symphony and IBM SmartCloud services, hosted in cloud computing centers - will facilitate the exchange of information and the sharing of expertise and resources across Chilean Red Cross branch offices. IBM Lotus Symphony will offer a full suite of office applications, while IBM SmartCloud services will provide Chilean Red Cross employees and volunteers with the collaboration tools to work concurrently on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Far-reaching benefits
The donation of IBM technologies to the Chilean Red Cross has given the organization an entirely new IT infrastructure which will vastly improve its management processes.

“Centered on the IBM System x platform, the IBM IT infrastructure donated to the Chilean Red Cross is closely tailored to the organization’s needs,” said Cecilia Anríquez. “The strong performance of the systems and the Intel Xeon processors will help the Chilean Red Cross to respond faster and more effectively to resolve humanitarian crises.”

The implementation of customized Sahana software has equipped the Chilean Red Cross to offer more effective emergency responses in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster. The repository of information created by the software modules after a catastrophe will also be an invaluable reference for the coordination of future relief efforts.

“Lotus Symphony and IBM SmartCloud services will enable Red Cross branches in Chile to collaborate more effectively when managing projects,” says Ismael Espina. “Our estimates show that the Lotus software should improve our internal management efficiency.”

Ismael Espina concludes, “We have been impressed with the generosity of the IBM donation and are grateful for the level of support we are receiving throughout the implementation process. The IBM donation will contribute greatly to the modernization of the Chilean Red Cross, helping us achieve our goal of becoming a more efficient humanitarian organization.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System x: System x3250 M2, System x: System x3250 M3

Software:
Lotus Symphony, LotusLive Notes

Operating system:
Linux

Service:
GTS Integrated Technology Services, IBM Global Services

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Systems and Technology Group, Route 100, Somers, New York 10589, U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America. July 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Lotus and System x are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, either expressed or implied.