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Fighting Fire with Firewall: How Cloud Computing and CRM Helped A Community Recover from Disaster

Even as the summer draws to a close, summer wildfires continue to rage throughout the United States. In Yosemite National Park, a 371 square mile fire has destroyed homes and wildlife. The fire is 80% contained, but a great deal of work still remains to rebuild and help those affected. The government has already spent over $80 billion to fight the fire, what can they do next? A case study from Oracle may provide some solutions.

In 2009, Australia faced its worst natural disaster to date when a large series of bushfires broke out in the Victoria state, killing nearly 200 people and destroying 6,000 homes and buildings. Fortunately, the Victoria Department of Human Services (DHS) was not facing a lack of help. The Red Cross quickly volunteered their services and individuals from all over the world gave physical and monetary donations. In addition, 800 caseworkers from all over the country came to help individuals and communities rebuild. Unfortunately, the small rural state did not have the virtual or physical infrastructure to address all of these requests and client needs. That’s when Oracle came to the rescue.

In five days, Oracle built a system from scratch that addressed both crisis management and long-term community development by deploying a cloud based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) On Demand system. This was the first time the Victoria state Department of Human Services had used cloud computing. Victoria citizens were relocating constantly based on the fires and, thanks to cloud technology; their essential information from Victoria DHS followed them. Disaster relief grants and physical donations could be logged, tracked and accessed from anywhere in the cloud by case managers in Victoria.

Oracle made sure disruptions in wireless caused by the fires never impacted care and service delivery. Caseworkers would record information with a pen and paper and then immediately enter data on their own devices using Oracle CRM On Demand. Caseworkers could enter the information into offline devices, and then once the devices became reconnected, either because service was restored or because the case workers relocated, the data was automatically uploaded to the cloud so that records reflected real time developments. The information flow provided by Oracle allowed for “a faster, more effective community response,” according to the Victoria DHS Chief Information Officer, Grahame Coles.

This case study provides an important precedent as the United States deals with more severe and more frequent natural disasters. However, the story is also relevant for non-emergency situations. If Victoria DHS can implement an effective cloud-based, client services software system in just five days in emergency conditions, what’s stopping your agency?

For more on Oracle’s role in the relief effort, check out this powerful video.

Oracle offers an optimized and fully integrated stack of business hardware and software systems that helps organizations overcome complexity and unleash innovation. Check out their Optimize with Oracle group on GovLoop.

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