azure devops, JUNE 2020

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) that invests in the education and development of individuals with entrepreneurial potential within Southern Africa. The Orbis Foundation identifies potential entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged communities and engages them in a full-service educational programme developed to cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset and skillset.

Tangent Solutions delivered a Self Self Service Portal and ecosystem that empowers the Orbis Foundation to manage candidates through the full lifecycle of their entrepreneurial journey.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

As an investment house dedicated to creating the next generation of entrepreneurs, the Orbis Foundation was committed to leading by example. They required a highly functioning candidate-management ecosystem. The Foundation is conscious that the technology their candidates use will set the expectations and experience-base for each cohort of candidates that pass through their programme; hence they were dedicated to providing superior user experience. 

Their solution needed to alleviate the administrative processes required for: 

  •  scholar, fellowship, and mentorship applications 
  • candidate selection 
  • onboarding new candidates into the program monitoring and assessment of their educational and emotional growth. 

In addition to automating the processes that were already an integral component of the candidate management, Orbis Foundation’s data analysts were keen to implement data-driven interventions. They required more accessible data to be able to perform advanced analytics, to answer questions such as: Which variables reliably provide early-warning signals of issues that may affect candidate success? What strategies improve outcomes in a personalised learning journey?

THE PROCESS

Tangent solutions worked closely with Orbis Foundation’s product owners during development, staging, and production. This deep integration between the product owners and the Tangent Solutions development team allowed fast feedback on issues and intense stakeholder input, enabling bi-monthly feature releases. A Scrum methodology with 2-week cycles was used along with Task Management, Source Control and Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CICD) using Azure DevOps. 

 The project was feature-flagged to ensure consistency between development and staging environments. Django best practices were applied to asynchronous and live development. As the portal utilises frontend javascript for page-by-page dynamic features, it was designed with responsiveness in mind. 

 Tangent Solutions worked with the Orbis Foundation to establish how to integrate with their preexisting toolset. The first step was to bring the entire Orbis Foundation into Dynamics CRM 365; from staff to applicants. This allowed all personal data to be managed by Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory

THE SOLUTION

Tangent Solutions developed a custom integration layer to collate personal data from Dynamics CRM 365, educational progress data from Moodle, and data input via the app interface. This data is then passed into an Azure data lake for analysis by Microsoft’s Power BI.  

The application utilises a microservices-based architecture implemented with Python and Django. Azure’s Kubernetes Service (AKS) is used to host the application on Azure. Images and documents are managed with Azure Blob Storage. Sensitive documents, such as Academic Transcripts, are automatically uploaded and submitted to the Foundation’s Sharepoint on Office 365 for internal processing.

THE OUTCOME

The Orbis Foundation now provides a streamlined application and approval process for candidates through its dedicated ecosystem. All candidates are enabled to self- report on academic performance and wellness through an application that is responsive to monitor size. 

Data is collected passively as candidates pass through the program, and actively during contact session feedback. All data is collated into a single Azure data lake providing the Orbis Foundation with a single comprehensive view of each candidate. 

The foundation is now positioned to apply machine learning algorithms, test the efficacy of alternative learning path strategies, and report on candidate progress. This NPO can provide real-time KPI metrics to their funders and other stakeholders. Also, the wealth of data they collate in Power BI dashboards on the economic realities of the people they support is now highly accessible to external stakeholders such as the South African government.

@TangentSolutions


@TangentSolutions


@TangentSolutions


@TangentZA