Friday, November 18, 2011

Good will hunting

Touted by SAP Labs as the fastest product to be developed and released in India (it took all of 90 days!), the online portal, www.charitra.in, went live on 19 October in India and was launched in Madrid on 10 November. ‘ChariTra’ is abbreviated from ‘charity transformation’ and also means ‘character’. VR Ferose, Managing Director, SAP Labs India, says it was created with the intent ‘to convert needs to action and to build a bridge between systems of giving’.

Ferose goes back to a year ago when they were brainstorming about how to provide computer education to 100,000 children, free of cost and in a sustainable way, and how this became possible when they matched the excess to the needs. 

SAP Labs India Managing Director VR Ferose
They did what they do best – used the technology they have for a good cause. And what’s more, they now have 1.7 lakh customers with assets, and this customer base covers a wide spectrum of businesses from airlines to pharmaceuticals. Ferose points out that with Corporate Social Responsibility becoming a legal necessity, the website would be an ideal environment for connecting business networks.

A core team of 12 were brought together, headed by Ganapathy Subramanian, Vice President of Design & New Applications, to get the project off the ground. Subramanian explains how they used ‘design thinking’ and took inputs from volunteers at every stage to make the website more user friendly. The website is supported by SAP HANA, a high speed analytical application.

As a volunteer you can register on the website and based on your skills, time and interests, make a commitment to the social causes being promoted by non-profit organisations. You can also network with like-minded volunteers.

ChariTra, the online portal
When a non-profit organisation creates a cause it is moderated and published on the website within 24 hours. Currently, they have an unofficial tie-up with Bangalore Care to moderate activities being posted. Financial transactions on the website are a big no-no.

Subramanian recalls the speedy response that they received when a visually challenged girl required a laptop for a banking exam. She got one within two days of the cause being posted on ChariTra. The website also served as the default platform for the ‘Joy of Giving’ week when it registered a high volunteer activity as well as the ‘Month of Service’ at SAP, part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

The online portal continues to evolve as new features are being added to make it more accessible and user friendly. They plan to customise recommendations based on each user’s profile and to stay connected through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The website has 6000 users at present and 4000 promises have been met; the company’s intent to run the world in a better way is gathering momentum with ChariTra. And what does ChariTra bring back to the company? “The biggest value we get is good will,” says Ferose.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com


Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=51346687&id=2561&eddate=11/18/2011



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