Barnardo's Case Study

5 mins

Barnardo's, the UK's largest children's charity, partnered with Understanding Solutions to overcome challenges including cloud migration, complex data architecture, and GDPR compliance. Understanding Solutions deployed expert teams to create a cloud strategy and migration plan, improve data architecture with agile practices, and establish data governance frameworks. The collaboration led to the development of a DevOps culture, a successful data architectural framework implementation, and enhanced data quality.

Client Overview

Headquartered in Barkingside, London, Barnardo's is the UK's largest children's charity in terms of expenditure. Their 800+ services nationwide, coupled with 700+ retail stores, have a transformative impact on vulnerable youth and families. Established in 1866 by Thomas John Barnardo, the organisation reached 357,276 individuals in 2022 through 794 services and partnerships.

The Challenges

Before teaming up with Understanding Solutions on various projects, Barnardo's grappled with a range of challenges that underscored the need for external expertise:

  1. The organisation sought to migrate to a cloud-based setup for cost-efficiency, security, and efficiency but lacked specialised know-how.

  2. Capacity limitations hindered the implementation of a complex data architectural framework.

  3. Handling sensitive data under GDPR regulations posed uncertainties requiring external guidance.

These challenges prompted collaborative solutions with Understanding Solutions to enhance their cloud migration strategy, deploy expertise for data framework implementation, and ensure data security and compliance.

The Solution

Following this, Understanding Solutions created the data quality and governance framework and delivered this to two departments before suggesting replacing our project team with a permanent resource to save money and build long-term internal knowledge to consistently improve the data environment.

These findings were then converted into a plan, displaying how fixes would be executed, which included setting up data quality/data governance frameworks.

Understanding Solutions also deployed a Data Architect, quickly identifying in-house issues through a data capability assessment.

Understanding Solutions quickly realised the Agile practices were below par, so we decided to put an Agile improvement plan in place. Simultaneously whilst delivering the data architectural framework, we implemented new agile practices to improve how agile works within the charity.

Understanding Solutions augmented expertise into Barnardo’s Data & Insight team, to share knowledge, while including them in the decision-making process, implementation choices, and prioritisation.

Three months later, we presented the cloud strategy back to Barnardo’s, including a deployment and migration plan, which then progressed the project to Phase 2. We shifted the deployed resources and embedded a DevOps team to execute the strategy and deployment plan, outlined in the first phase of the project. We then augmented our DevOps team within Barnardo’s, upskilling the team throughout the project, embedding the new process, and swapping in skills when the project demanded change.

Understanding Solutions proposed deploying one of our expert Agile Delivery Managers to project-manage and coordinate the successful delivery of the data architectural framework. After comprehending Barnardo's needs, we swiftly deployed a small but highly effective Cloud Architecture team to fully understand the current environment, any limitations, and all requirements.

Due to expertise capacity issues with their fully saturated existing team, Barnardo's sought consultancy assistance to facilitate the delivery of the new data architectural framework. The charity lacked the expert capability needed for such a complex delivery.

Barnardo's had some capabilities internally but lacked the specialist knowledge in-house to lead on cloud migration, yet desired a joint project venture to be controlled in-house, providing the transfer of knowledge they urgently required.


By establishing a data governance and data quality framework, Understanding Solutions empowered Barnardo's to extend implementation throughout the organisation. Barnardo's were able to take Understanding Solution’s plan and deploy it further and can now independently manage the entire process. Leveraging our expertise, Barnardo's experienced a significant improvement in data quality, reinforcing data integrity, and enabling more informed business decision-making.

Understanding Solutions seamlessly delivered the new Data architectural framework, consistently integrating agile methodologies throughout the project lifecycle. This agile approach has now become an integral part of the Data & Insight team, greatly enhancing operational efficiency.

In parallel, we cultivated a DevOps culture and established a Cloud Centre of Excellence.

A robust cloud strategy was formulated, coupled with a well-designed deployment and migration plan, providing a solid foundation for subsequent phases.

Key Outcomes

  • Scaled a team within 48 hours
  • Provided total flexibility of the deployed skills
  • Upskilled all Barnardo’s employees
  • Contributed to creating a DevOps culture in Barnardo’s