American Institute for Foreign Study and C-BIA celebrate a 10-year partnership

You may have never heard of AIFS but you have probably heard of their flagship programs in Europe: Au Pair in America (established in 1986) and Camp America (established in 1969). Each of these attracts several thousand participants each year and its likely someone you know has benefited!

AIFS: We Bring the World Together

AIFS has been providing Educational & Cultural Exchange Programs since 1964. Based in Stamford, CT, USA, AIFS is one of the oldest, largest and most respected cultural exchange organisations in the world.

It operates from 10 global locations, has offerings in 29 countries and organises exchanges for 50,000 participants each year. Over 1.5 million young people have benefited since its creation.

The Partnership

When faced with new requirements for existing systems, Richard Howell (Senior Vice President, IT), faced a choice – expand internally or contract externally? Given the finite anticipated workload he chose to contract externally and the partnership with C-BIA was born.

Our initial work included business modelling and use case identification and definition. We introduced Joint Application Development (JAD) and PRINCE 2 frameworks and principles. And adapted these for the agile and collaborative working essential success. This is a great example of how working with partners willing to transfer knowledge can have lasting benefit for a client beyond an engagement.

We then took over the support and development of the Camp America data warehouse, initially developed internally. This was quickly followed by a project to build and support a second data warehouse, this time for Au Pair in America. Both use SQL server. AIFS uses Microsoft’s Power BI as its self-service analytics tool and dashboards were developed by Geneva-based Sensdat. This 3-way partnership has capitalised on the strengths of each partner – generating accurate and timely data and delivering engaging visualisations to stimulate usage.

To-date, we have worked on 8 projects. These have covered Project development, Business as Usual and Support & Maintenance services since 2017. These activities span the project lifecycle from Discovery and Analysis to Testing & Production. And more recently, they include developing and operating under SLA’s the AIFS Business Intelligence environment. This includes Excel, Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis, Integration and Reporting Services.

And The Future?

AIFS now has a suite of well-integrated systems and its plans are focused on accelerating use of its data assets. We look forward to supporting IT and its business users on this exciting journey. And providing some of the innovative tools and capabilities it will need on its way.

“C-BIA’s specialist expertise in Business intelligence has been a real benefit to AIFS, taking on development and support in a complex area and reducing the burden on the in-house IT. They understand our business well and are able to deliver innovative solutions accurately in a cost-efficiently manner.” says Richard Howell, SVP, IT – AIFS. 

Partnering means not only being with a client in the good times but sticking with them through the bad…” says Brendan Dunphy, CEO at C-BIA“….AIFS has been hit as hard as many during COVID-19 as borders closed , international travel halted, and programs brought to a halt. But the work we did on their data infrastructure for analytics prior to COVID has established our value. We look forward to building on this and helping AIFS do even more in the future.”