A world-first technological solution measuring the impact of social purpose programs with the Centre for Social Impact

The Centre for Social Impact engaged Cevo to build Amplify Online’s Indicator Engine, a world-first technological solution designed to help organisations in the Australian for-purpose sector independently measure the social impact of their programs and initiatives.

$300 million

Saved in evaluation costs annually


Cevo NexusTM solution



The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is a collaboration of four of Australia’s leading universities – UNSW, Swinburne University of Technology, Flinders University and The University of Western Australia – providing research, education and tools to help Australia’s for-purpose sector.

Business challenge

In Australia, we spend more than $510 billion on social purpose programs and initiatives each year, yet often, we don’t know if they are effective. That’s why CSI built Amplify Online’s Indicator Engine, a world-first technological solution designed to meet the needs of the Australian for-purpose sector, by supporting organisations to independently measure the social impact of their programs and initiatives.

CSI engaged Cevo to help build Indicator Engine in 2021. Indicator Engine provides automated, tailored recommendations to help organisations evaluate their social good initiatives. These recommendations assist users in selecting which outcomes to measure, as well as providing guidance on which indicators can most effectively deduce whether the outcomes have been achieved. The availability of these indicators in an online, self-service databank represents the for-purpose sector’s first consistent, scalable way to measure impact. Evaluated for their quality and useability for the sector, the indicators can be implemented by not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises, government organisations, researchers, consultants, funders, philanthropists and more.


CSI leveraged Cevo’s expertise to engineer the Indicator Engine application to run on an AWS platform, designed for security, resiliency, scalability, observability and cost optimisation.

The solution was designed to run on AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) with Docker. This not only ensured CSI could deploy the solution into different cloud environments, but also meant the solution could easily run on a developer’s local machine.

The architecture diagram is below:

CI/CD pipelines in CodeBuild and CodePipeline ensured 100% scalability and 99% availability of the application code, allowing developers to easily push updates into the platform with no downtime.

In addition, open source software packages were used to prevent vendor lock-in and high fees. This was done using KeyCloak (an identity and access management solution), VueJS (a progressive typescript framework which powers the web UI), NestJS (a framework for building NodeJS applications which powers the APIs), MySQL and MongoDB (which allowed Cevo to easily adapt to new survey patterns with ease).

A unique component of this engagement was the need to articulate complex platform requirements between CSI’s non-technical stakeholders and Cevo’s technical experts. The collaborative approach that was developed between Cevo and CSI resulted in a positive, ongoing working relationship, with Cevo currently building the next phase of Amplify Online, Yardstick, which will provide an analysis of some of the data collected via Indicator Engine.

“Cevo has a unique ability to break down complex, theoretic problems into small, actionable parts, and ultimately build the required software on the Amplify Online platform.”

Elizabeth-Rose Ahearn

Amplify Online Project Manager


Since its launch in mid-March 2022, Indicator Engine has already had a significant, positive impact on Australia’s for-purpose sector, including:

  • More than 400 organisations registered – More than 200 organisations registered for the platform in just two months, 33% of which were small not-for-profits, and 30% large, from issue areas such as climate change, homelessness, poverty, youth, disability, mental health, Indigenous rights, and women’s rights. As of October 2022, there are more than 380 organisations registered for Amplify Online. 
  • Significant cost savings for Australia’s for-purpose sector – Amplify Online is estimated to save Australia’s for-purpose sector $300 million in evaluation annually, removing quantitative evaluation hurdles which typically cost upwards of $90,000. 
  • Sector-wide standardisation – The standardisation of quantitative evaluation methods that Amplify Online provides strengthens the social impact sector as a whole by ensuring evaluation strategies are consistent, contributing to a sector-wide understanding of what works best for the on-the-ground programs operating to solve complex social problems.

In addition, the solution was designed to allow for the following benefits:

  • Automated deployments – Ensures the same pattern is followed to eliminate failures in critical production environments.
    • Secure – With security at the core, all data (which is 100% owned by the user) is encrypted both at rest and in transit, and appropriate measures are in place to block and track any unauthorised access, in addition to logging authorised access into the systems.
  • Automated scalability – The solution is built keeping composable architecture in mind, and can be easily extended in to support new features and functionality when the need arises.
    • Low operational costs – The combination of software packages and AWS managed services maintains a healthy cost to performance ratio.
    • Zero down time – The solution has had zero down time, and allows for rolling updates to be made while not affecting users in production. In addition, self-healing measures mean that, should a container inside the EKS cluster go down, there are policies to provision a new container which allows for little to no impact to the customers.
  • Adaptable – New indicators can be easily added into the platform by authorised CSI representatives. Distributions and kiosks can also be created directly inside the platform, allowing for the distribution of surveys via email or kiosks at the click of a button.
  • Ease of use – Responses can be easily downloaded from the application to give key stakeholders an accurate representation of data that is collected.

“Cevo has a unique ability to break down complex, theoretic problems into small, actionable parts, and ultimately build the required software for Amplify Online’s Indicator Engine. Their ability to help us realise the vision of the platform has had, and will continue to have, an incredible impact on Australia’s social good businesses.”

Graham Brown

Director of Research and Evaluation

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