How Ingenieure ohne Grenzen opted for open-source collaboration

14 April 2022By Ksenija

A non-profit aid organization is hosting their collaboration platform based on open-source solutions Nextcloud, ONLYOFFICE Docs and OpenProject to manage all working activities. Read the story and learn more about their experience.

How Ingenieure ohne Grenzen opted for open-source collaboration

About Ingenieure ohne Grenzen

Founded in 2003, Ingenieure ohne Grenzen (eng: engineers without borders) is a recognized non-profit private aid organization. It operates independently from political, religious or ethnic considerations, and has a large network of dedicated volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.

Ingenieure ohne Grenzen works with local communities to construct and expand their basic infrastructure. The community-driven approach aims to find sustainable engineering solutions appropriate to local circumstances.

By sharing knowledge and jointly developing needs-based solutions, Ingenieure ohne Grenzen equips community members with valuable expertise and skills as well as strengthening partner organizations at local level. In 2020, they supported communities in 14 countries with 34 overseas projects.

A way to the self-hosted platform

Various collaborative office tools were often being used by volunteers in smaller circles. Eventually, the organization started using such solutions on the club-wide level. Because of the cost and data protection reasons, Ingenieure ohne Grenzen decided to host a collaboration platform on their own server.

Some of tech-savvy volunteer administrators were familiar with the community version of ONLYOFFICE Docs as well as with some of its competitors. Among office suites that offer self-hosting, experience of the volunteer administrators speaks in favor of ONLYOFFICE.

Open-source for volunteers

In order to support volunteers’ work, a digital collaboration platform which comprises Nextcloud, ONLYOFFICE Docs and OpenProject was set up in a privately managed Kubernetes cloud. The so called IT competence group manages the digital infrastructure, at the same time being the main support address for all members and volunteers.

On this platform, each regional group and each overseas project has its space and can organize themselves in teams. Nextcloud is used mainly for file sharing, OpenProject – for classical and agile project management.

With ONLYOFFICE, they collaborate on office files shared in Nextcloud folders. Real-time document co-authoring is a huge benefit compared to how the organization previously managed their workflows.

Maximilian Hippler, Technical Head of the IT competence group:

We have had very positive experiences with ONLYOFFICE so far, including the range of features, ease of setup and operation, low maintenance effort for our users due to the intuitive interface and close integration with Nextcloud, as well as frequent software updates.