The HELIOS software is a comprehensive supply chain technology solution that brings order to disaster relief, helping humanitarian organizations provide aid to people quickly and more efficiently. HELIOS provides real-time access to supply chain information to enhance decision-making at every level throughout the aid delivery process. The end result is an improved return on donation and faster assistance to beneficiaries.

The HELIOS project was started as the result of urgent requests from leading international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a "next generation" supply chain management software to enable them to effectively track the myriad of goods and donations entering and being disbursed across the communities affected by the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Many of these organizations currently employ manual, time-consuming processes and lack the infrastructure to support full-scale software implementations.

The HELIOS project aims to meet the needs of as many humanitarian organizations as possible so the coordination of the pipelines of supplies, information and financing from donation to delivery can be improved, thus enabling more of the right aid to reach the right people at the right time.

In 2008 HELIOS was implemented by World Vision International in two countries and piloted in two locations by Oxfam GB. All four are still running and World Vision plan to implement in several more East African countries this year. Oxfam will start roll out to 20 countries in September 2009, covering 75% of its supply chain after 18 months. Over 2008 HELIOS developed from version 1.0 to 1.1 and Oxfam are leading additional enhancements to take HELIOS to 1.2 by September.

Last year also saw the formation of a strong user group. There is a HELIOS Support Website where documentation is being gathered, software releases are published and the user community can communicate via an issue tracker, forums, wikis and shared document spaces. In 2009 we will see the formation of the HELIOS Foundation to provide long-term stability for HELIOS and the user group and to enable consortium fund-raising for further collaborative development to achieve our goal of make the engagement of organisations large and small as smooth and efficient as possible, and for the HELIOS software to continue to grow and improve with input from the whole user group.

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