Not for Profits
NFPs and NGOs have special needs.
Do you need customised IT support that appreciates the urgency of your reporting obligations and the importance of your services delivery? Would you like board-level IT reporting to help your decision makers? A robust disaster recovery strategy perhaps? Or advice and solutions to address legislative requirements for the security and location of data storage?
This is just the start of how we can help.
NFPs grow according to their passion and their funding. Successes can bring about significant or rapid expansion, and it's not unusual for these organisations to outgrow their IT infrastructure and outgrow the skills they have previously engaged to manage their technology. This will often manifest as gradually declining reliability, seemingly 'impossible' issues, problems with scalability, or preventable data loss or security breaches.
Technology is the second most powerful leverage tool to maximise the community benefits of your passions. (A great team is obviously the first!) But too many organisations in the third sector are held back by poorly performing and badly designed technology. Rather than a leverage springboard, it can become a shackle around your ankle.
Even worse, these organisations are exposed to significant risks, often failing to have systems and assurances in place to prevent failure.
People might be heart and soul of a not-for-profit, but technology is often the lifeblood which enables almost every detail of the business to operate effectively, and services to be delivered to your clients.
If disaster strikes, how well prepared are you? What disaster scenarios can you recover from? How long will it take to get critical technology systems back online?
What if your main premises is destroyed - can your core systems be kick-started in the Cloud? Recovering from disasters is often a race against time, and preparation is everything.
Fortunately, with Private Cloud Computing and some very well designed systems, there are multiple levels of backup and disaster recovery that will suit your risk sensitivity and your budget.
There is a strong push in the third sector towards cloud computing, mostly for the reasons of cost savings and the shifting of infrastructure and maintenance requirements onto third party cloud providers. However, these moves need to be considered carefully for a few reasons.
Firstly, done poorly or in a haphazard fashion there may not be anywhere near the level of optimal cost savings by shifting to cloud. A well considered cloud strategy may save around 30% on total IT costs over 5 years. But a rushed implementation based on a seemingly cheap headline price can halve that saving and make transitioning to a better solution more difficult.
Secondly, there is a legislative requirement for certain types of data to be stored in Australia. This is due to the inability of an Australian organisation to prevent its data being accessed by foreign governments and any party authorised in the future by those governments. Quite a number of NFPs are risking their funding by using foreign cloud providers and not paying attention to the geography of their data.
A Cloud solution that is housed in Australia can of course provide all the benefits, without these legislative concerns. Just be careful when you buy a cloud product, as it may not be obvious where your data is housed or who owns the equpiment. It is critical to get a written guarantee of the ownership of the infrastructure it is stored on, the location of that equipment, and ask for a tour of the facility to be sure it is high quality.
IT Support, Maintenance and Management
It's an immense challenge for NFP management teams to understand how well their technology is being maintained and managed. Yet this aspect of IT has a direct impact upon the reliability of systems, and the amount of time wasted during technology failures. There are ways to address this and provide you with the information and assurances you need.
Top quality error monitoring systems with dedicated staff manning them, standardised maintenance checklists, transparency and easy checking of maintenance and management procedures will all help you understand the value of great IT services.
Performance monitoring systems intelligently identify the need for capital expenditure without guesswork, and minimise unrequired capex. Having an assigned senior site engineer who is backed by a team of professional support engineers, specialists, project managers and procurement support staff. All of these things are an important part of leveraging technology for the best result.
Reporting & Decision Making
Does IT sometimes feel confusing, and like you're making rapid decisions about things you don't fully understand?
Reporting is a scorecard of performance, and part of a blueprint for the future. Too often IT reporting is either missed entirely, or else created by technical boffins for reading by other technical boffins.
We think your board or management team would prefer to read a colour-coded snapshot of IT performance and recommendations, or else a written report in English instead of techno-babble. The best decisions can only come from a thorough understanding of the issues, and your IT provider should be your translator and advisor to assist those decisions.
When reporting and planning are delivered to you poorly, you will find yourself having to make technology decisions under high pressure, in the middle of a significant failure, without the luxury of time to research and understand the best solution. There should always be time to explain. IT does not have to be confusing.