What does it take to become the poster child of a modern 21st century organization? Well, take a look at Uber, who are beating an old and well-entrenched monopoly by harnessing the power of technology. Not surprisingly, all organizations want to be like Uber, a forward-thinking company that’s constantly keeping up with the times and has a finger on the pulse of all areas of their operation. But where do you start? And how much will it cost?
While most companies in the business world are already seeing the benefits new technologies can bring to their operational processes, many nonprofits see this technology as being too costly for their tight budgets. The truth of the matter is, it's actually extremely cost-saving, making it even more important for budget-conscious organizations such as nonprofits to take advantage of. To see how your nonprofit can launch itself into the modern age, saving time and money in the process, check out our four effective steps to modernizing your organization below.
Build a Culture of Digital Security
The online world can be a very scary place, especially with news articles constantly swirling about the latest break-in to a major organization’s systems. Securing your digital systems and assets should always be a top priority, but embarking on a digital journey requires the confidence and trust of your organization's leaders. To gain this trust, it’s important to bake security into all processes, applications and data environments, to enable the organization to interact and engage online with confidence.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
Many people today still think of the cloud as simply a place to store music or photos that won’t fit on your smartphone, but the reality is it’s much more than that. While remote file storage still remains an extremely popular consumer offering, many organizations have started to depend on it as well. A number of digital assets and applications are now being hosted in the cloud where they are easily accessible and can be updated remotely, without the pricey or time-consuming job of installing new software. Adobe recognized a business opportunity and moved their creative suite products like Photoshop and InDesign to the cloud where they can be accessed via a monthly subscription. Similarly, Microsoft has recently announced their new Canadian Cloud offering, where organizations can feel secure in that fact that their data will be stored locally on Canadian servers and can realize the cost savings and flexibility that come with the cloud.
Use an ERP Application to Assist in Business Processes
ERP software is a set of applications that integrate various components of an organization. It also enables data between different departments to be organized and shared, allowing them to act accordingly. If a teacher notices that a certain school supply is running low they can access budgetary information and go through an automated requisition process to make informed and simple procurement requests. Nonprofits or social service organizations, as another example, can track their staff’s training and certification statuses, and access updates directly through the portal for when their employees’ certifications are about to expire. An ERP application can be a powerful tool in allowing organizations to make informed decisions regarding the direction they wish to go, with data from sales, accounting, and other departments available in real-time and as a complete view. ERP applications are also increasingly available in the cloud, eliminating any need for expensive IT hardware or additional staffing to support such infrastructure.
Invest in Data Analytics
The days of running your organization on intuition, instinct, and good intentions are slowly coming to an end. Today, big data is influencing most, if not all, of the decisions made within an organization. Data regarding last year’s fundraising or operational figures can let nonprofits know what they did well and what skills/processes they can develop further. Marketing departments can keep records of customer behavior and interactions to determine how to reach out to them more effectively. Finance teams can access real-time budget information or generate automated reports through a segmented chart of accounts, giving them the power to ask searching questions about their organization and act upon the answers. By investing in data analytics, you can make the most informed decisions possible when it comes to the success and growth of your organization.
The process of modernization is a never-ending one. It can be daunting to embark on a project to modernize your organization, but it’s also rewarding, time-saving, and cost-effective. While the advice given in this blog post provides a good foundation for a nonprofit to modernize, it doesn’t stop there. Always remember: the taxi industry was comfortable enough to do nothing different all those years until Uber up-ended the entire system. Don’t make that same mistake with your organization’s niche and take the proper steps to modernize today.
Want to know how you can use your organization's data to do more good? Check out our free guide below.