Tech Impact has teamed up with Tech Soup to put on a series of conferences for nonprofits in the California area about Office 365, its benefits to organizations of all sizes, and dispelling fears many nonprofits might have regarding cloud technology.
We caught up with Sam Chenkin, Director of Solution Development, at Tech Impact to talk about the upcoming conferences, and what nonprofits can expect to learn from attending.
Here’s what Sam had to say:
What is your role at these conferences?
There are two representatives from Tech Impact at all four of these events, myself being one of them. We’ll be doing all the “how to” portions of the presentations. All the hands on conversation about how to exactly get onto Office 365, what features are available, what’s all included in the package will also be handled by us.
Also we help the attendees understand the technical side of Office 365, like how to move onto the platform, how to move all your old data over, and things like that.
Why should nonprofits come out to this event?
Whenever you look at a big complicated solution like Office 365, all you really get from most websites is marketing information. What this event provides is a tremendous amount of useful knowledge all in one place. It can be very difficult to gather information on this topic specifically that’s actually applicable to smaller nonprofits. The reason being is it’s all very technical and is often times geared towards larger organizations. And what information is out there is very hard to turn into actual decision making information.
We understand this, and designed this presentation to be very hands on, incredibly interactive, while having everything you need from a-z to make a decision surrounding Office 365.
Will nonprofits be able to implement Office 365 on their own after attending?
It’s not designed to allow people to implement office 365 on their own after the workshop. What it’s designed to do is help people get familiar with it, and understand what their options are, and understand what they might need help with and might not need help with when making the switch.
What we have is a comprehensive demo, a lot of conversation around how to implement Office 365 with what you’re already using, how you’ll be using it, and the different ways you can move onto the platform.
What can attendees expect to learn from this conference?
They can expect to better understand what Office 365 actually is, how it might help their organization, and what they need to do in order to get their organization moved on to it.
Why is office 365 good for nonprofits of all sizes?
Office 365 is free for qualifying organizations, and most organizations do qualify.
It also comes with similar tools your staff is probably already using. What it’s really doing is taking all the benefits of those tools and adding in the power of cloud technology to accompany them. It doesn’t require a lot of user retraining because people are already familiar with a lot of the tools (Word, Excel etc.) that it comes with, it’s just repackaging them and making them usable in a different way.
Is Office 365 difficult to implement? And do most nonprofits need help implementing this tech?
If you do not have a lot of experience with technology, or implementing technology, it can be. This conference will help nonprofits understand whether or not they’re ready to do something like this on their own, or whether they’re going to need help implementing. And if they are going to need help, it’ll give that nonprofit a sense of the kind of help they’re going to need.
Maybe the best benefit of all is that this conference will help those attending not get lost in a conversation with an IT vendor. They’ll be able to go into that conversation armed with some power and knowledge.
Why is it important for people to learn more about the nuances of a powerful cloud based program like Office 365?
It’s not possible to understand a program of this size unless you see it being used in a demo, or hear about how other organizations are using it. By attending this conference you’ll hear about all the different bits and pieces of the program broken down and how they apply to a small nonprofit organization. It’s just not really possible to fully understand Office 365 without this kind of hands on exposure. It’s just too big and complex.
Ultimately this conference helps attendees understand what needs to be done from the organizational point of view, rather than just the technical point of view.
Why is the nonprofit sector specifically wary of the cloud? Will this conference address this apprehension?
I think it all comes down to fear. People are scared of the cloud. It’s new and people are more comfortable with on-premise computing solutions. And with anything that’s new there’s going to be a certain amount of apprehension and fear that’s associated with it. Particularly when there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the media about it, its really difficult to differentiate between what you should be worried about and what you should not be worried about.
How secure is the cloud?
That’s something were going to talk a lot about too. We’re going talk about the security with Office 365, we’re going to talk a lot about the connectivity issues, and help organizations understand the situations they should be worried about when being in a cloud solution, and help these organizations understand having your data stored on the cloud is the same thing as on-premise technology, but actually safer.
We’re going to talk about all these issues honestly, and we know what nonprofits are actually doing on premise, we know what they’re worried about, and that’s something most organization's can’t say.
If you're interested in attending, CLICK HERE to learn more.