Most nonprofit organizations are not known for IT (information technology) skills. In fact, some organizations are proud of not being computer-literate ("I'm a social worker, not a computer geek") and have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Those organizations that are tech-savvy, however, can claim advantages in efficiency, reach, comprehensiveness of service, and flexibility, to name a few.
No matter how cutting-edge an IT department is, though, its people must keep several universal needs in mind, especially when deciding what systems will best serve the organization's plans and goals. Some concepts, such as user-friendliness and acceptable speed, never lose their attractiveness, and their inclusion into computer systems is always appropriate.
The following trends seem to be building in 2018:
- Cloud-based systems – Nothing beats the cloud for instant access, ease of standardization, serving multiple users simultaneously, flexibility, and keeping track of versions of works-in-progress. An organization's people can easily access information and work with it in formats that work for them. Another benefit is that an organization can address virtually all its information system changes and upgrades in cost-effective and timely ways.
- Cybersecurity – The Internet has become the best thing to happen to all types of businesses since the invention of the computer. In 2018, the need to make sure data is kept as secure as possible while still making the same data easily accessible to those who really need it is becoming acknowledged as of paramount importance.
- Quality of data – Information overload has become a standard by-product of a data environment that never sleeps. The trick is to only pay attention to data that is relevant and accurate. In addition, new quality data has to seamlessly integrate with the old.
- Mobility – Almost everyone has either a smartphone or a tablet computer, or both. This translates into increased computer capabilities for just about everyone in the organization. This allows for information to be disseminated and acted on much more quickly than paper-based systems.
- Marketing – Because competition for funds is becoming fiercer, nonprofits are more in need than ever of getting the word out in accurate and timely ways. This is mostly because their products are intangible and can't speak for themselves the way a physical product can.
At Tech Impact, we focus on the IT needs of nonprofit organizations. It is possible to experience cutting-edge technology without putting the organization through the sometimes steep learning curve that new or updated systems demand.