The modern Not For Profit: Creating R&G’s Data Driven Enterprise

Gordon Tan | June 14, 2016

Not For Profit organisations are currently facing many industry changes. Competition for funding is increasing, particularly in cases where government policy has changed the funding process. NFPs are also facing higher levels of regulation than ever before. Add into the equation the always-changing technological scene and it is little wonder NFPs are rapidly adapting to a new business model.

This article breaks down the changes and the new direction Australian NFP organisations are heading in.

Trends driving technological change in the industry

From an organisation’s perspective, technological change is often the result of both external and internal factors. Across the industry, there are many developments that can result in huge technological advances for Not For Profit organisations as a whole.

There are numerous changes in the Not For Profit landscape

One of the biggest changes relates to the funding distribution for NFPs, particularly in regards to disability services. Under a new initiative called NDIS (the National Disability Insurance Scheme), individuals receive the funding directly. The individuals then choose the disability services provider that they want to work with; where previously, organisations would have been allocated the funding.

The introduction of this scheme has completed altered the way NFP organisations operate. They are now competing for the funding dollars. This causes a ripple effect; organisations have to examine the effectiveness of their operations. These changes also mean organisations are moving away from traditional thinking and adapting to a new enterprise-style of operation. Marketing and sales have become essential tools for the organisation to manage.

Related: The Impact of NDIS — Efficiency & Service Delivery

This new model leads to a desire to reduce ICT costs

As these organisation-enterprise hybrids look for ways to reduce overall costs, ICT costs are often reviewed. It’s common for a signification portion of an organisation’s budget to account for IT expenses. With a new focus on cost-effective measures, organisations move to review and reduce the expenditure attributed to IT.

There is a need for greater visibility & integrated data

NFP organisations have begun to capture a greater amount of client data. In many cases, this is handled through numerous different systems or pulled from census data and collated into a database. Under the new enterprise-style operation, many organisations understand how valuable this data is, but often don’t know how to utilise it.

Organisations are also shifting to cloud computing

Cloud computing has been passed off as a bit of a buzzword, however it is embraced by organisations all over the world. For NFP organisations, cloud computing is another way to reduce costs. It allows for the organisation’s previous systems and software to be moved to a host, where the organisation only pays for what it uses.

Introducing R & G’s Data Drive Enterprise system

The Data Driven Enterprise is a framework developed by R & G Technologies, having worked with between 100-200 leading Australian NFP organisations over a five-year period. It is focused on the new look of modern organisations and helps them to make the move towards enterprise-style operations that are necessary today.

Why Best of Breed is better suited to modern NFPs than ERP

Previously, organisations wanting to improve their efficiency would rely on an end-to-end software system called an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). This could manage a whole variety of departments, from accounting to HR and other business systems. However, due to the expense of an ERP (generally starting at $20,000), it is usually out of reach for small to medium organisations.

The concept ‘best of breed’ refers to cloud-based versions of software that can be merged with other applications to create a system designed to suit the specific needs of the organisation.

Data Driven Enterprise lays a roadmap for any organisation making the move to modern NFP

R & G have developed a framework that many small and medium-sized organisations in Australia can use as a roadmap (or blueprint, if you prefer) for their ICT needs. The core premise of R & G’s Data Driven Enterprise is using individual products in a cloud computing environment, drawing the services that a new organisation needs to work as an effective modern NFP.

Choosing best of breed products

The advantage of a best of breed approach is access to a wide range of products that would normally be out of reach for smaller organisations. Within the cloud computing environment, an organisation has greater access and functionality than would have been available previously. Basically, it allows the organisation to cherry-pick the relevant applications and only pay for those used.

Integrating the different best of breed products  

When selected best of breed products, it is important to consider integration of these systems. In many cases, there will be a pre-existing integration between the products, making the process much easier and more cost-effective.

Presenting the captured data

For easy presentation of the data captured within the Data Driven Enterprise, SharePoint enables easy-to-produce reports. As a presentation platform, it is easy to segment and filter data as required by each individual user or department. Users can create pivot tables and PDFs, or review the information directly from the dashboard.

Breaking the data down with business intelligence software

The captured data can be further analysed using Power BI, a system which streamlines the data collation and breakdown. Business intelligence makes it easy for reports to be shared online, with the data continually updated in real time. It also means the reports can be easily accessed at any time, such as during meetings.

Related: The modern not-for-profit: How to leverage SharePoint and Client Management Software

Interested in learning more?

The Data Driven Enterprise framework developed by R & G can assist organisations in reducing ICT costs and effectively managing their data.  If you would like to speak with someone regarding your organisation, please call us on 1300 562 886.

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