Report: ICT in the not-for-profit sector

R & G Technologies | April 24, 2015

A report commissioned by Connecting Up, Techsoup NZ and Infoxchange looked at ICT in the not-for-profit sector and found that most organisations are under pressure to improve productivity and efficiency.

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The report revealed some pressing concerns for not-for-profits. With supporter engagement and funding on the decline, organisations are being forced to streamline operations to become more productive and efficient.

Over 600 organisations across Australia and New Zealand participated in the survey. The authors of the report suggest that digital proficiency holds the key to helping organisations increase productivity and efficiency.

The report identified eight areas of focus for analysis. Let’s look at the areas and delve deeply into the findings.

1. IT spend is only 3% of total operating expenditure

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This is low compared to other industries. Organisations are not seeing IT as an enabler for growth. Instead, they only see it as a cost.

This mentality is holding back organisations and affecting their efficiency. Nowadays, IT needs to be at the forefront to assist with integrating systems, enhancing office productivity and facilitating team collaboration.

Instead of forcing your employees to use outdated software that is frustrating to use, organisations need to use innovative software that automates the mundane, repetitive tasks. This will save employees time so they can focus on high-priority work.

2. Organisations with no IT plan are challenged by IT

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Organisations that lack an IT plan are three times more likely to be challenged by their IT capability. The absence of a formal IT plan is stopping organisations from focusing on the right IT areas.

The report concluded that this absence “ultimately impacts an organisation’s ability to maintain revenue.”

Fortunately, the report found that 34% of respondents are prioritising the development of an IT plan.   

3. IT capability is directly correlated to growth and revenue

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Organisations that have historically found IT to be a challenge have also recorded a decrease in revenue.

Organisations that are slow to adapt to and adopt technology are struggling. This comes as no surprise if you consider the external pressures facing the industry.

The fundamentals of operating as a not-for-profit have changed a lot over the last five to ten years. The government and your supporters’ expectations are changing. They expect you to be using technology to streamline operations.

Technology and digital proficiency are key to bringing organisations back to their healthy operational state.

4. Cloud adoption is low but increasing

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Only 24% of organisations currently use cloud computing while an additional 22% plan to move to cloud in the near future.

Larger organisations are leading the way. They see the cloud as a technology to enable mobility, collaboration and productivity.

The organisations that are still against the cloud cite data security as their biggest concern. Although the government and cloud service providers have made big changes to eliminate this concern, 39% of organisations still see it as a barrier.

No time to learn (34%) and costs of moving (21%) are the other big barriers holding back cloud adoption.

4. A lack of efficient client-management systems is holding back productivity

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Poor client-management systems are significantly affecting productivity and efficiency. Forty-seven percent of respondents do not have a single view of their client information. This means that nearly half of organisations can’t quickly see all the information about a client from a single screen.

This is killing productivity. If organisations are using multiple applications and databases to get the information they need, I can bet they are wasting a lot of time.

Surprisingly, 51% of organisations are still relying on Excel to manage their client information. This is a source of concern.

To remain competitive as a not-for-profit, organisations need to move to modern applications that can help manage client relationships more efficiently.

5. Infrastructure needs upgrading

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One in eight organisations is still using XP – an operating system that is over 10 years old.

New operating systems – like Windows 7, 8 and soon-to-be-released 10 – are far more efficient. These systems will instantly enable employees to work more productively and collaboratively.

Respondents (38%) have cited upgrading infrastructure as a priority in the near future. With the release on Windows 10 expected later in the year, it will be a perfect time for organisations to upgrade their operating systems.

New SaaS applications like Office 365 also provide organisations with a way to enhance efficiency.

6. Hiring skilled and affordable IT professionals is a big challenge

Recruiting the right IT people is cited as a challenge by half of organisations. Deciding where to invest IT spend is also a big challenge (48%).

This is an interesting finding. You could say that a lot of the IT headaches and lack of efficient IT systems is a result of the lack of IT people to recommend and implement them.

This likely comes back to the lack of an IT budget to hire the right people to make the right recommendations.

Organisations in the near future need to increase their IT budget. They need to recognise that IT is an enabler to accelerate and facilitate growth.

7. Organisations are investing in improving their websites and social media to enhance their online presence

One thing that organisations recognise they do need to invest in is their online presence. Improving their website is cited by 60% of respondents as a priority in the near future. Fifty-four percent also want to “make better use of social media”.

An improved online presence can certainly lead to increased engagement with stakeholders, which can fuel donations and funding.

Yes, an online presence is important, but without the IT running smoothly in the background, the fundamental problem of inefficiency will still hold back growth and revenue.

Conclusion: Organisations need to use IT as an enabler to become more digitally proficient

The findings in this report show that IT can no longer be viewed as an expense that doesn’t impact the organisation. IT is now integrated into everything an organisation does and it needs to be given more attention and budget.

By investing in IT and using it to enable digital proficiency, organisations can, in turn, create a working environment that enables employees and volunteers to work more productively, and operate more efficiently.

Read the full report

Are you ready to use IT to enable productivity and efficiency?

Our consultants can work with you to create an IT plan and identify the right technology to help you become more digital proficient. Call us on 1300 562 886 or request a callback.

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