Originally published on March 18, 2011 in NTEN: Change (A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders)
IT infrastructure keeps changing… more and more staff and stakeholders work remotely, filesharing is more important, and protecting and managing data is critical. Yet, resources grow scarcer.
Over the past 10 years, we have worked with nonprofits that faced the choice between using limited resources to build and staff their own IT infrastructure and doing without. Fortunately, organizations now have more choices.
With growing options for cost-effectively outsourcing your IT department – from applications in the cloud to complete IT managed services – you can invest more time and resources on mission-critical work rather than managing and building an IT department.
But is going all cloud the answer? While we all recognize that Google Apps is far from a perfect solution for most organizations, every day brings more opportunities to tap into the value of the latest technology with hosting and cloud providers.
Here are some things you may want to consider when exploring opportunities for outsourcing your IT:
- Focus your IT investment on the productivity of your team. Give your staff the best desktops and mobile devices you can afford and they will reward you with more hours and increased responsiveness. Look at hosted/cloud providers that can support mobile devices and include a 24/7 helpdesk.
- Choose IT solutions that protect your data. Most organizations don’t want to think about IT disaster and emergency planning, but short-term thinking can be lead to prolonged downtime and huge costs. Whether it’s your donor database or emails, it is critical to protect the unique data being produced by your team. Make sure your plan includes regular data backup, a data recovery plan, and the latest protection technologies.
- Consider building capacity by leveraging the investment in your current infrastructure by adding select cloud applications and IT labor sources. You do not need to go all cloud if you cannot find all the functionality and data security you need. We advise our customers every day on solutions that include both on-premise and cloud IT, as well as outsourced IT labor, depending on their specific administrative and programming needs.
With so many options to streamline your IT department while utilizing the latest IT solutions, organizational leadership can create efficiencies that increase staff productivity while directing more resources to your mission.