The importance of digital transformation
27 July 2021 at 8:00 am
To coincide with the launch of the Digital Transformation Hub, we’re kicking off a new monthly column with Infoxchange exploring the importance of digital technology. In this first article, David Spriggs explains how the hub hopes to help not for profits succeed and thrive in this new world.
A new COVID-normal world has presented us all with challenges we would have considered far from usual only a couple of years ago. Not for profits are among the more significantly impacted, and not just because so many have traditionally worked with clients on a face-to-face basis.
Adapting to the new normal requires an investment in technology that, in many instances, might previously have belonged in a basket labelled “Nice to have but not this financial year”. Now more than ever before, the not-for-profit sector needs to find new ways to adapt. Government is looking to control spending, traditional sources of funding are shifting, and supporters increasingly want to see the impact of their investment.
Infoxchange’s 2020 Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector report found that 70 per cent of not for profits did not have the systems in place to enable staff and volunteers to work from home and almost all organisations (97 per cent) experienced pandemic-related disruption to service delivery.
Most organisations required significant changes to their technology environment as a result of COVID-19, making it a priority to:
- move to the cloud and better enable working from home
- implement video conferencing and collaboration solutions
- enhance the technology skills of staff and volunteers
- improve the capability to deliver services to people in need remotely and in a hybrid model.
To help Australian not for profits address these issues, the Infoxchange Group is leading a cross-sector partnership with seeding funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy to develop a Digital Transformation Hub, designed to help organisations deliver services more effectively, improve staff productivity and better serve communities in need.
The hub, launched at the end of July, offers an integrated set of web-based resources, capacity building programs and tailored advice for organisations:
- Technology products and solutions specifically curated for the sector, including donated and discounted technology products and software services.
- Technology guides and resources across the five not for profit technology domains:
a) Tech foundations – PCs, network, telephony, servers, email, file sharing and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, enabling staff to collaborate, work productively and access information anywhere.
b) Information systems – client/case management, CRM, membership, finance, HR and related systems to deliver services, understand outcomes, and enable reporting, process efficiencies and outcome measurement.
c)Digital marketing – website, email marketing, social media and fundraising processes and systems, helping to attract new fund supporters, volunteers, staff and clients.
d) IT management – technology management, governance, planning, projects and risk management, maximising impact from IT investment.
e) Cyber security – information and data security, business resilience and threat protection processes, systems and governance, helping protect reputation, client and staff information
- A digital capability assessment tool, allowing organisations to understand their digital maturity across the five not for profit technology domains and identify their digital priorities.
- Free technology consultations, through a bank of skilled volunteers offering advice and guidance across the five technology domains, for those times when talking to someone is critical.
- Free and low-cost training for staff, technology managers and administrators through webinars, online learning courses, advisory programs, videos and learning resources.
Resources on the hub will be progressively built out (and updated) over the coming months and years.
Technology can be incredibly transformative in its ability to increase staff efficiency, improve service delivery and save precious time and money.
It will play a significant role in helping our sector get through the difficult months and years ahead. What will be critical from this point on is how well not for profits can continue to adopt and utilise technology, as they look to transform their services and remote working continues to some degree for the foreseeable future.
Historically, not for profits have under-invested in digital technology, with spending usually directed towards frontline service delivery. Now that we’ve all been forced to rethink the very idea of “frontline”, organisations need the right technology to drive supporter engagement, enable staff to deliver services efficiently, measure client and community outcomes, and communicate success to succeed and thrive in this new world.
We hope that the Digital Transformation Hub helps many organisations achieve this goal.