Fit for purpose information systems key to better understanding outcomes across the NFP sector
24 November 2021 at 11:37 am
The importance of effective information systems across the not-for-profit sector cannot be understated, with only 38 per cent of organisations indicating that their primary system allows them to measure impact and understand outcomes, writes Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs.
Our annual Infoxchange Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector report, tells us that 28 per cent of organisations are still managing clients, service information and referrals using applications such as Microsoft Excel or Word, and that 6 per cent are still using pen and paper as record keeping mediums.
Not only are these systems ill equipped for effective service delivery and reporting in 2021, they also pose crucial information security risks, leaving organisations, and the individuals they serve, vulnerable to their highly sensitive information being exposed.
COVID-19 and the abrupt transition to remote working further compounded these problems for many organisations, with over 30 per cent stating that their primary information systems were not equipped to support staff working from home.
Based upon the findings taken from our report over the past six years, we have identified that finding and implementing the most suitable information systems is an ongoing challenge for many organisations across the sector.
The initial time and financial investment required to understand requirements, assess, design and implement new information systems is the most common barrier that not-for-profits face when looking to improve current systems.
Organisations are also challenged by a lack of access to affordable and skilled technical resources, as well as staff capacity and capability to use the new systems, with many underestimating the change management and training effort required.
However, the long-term benefits are significant with organisations who have made the transition reporting that they’re able to provide more effective service delivery, measure outcomes, improve staff efficiency and produce a solid evidence base for current and prospective funders.
What we have noticed is that these success stories have led to more organisations questioning whether their current way of doing things is providing them the desired outcomes, and if not, they’re asking how they can improve.
Since launching the Digital Transformation Hub in July, our team have been responding to an increased number of requests asking for advice on how to improve current processes around recording and storing information, measuring outcomes, support new ways of working in response to COVID-19 along with utilising their data to prepare compelling reports to assist with funding and ongoing service delivery improvements.
We are excited to help organisations build upon and improve their current information systems, by providing expert advice that can help them save money, mitigate information security risks and of course, improve outcomes for the people they serve.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can make the transition, schedule a conversation with our Digital Transformation Hub team to discuss how you can get started.
To learn more, check out some of our guides below:
- What are information systems?
- What is a client and case management system?
- What is a constituent relationship management system (CRM)?
- How to choose a new information system.
This article is part of a monthly column with Infoxchange exploring the importance of digital technology in the not-for-profit sector.