Can Data Analytics Solve Your Nonprofit’s Problems?

Can Data Analytics Solve Your Nonprofit’s Problems?

 
You want to improve the processes of budgeting, forecasting, and fundraising for your nonprofit; however, you are having a hard time identifying problems and solutions.

 Data analytics can help.

This type of business intelligence is already considered indispensable in the for-profit realm. It can be just as critical for nonprofits and associations. 

Informed decision making

As businesses and nonprofits have become more reliant on computers, data has become more captive and more segregated among disparate departments and functions. Data analytics is the science of collecting and analyzing sets of data to develop useful insights, connections, and patterns that can lead to more informed decision-making. It produces such metrics as program efficacy, outcomes vs. efforts, and membership renewal that can reflect past and current performance and, in turn, predict and guide future performance. 

The data usually comes from two sources: 

1. Internal: Examples include your organization’s databases of detailed information on donors, beneficiaries, or members.

2. External: This type of information can be obtained from government databases, social media, and other organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit.

Applied advantages

Data analytics can help your organization validate trends, uncover root causes and improve transparency. For example, analysis of certain fundraising data makes it easier to target those individuals most likely to contribute to your nonprofit. 

It typically facilitates fact-based discussions and planning, which is helpful when considering new initiatives or cost-cutting measures that stir political or emotional waters. The ability to predict outcomes can support sensitive programming decisions by considering data on a wide range of factors — such as at-risk populations, funding restrictions, offerings available from other organizations, and grantmaker priorities. 

Needs dictate your purchase

Your organization’s informational needs should dictate the data analytics package you buy. Thousands of potential performance metrics can be produced, but not all of them will be useful. Keeping in mind your most important programs, identify those metrics that matter most to stakeholders and that truly drive decisions. Also ensure that the technology solution you choose complies with any applicable privacy and security regulations, as well as your organization’s ethical standards. 

You can adopt the most cutting-edge software, but if your staff aren’t on board, data analytics will be of little benefit. Note that you may need to hire or develop qualified staff to conduct data analytics and convert the results into actionable intelligence. 

Make the most of it

Before you choose a technology, make sure your organization, including your staff, is ready to make the most of it. We can help steer you in the right direction. Consider reaching out to us at 800-297-8293.

Edward D. Warren

Edward D. Warren

Business Development Director, ITonDemand

Ed is an accomplished sales executive with over 15 years of professional services sales and marketing experience. He’s worked for Allinial Global and RSM Alliance member firms and serves on the board of the Association of Accounting Marketing

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6 Ways to Reduce IT Costs

Your business is always looking to reduce costs. Looking at the information technology budget line items is headache-inducing. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it! But is that really true? IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think. Take a look at these target areas where you might reduce costs.  

Your business should try to reduce costs without losing value

Looking at your information technology budget is stressful for a lot of owners. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it!  But is that true? 

IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think.  

1. Software

Your business likely pays to license software such as Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Photoshop. Reviewing these software agreements, you can often find cost savings:   

  • See if you can renegotiate a subscription if the provider wants to move you onto a new offering.   
     
  • Are you paying for software that isn’t in use? Try to see if you can reduce or remove it.   
     
  • Has the pricing has changed? Are there now better plan options available? 
     
  • There may be an open-source software alternative to save acquisition and maintenance costs. 

2. Hardware

Your current hardware may be underused, need refreshing, or have lost productivity. Find ways to run applications on less expensive devices. One way to do this is by linking together several computers to replace expensive server equipment. Standardizing platforms can also significantly reduce IT costs while providing consistency. 

3. Cloud Computing

One way to cut IT infrastructure costs is to move to the cloud. You can run software on the cloud for a fraction of the cost. Moving data backup to the cloud to replace an on-premises server can also cut costs. Rather than losing all your data on a singular device, it can be stored in one location in the cloud.  

Even if you’re already in the cloud, you can explore whether you are on the best available plan for you and consider:  

  • Are you paying for more storage or resources than you need?  
  • Are you taking full advantage of mobility and scalability features? 
  • Are you duplicating on-premise and cloud-based services?  

4. Internet Services

Your employees need to be online. You’re not going to cut out internet services. However, you may be able to control costs:  

Should you buy modems or routers instead of renting them from your provider?  

  • Consider the internet speed in your plan. Do you need that level of service?  
  • Is slow internet speed costing your company money when, in fact, you’ll be more efficient with an upgrade?  
  • Are you able to bundle services to find cost savings?  
  • Are you in a position to renegotiate your plan?  

5. IT Staff and Services

Avoid infrastructure costs and the hiring expenses of onsite IT staff by outsourcing. Chances are, you’re probably not an expert in IT. Managed Services Providers (MSPs) end up saving you money in the long-term by taking care of your IT. Often your business can pay a set monthly fee or go on a pay-per-use model to gain services such as:  

  • IT help desk support  
  • security  
  • disaster recovery  
  • backup  

6. Utilities

Don’t overlook the costs involved in powering your IT components. Review your utility bills to identify trends. Can you save money by turning off equipment? Is there a better plan available with a competing service? Should you renegotiate the terms of your existing plan?  

Time for a Technology Audit

The best way to identify specific areas to cut your IT budget is a technology audit.  

Your IT needs are always changing, and the technology does too. Many businesses add expensive components or systems with “room to grow.” New tools get added on as needs arise. Your use of certain technologies can fluctuate.  

An IT expert can be your best case of action. 

They can provide you all the software and services you use, and bills related to your IT budget to find areas to streamline or cut altogether. It may seem counterintuitive to pay money in an attempt to save money. However, an outsider’s perspective can provide fresh insight into the “way things have always been done” and help you see new opportunities for consolidation.  

We can help you meet your budget goals. Contact us today at (800) 297-8293! 

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5 Ways Managed IT Services Can Make Your Life Easier

Managed IT service providers are unsung heroes for many businesses. A good MSP provides real-time support to staff but also ensure that systems are up to date and optimal. Your data is important and needs a back-up strategy. MSPs ensure your organization is safe from threats and productive. 

Here are 5 ways an MSP can make your life easier: 

1. Team of Industry Focused Experts

Many organizations do not have the resources to hire internal IT staff. So, employees end up managing their own computer systems, although it’s not their job to do so. These employees end up juggling their regular work with their IT obligations.  

This makes them unable to be productive with their own tasks! 

Even some companies with full-time IT staff have difficulty managing day-to-day maintenance. Leaving them no time to focus on the long-term goals of their business. Companies that choose to outsource their IT work, do not need to worry about their technical IT. By partnering with a team of experienced IT professionals, companies free up their IT staff to focus on strategy. 

2. Cost-Effective Solutions

The budgets of most organizations are tight, especially when it relates to IT. You want to make sure that you invest your hard-earned money in the most efficient way possible. Some executives believe that the money spent on an MSP could is best used for other purposes. Yet, they do not realize that using an external partner could save them a lot of money!   

MSPs solve many IT issues which help their customers’ staff be more productive. This results in greater efficiency and lowers IT costs. By helping you with your security, MSPs help businesses recover from future disasters! Don’t be another victim of data breaches because you weren’t prepared. Proactive is always better than reactive. 

Most outsourced IT providers offer expertise in the field at an affordable price. Transparent billing models show exactly what you are paying for. This allows executives to plan their IT budgets in advance without worrying about hidden fees. 

3. Proactive Preventative Maintenance

The well-known approach to computer repair stems from a responsive mindset. This approach means that if there is a problem, it corrects it. But this does not determine how you can prevent problems in the future. MSPs help you take a more proactive position on IT issues. Rather than waiting for things to break, you prevent it from happening in the first place.  

Your MSP will ensure that you don’t miss a software or firmware update so your systems can keep running. This continuous maintenance allows your equipment to run longer and avoid costly downtime. 

4. Providing Timely Resolution to IT Problems

Many MSPs offer a quick way to reach an IT professional in case you encounter a problem. Downtime is expensive. If you have internal IT staff and are sick during the day or on vacation, this downtime is costly. The more computer problems are not solved, the more likely you will lose money.  

Using an MSP allows you to have a reliable expert on call to resolve any problems that arise. No matter when they occur. 

Download the Free eBook:

4 Signs You Need a Managed Services Provider

5. Helping You Scale

Because MSPs already know your IT assets, they will know which products will improve your systems. This will help you evolve your IT infrastructure and grow your business.  Productivity is how your business thrives. If you want to 

ITonDemand has become a leader in the MSP space. If you’re trying to be proactive in your IT management, give us a call! Contact us for examples of how Managed IT can save you time, money, and sleep better at night. 

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Top 10 Reasons to Choose Managed IT Services

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Top 10 Reasons to Choose Managed IT Services

As technology has increasingly become a must-have, organizations are rapidly moving to managed IT services. The benefits of outsourced IT are becoming a more viable option for businesses around the nation.

Every business must choose their approach to manage their organization’s technology needs, some companies choose to hire in-house staff, and some choose to outsource. There are many reasons why a business chooses to outsource its IT, whether to aid financially or increase productivity. Whatever the case, we will cover the top 10 reasons why a company should choose outsourcing to a managed IT service provider.

1.  Cost Savings

One of the main benefits of choosing managed services is cost savings. Typically, managed IT services help reduce operational costs, decrease their overall capital budgets, lower hosting costs, and lower overall IT operating costs. In-house staff overtime becomes a financial burden for most organizations to carry. On average customers save 50% yearly when outsourcing their IT. Learn about how ITonDemand can cut down on your organization’s costs.

2. Predictable Costs

Managed services operate on a subscription-based model where the customer pays a contracted monthly fee for services. Usually, this changes only as staff or devices are added or removed from the service contract. When major changes are needed your partner should have a project team available to assist with new solution implementation. 

3. Increase Productivity

Not only are MSPs cost-efficient, but they also effectively managing systems from a proactive mindset. MSPs ensure your office network, end-user systems, and software are kept up to date, secure, and running optimally. They help take the technical work off your staff’s plate, which allows a better user experience within the organization.

4. Improve Security

Cybersecurity threats are a constant threat to businesses. Here is where managed service providers are staged to help mitigate those risks. The very nature of a proactive IT management strategy is to promote a security-first mindset. By implementing best practice solutions, MSPs can prevent most threats. When more advanced security protections are needed it’s important to partner with a provider that can provide advanced security services. 

5. Supplement Internal IT Staff

You don’t need to remove your internal staff. If your IT staff needs additional resources, managed service providers can provide staff augmentation to assist either for short- or long-term engagements. By taking on certain issues or back-ups, MSPs allow your team to work on their normal day to day activities.

6. Access to New Technology Solutions

MSPs have access to many technology solutions to fit specific business needs. As they work on many organizations’ IT environments, they are much more versed in handling complex change requests to new systems or solutions. This advanced knowledge in server solutions, cloud solutions, infrastructure solutions, that align with organizational goals and objectives. 

 

7. Industry Team of Experts

When working with an MSP, you receive a Team of experts in their field. Each member of our team is eager to help our customers solve their problems through technology. When more complex solutions are needed, making sure to partner with the right MSP to take you where you want to go is most important. 

8. Focus on Your Business

Technology management within an organization can take away from the true purpose of the business. By partnering with the right MSP, you will gain a partner who will help you optimize your investment in technology while you focus on your business. 

9. Promote Scalability

The managed services model is optimized to support organizations that need to ramp up or downsize resources. A good MSP will ensure your technology is standardized in a way to allow for scale. It is important to partner with an organization that is staged to grow and evolve with you! 

10. Improve Technology Vendor Management

Whether using a software vendor, internet provider, or printer vendor, managing all those services and relationships can add back time to your staff’s day. It is important to make sure the MSP partner you choose is equipped to manage the technical aspects of your relationship with these vendors to ensure you receive the most from those services. 

Technology has become an unavoidable part of running a business. Additionally, it is also one of the most burdensome loads to carry. Investing in an MSP won’t only save you money, but it will almost certainly save you time. ITonDemand is dedicated to helping organizations, associations, and businesses take control of their IT. If you’re looking to scale your business, see how ITonDemand can provide you with managed IT solutions.

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5 Steps to Prepare Your Organization for Extended Work-from-Home Scenarios

As we all know in a mid-pandemic world, flexibility in the workplace is key to maintaining business continuity. Having made it through almost a year with requirements to work-from-home, some organizations were prepared, and some weren’t.  Somehow, we’ve all muddled through and learned to adapt throughout this public health crisis.  

To help you prepare for another work-from-home scenario, here are 5 steps to get your organization moving in the right direction! 

#1 Perform a GAP Analysis

Determine what didn’t go smoothly with your staff during the work-from-home order.  

Now that the dust has settled, look at what did and didn’t work. Analyze how you will manage another work from home order or look for ways to minimize your office footprint with a larger work-from-home mandate within your company. According to a Global Workplace Analytics report, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” 

Here are a few questions to get you started. 

  • Did your staff have any issues with Email? 
  • Did your staff have any issues with accessing company files, applications, or databases? 
  • Did staff have any issues with home computers not supporting company needs? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I highly recommend talking with your IT Team or scheduling a time with one of our IT Consultants to see how we can help. 

Most of the issues listed above are caused by outdated technology solutions, as it relates to work-from-home best practices. We highly recommend leveraging the Microsoft 365 and Azure ecosystem to support a smoother work-from-home experience.  

#2 Define a Solution 

If internal IT staff is unfamiliar with this type of transition, we highly recommend finding an outsourced IT firm that specializes in this.  

After you’ve spent some time defining what didn’t go well, it’s time to develop a strategy and solution to prepare for your transition. Although this transition will look different for every organization, it’s important to ensure any changes move the organization closer to acceptable WFH standards.  

What are the main elements that need to be considered when developing the right solution for your organization?  

  • Email – Where is it currently, if still in-house, move it to a cloud-hosted solution 
  • Company Data – Where is it currently, if still in-house ensure a solid remote access solution is in place or move it to the cloud 
  • Applications and Database Systems – Is a cloud version available through your software vendor; if so, you should look to migrate to a cloud version, or possibly migrate the server to a cloud-hosted provider 
  • Aging infrastructure with planned upgrade within the next 2- years – If you have plans to upgrade servers and networks soon, it is recommended to look at full cloud solutions 

When deciding on a solution, security should be top of mind. As systems move more to the cloud for anywhere access, security becomes a bigger threat.  

All elements listed can be remedied through the Microsoft 365 and Azure ecosystem. 

#3 Develop a Plan 

By this step, you should be working with an experienced and credentialed team who will guide you through the migration strategy 

With your solution defined it is important to take it slow and plan. Use a steady approach to deploy new systems and ensure staff is sufficiently trained to easily move to a new model for remote work. Whether through a remote desktop session or through a remote work laptop, ensure each user and their use cases are defined and accounted for in preparation for staff migration.  

#4 Implement the Plan 

Implementing the plan itself can be the hardest part, as it requires communication on all fronts for a smooth experience 

As you work with your IT Team and staff to implement the plan, it is important to engage all staff stakeholders, as they all play an integral role in staff adoption and provide an added layer of training within your staff post-implementation.  

#5 Assess and Remediate 

Sometimes everything doesn’t go as planned, so it’s important to work with staff, stakeholders, and your IT Team to recognize and resolve issues ASAP 

Maintaining order while resolving pain points as soon as possible post-migration is ideal for recognizing things that didn’t go as expected or where the staff still need a little more training to properly use the new system.  

If you have any questions about it or would like to see how we can help you move to a more Work-from-Home World, Contact Us! 

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HR and IT; How to Hire and Fire

HR and IT; How to Hire and Fire

Imagine this

An employee comes into work, goes to log-in at his workstation only to be alerted that his password is incorrect. His email isn’t coming through on his phone. He walks to his boss’s office to notify him of the issue. 

He was going to be let go. Except the boss didn’t have that “meeting” scheduled until 11. 

Staff changes are tough. There is the onboarding process and all of the stress associated with getting a new employee up to speed on the office, clients, and technology needs. 

Then there’s the firing process. A former employee who still has access to a company’s network and proprietary corporate data is a security threat. Not only is it emotionally difficult but on the data security side, it’s important to ensure that access to vital information is properly restricted at an appropriate time

What steps should you take to coordinate human resources needs with your information technology support?

Hiring

All technology needs can (and should) be taken care of prior to an employees first day. With 3-5 days notice, IT can have a new employee breezing through their first day. Without that notice, it drastically extends the runway of an onboarding process. Here are a few ways to ensure it goes smoothly.

Devices-

Technology needs vary by position. Understanding those needs helps you to anticipate the employees first day.

Needs

  • Mobile Device
  • Laptop (PC or Mac)
  • Desktop
  • Additional Monitors

Relevant applications

Accountants need Quickbooks. Everyone needs Microsoft Office. With this in mind, having that step to an employees onboarding lets their focus be where it’s needed.

Bonus: If multiple log-ins are used across the business, applications like 1Password act as a team vault for your passwords. This can be useful for new hires with multiple logins but needs set up securely as it stores sensitive information.

Email

Similarly, IT support can have the employee’s email account created for them. The employee should really only have to type a password and be on their merry way.

Extra step? Bookmark their email login in their browser. 

Firing

As we pointed out earlier, termination can be tricky. It’s a fine balance between respect for the employee you are letting go and protection from disgruntled employees erasing valuable work. 

Communication

It is important that your company make note of who is responsible for notifying IT of the restrictions. When working with an internal IT department, make sure that only senior IT personnel are notified of the termination.

Timing

Timing is everything. With meetings scheduled for terminations, your IT support can cut access to vital documents in the time allotted during the meeting. 

Give your IT team 48 hours notice of the termination and tell them who and when. Make sure to double-check that the information is correct.

Remote Access

VPNs and remote desktops are forms of how an employee accesses their work network. That access is managed when the user account is created, disabled, or removed. In the case of a termination, access is revoked during the coordinated window. 

Repurposing Devices

After a termination, properly wipe any devices to make sure there is no remaining information from a previous employee. This way devices can be repurposed for future employee use.

How ITonDemand Handles It

Through our client portal, clients can submit requests to both add and remove users. Adding and removing users can be discreet, coordinated, and organized with the right IT partner. 

PHISHING

Download our infographic and learn how to identify a phishing scam when you see one.

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