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Non-Profit Organisations – Key ways to get more out of your IT

From Intercity Technology’s first-hand experience working with non-profit organisations, we have identified key commonalities which exist in their IT team and IT strategy.

If you work within IT in this sector some of the below may ring true for you:

  • You receive pressure from the organisation to ensure you are working as an enabler to support your organisation’s mission statement as opposed to an inhibitor.
  • Your IT team struggles to balance the monitoring and maintenance of the infrastructure whilst trying to appease end users.
  • The organisation’s vision for technology use is not reflective of the current capabilities of your IT setup.
  • There is a persistent developing Cyber Security threat which is only enhanced by the implementation of adding a wealth of new connections which enter your network daily.
  • How you manage these new connections and ensure they are secure has increased in complexity and has become more tedious to handle.

All these factors are usually underpinned by the financial constraints which are a result of the business functionality in Non-Profit with the need to use innovative technologies, continue to read to find out our advice….

Quick wins for IT Cost Savings:

Mobile

Non-Profit Organisations – Key ways to get more out of your ITIt is important to have the correct tariffs in place, so you do not experience bill shock. Companies are leaning more towards using shared pools of data to allow compensation for the higher users to use the data that may not be used by lower users.

It is also key to be able to have a good portal to give you clear visibility and management of the whole fleet so you can set rules/procedures in place to avoid people exceeding their allotted data.

If you have international roamers as well it is important to implement a traveller’s package into your contract so users can use their phone like they are in the UK for only a daily charge.

Connectivity

It is key that you review your current connectivity as companies are still paying a lot to use the likes of ADSL & EFM when they can be paying less on a leased line with higher bandwidth. Multi-site Non-profit organisations tend to have an MPLS in place. The cost of these have drastically reduced over the last 2 years so this is definitely worthwhile reviewing to ensure it is as cost-effective as possible and that it is still the right network solution for you.

SIP

ISDN lines are due to be turned off by 2025, so it is vital that you look to make the transition sooner rather than later. If you leave it till the deadline you will be at the mercy of the suppliers and may have to pay more. Also, once you have switched to SIP lines you can see an instant 50% average saving on costs, so it won’t be long until you see an ROI.

Streaming Lining & Saving Resource:

Cloud

Benefits of the cloud are well known. Cloud computing offers a simplified yet enhanced IT maintenance and management capability, which is supported by SLA Agreements, central resource administration and managed infrastructure. This means you have a guaranteed and timely management, maintenance and delivery of your IT services. With an Opex Model, the cloud is scalable to the growth or shrinkage of a business.

Accessibility to applications becomes much easier which ties into the business strategy, of allowing employees to be able to work flexibly regardless of location, which is being adopted on a mass scale.

Everyone has a cloud strategy; however, stages of implementation vary. Gradual transition to the cloud is the future. ‘Simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business’ – Marc Benioff CEO of Salesforce.

Phone System

With the competitive market of phone system’s it’s easy to ascertain a new one for a reasonable price, plus it ticks a big box in DR.

Software

Majority of commonly used Software exists as an improved version in Cloud format.

DC

A lift and shift greatly reduce the time on manually keeping the lights on, whilst improving areas such as Disaster Recovery, employee access, security and business scalability.

Managed Services

As highlighted in the prior segment, a cloud transition greatly frees resource. However, there are complications and constraints which mean this is not always best practice – for the time being. Fortunately, managed services exist.

Managed services allow for companies to offload the management of their kit and as the services provided are interchangeable/scalable – companies are enabled to pick and choose which areas they would like managed/monitored from their Critical Business Systems to lesser areas of importance.

Hosted / Cloud Security

Companies are often tentative with moving their security to the cloud – and they have every right to be. Cyber Security underpins the entirety of a company’s IT.

It is integral to the business that their IT process is secure, if not it may as well be ruled obsolete. However, outsourcing Security can be extremely beneficial and the functionality of it is commonly better than the Security practices already in place. It also enables ease of management with clean GUI’s, policy enforcement and regulatory patches.

Where to focus your energy as an IT Manager/IT Team:

1. What is your teams main time drain?

Does your team spend most of the time keeping the lights on and putting out fires? Do they spend their time on the road, travelling from site to site to fix problems?

These are just a couple of questions where the same answer is very common, IT Managers & Teams time is taken up battling to keep everything running smoothly instead of being more innovative to help the organisation improve their technology and the way they work.

With your team stretched are their areas that don’t get enough focus?

For example, as Security is vital for Non-Profit organisations it is important that it is done well however due to lack of time, resource or skill in house it can sometimes take a back seat in teams focus areas.

2. Have you investigated what options there are to Co-source/Outsource?

With more and more trusted IT partners becoming available it can be a great opportunity for stretched IT Teams to work with them to relieve a bit of stress, time and cost to the business with areas like security, network and infrastructure.

However, with so many potential IT Partners it is key you do your due diligence so you work with a partner that not only understands your IT strategy but also your business strategy so they can work with you to align the two.

3. What can you then use your IT resource to do?

Now you have relieved some of the many stresses that hold you back as a team, what can your team achieve?

This a great chance is to do more innovation projects within the organisation to improve the way the company works, their systems & process, increase the number of service users you can support and improve your service users experience, which in return will help the organisation grow, retain staff and increase funding.

Final Sign Off:

Here at Intercity we greatly pride ourselves on our consultative process of supporting organisations with the right IT solutions for them. We are always happy to discover and consult on the best IT options for your organisation. You can read more about the work we have done here – https://intercity.technology/why-intercity/our-customers/

Feel free to speak contact us for free advice here

Up next

Digital Transformation in the NHS

In 2018, we joined the nation in celebrating the 70-year anniversary of the National Health Service and the work that we as an organisation has done with both healthcare and public sector services over the past 13 years.

So much so in fact that we dedicated our latest quarterly edition of the Intercity Tech magazine towards the transition of the NHS’ systems into the digital age, and whether this will revolutionise the way patients receive healthcare in the future.

More recently, in January 2019 the NHS Long Term Plan was published, outlining the ways in which technology will play a central role in realising the plan.

Chapter 5 came as a particular interest to us, with a core focus around digital technology and its transformation within the NHS over the coming years.

WannaCry attack

When WannaCry hit the UK back in 2017, a minimum of 80 trusts across the UK fell victim, resulting in both NHS and patient downtime. The WannaCry attack led to 19,000 appointments and procedures being cancelled, and it disrupted over one third of trusts in England, so it’s no surprise to see that the healthcare sector is spearheading towards 100% compliance with mandated cyber security standards across all organisations to ensure NHS systems and data are secure.

Moving forward, the NHS have committed to allowing every patient in England to access a digital first, primary care offer, with access to their care plan and communications via the NHS App.

Health and care record platforms linking NHS and local authority organisations with be provisioned, systems to support population health management across Integrated Care Systems will be introduced and an extension of the Child Protection Information System will be embedded to cover all healthcare settings, including general practices.

Chief Research Office for F-Source, Mikko Hypponen, claims that

“NHS trusts across England are currently being pushed to the limit. It’s not surprising that they often don’t have the resources to dedicate 24/7 support to their IT systems.”

Hypponen also questions whether the majority of recent security breaches could have been an unfortunate consequence caused by a result of this.

With the NHS striving towards mainstream, digitally-enabled care across England, trusts now more than ever need to ensure that a robust digital strategy is in place to support this.

In light of the recent cyber-attacks, we reached out to 143 healthcare trusts around securing the future of the NHS, with 80 responding by commenting on the amount of downtime they experienced following a breach (including WannaCry, Locky and Zepto viruses).

Our findings showed that more than 17% of NHS Trusts experienced security-related downtime over the past three years, leading to over 18 days of IT outage, with 14 out of 25 trusts claiming that security breaches have been to root case of their IT outage over recent years.

NHS Digital Transformation

Data and security forms the lifeblood of not just the NHS, but all public sector organisations. In recent years, digital transformation has formed the basis of the local government digital strategy, with government organisations looking to digitise their processes. With a view to the next level of citizen value, organisations are looking to use digital technologies and innovation to transform the way the operate on a day to day basis.

Considering recent pressures of government budgets and cutbacks, public sector organisations are currently facing several challenges with updates and development to their current IT infrastructure, in line with the ever-developing digital sector.

Transformation strategy needs not to be as daunting as it may initially seem – by reviewing and modernising your existing infrastructure, and working with the right service level partner, it will allow for far greater efficiency whilst saving on both time and financial resource.

Summary

Intercity’s focus is, and always has been to transform public sector services and help drive digital transformation through the best use of technology to deliver the most effective outcomes and level of patient care.

By taking the time to understand not just our customers, but the sector in which they operate, it allows us to take a more informed approach to the way we work.

For more information on how Intercity Technology could support your public sector organisation, please contact publicsector@intercity.technology