As charities are forced to do more with less funding it becomes more important to squeeze the best ROI possible from investments. Getting more from your charity’s IT systems is one area where this is especially true.
Often, the cost of purchasing and implementing new systems is large but then these systems are not used to their full potential. This can be for a variety of reasons, from poor implementation to lack of training for system users.
Below we have listed 4 ways that you could be getting more from your charity’s IT systems.
1. Data Sharing
One of the best improvements that charities can make is to start sharing data between their systems and departments. Many charities will have separate systems that are working in silos rather than a joined-up approach. The danger here is that it becomes difficult to get one version of the truth as data can be put into multiple systems.
To address this, you first want to see what departments would benefit from easier access to information from other departments. By looking at the processes within your charity you can create an “As Is” picture of your current ways of working. This will highlight crossover between departments and show where data sharing would be beneficial.
This improved data sharing will make it easier to report on activities and make informed decisions on the direction your charity should take. It will even free up time from team members who no longer have to enter data in multiple places or spend hours collating data from different systems.
Sometimes systems that are in your charity have been there for many years. It may even reach a point where those using the system were not there when it was first implemented and have never received proper training on how to use it.
That is why it can be worthwhile running training every few months to ensure that system users are utilising all that is available to them. Plugging any gaps in knowledge will help teams feel confident using a system and boost their efficiency every time they use it. This can provide a great ROI for the time used to train as well as improve employee satisfaction in their job.
While training will help with the functionality that already exists, you will sometimes find certain features are missing. This may be because they are in a more expensive package, or they were not needed at the time of implementation but as your charity has evolved so too has your needs.
If you want to be getting more from your charity’s IT systems, then it can be worth looking at the functionality that you currently do not have. You may have to spend some money to enable them but longer term the efficiency gains can more than make up for this.
It is worth talking to your service providers if you feel like some form of functionality is missing or would benefit your charity. Most will be happy to discuss your needs and highlight what they can offer to help your charity reach its goals.
Our final tip for getting more from your charity’s IT systems is to make sure you undertake maintenance. Regular updates to software are released that help to get rid of bugs and glitches that may be interfering with teams using the software.
Sometimes this maintenance may also come in the form of physical maintenance if you have on-premises solutions in place. Maintain server rooms and cooling solutions regularly can help to avoid a breakdown later that would prove more costly to fix and have more downtime.
Getting more from your charity’s IT systems should be a top priority for any charity looking to make their funding go further. The opportunity to work more efficiently and improve the day-to-day jobs of employees can be a massive boost to keep back-office costs under control.
Ready to get more from your IT systeems? Our team have helped charities acorss the UK to make better use of the systems they have in place. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.