Six Questions to Help Non-Profit IT Managers Pick the Right Partner
Every organization knows the importance of stretching each dollar. That’s especially true of a non-profit trying to keep operating costs at a minimum. They must keep their IT system investment running at peak performance, ensuring constant communication with members and achieving the organization’s underlying goals.
According to the recent 9th Annual Non-Profit Technology Staffing and Investments Report, IT staffs at national non-profits are falling into four categories:
“We are struggling; we have a failing infrastructure, and our technology time and budget generally go towards creating workarounds, repairing old equipment, and duplicating tasks.”
“We keep the lights on; we have basic systems in place to meet immediate needs. Leadership makes technology decisions based on efficiencies, with little to no input from staff/consultant.”
“We keep up; we have stable infrastructure and a set of technology policies and practices. Leadership makes technology decisions based on standard levels according to industry/sector information and gathers input from technology staff/consultant before making a final decision.”
“We’re innovators; we recognize that technology is an investment in our mission, and leadership integrates technology decisions with organizational strategy. Technology-responsible staff is involved in overall strategic planning.”
More than half of the surveyed organizations reported that they were at “Operating” level when it comes to technology adoption. The report also found that “Leading” organizations are nearly twice more likely to include technology in their strategic plans than” Struggling” organizations.
Large Charity’s Challenge: Support 100+ Sites with Lean IT Team
Recently, one of the leading organizations, with 125 locations in the U.S. and an array of business communications solutions, faced their own three challenges:
- Small IT staff overseeing large number of locations
- Support required for multivendor environment
- Insufficient tools to troubleshoot end user business communications problems
“I run an extremely lean staff,” says the telecom manager at one of the US’s top 25 non-profit organizations. “We do 25-50 major projects a year. Opening new locations, upgrading existing locations—all on top of day-to-day business. For us, it’s imperative that we operate as efficiently as possible with the tight resources we have.”
To overcome these challenges while boosting stability and allowing IT to focus on high value projects, the IT Manager looked for answers to six critical questions for a potential support services partner and their systems:
- Does the partner have the experience and resources to keep systems up and running while allowing the team to focus on high priority projects?
- Does the partner have the skills necessary to work in a collaborative multivendor environment?
- How does the partner optimize the performance of the current business environment while proactively preventing problems before they become outages? Do they use self-healing automated intelligent systems or is it manual?
- Does the partner have a continuum of services to support an evolving environment from maintenance to proactive support to managed to private cloud?
- How quickly can the provider restore systems during a disaster or emergency scenario?
- Can the partner provide an easy-to-use tool that helps diagnose reported intermittent network issues?
What are some of the questions that you are asking partners?