Last week we hosted the first of our Quarterly Charity Technology Roundtables, with Microsoft Tech for Social Impact and Charity Finance Group. In this blog, we summarise our discussion on managing IT budgets, staff retention, and measuring the value of IT, and provide information about our upcoming events.
Recruitment & retention
- Colleagues were aligned that salaries make recruitment and retention a challenge.
- Allowing for flexible work post-Covid-19 is a given now; new hires expect it.
- IT staff are at risk of burnout if IT is under resourced.
- Career progression is an ongoing challenge; charity IT departments can be great training grounds for junior staff, as long as IT teams plan accordingly.
- 25% of the apprenticeship levy can be transferred from other companies into your charity to use for funding your teams’ training.
- Sending staff to spend a day with service delivery colleagues can be highly motivating.
- Fast, reliable technology and systems can be a retention method as staff value good quality tools to do their work.
Demonstrating the value of investment in IT
- People make up a far greater cost to most Nonprofits than technology. There is a case to be made, and can be calculated, for investment in IT resulting in greater productivity.
- Engaging with end users through focused, specific surveys was discussed as a good tool to ensure IT is constantly listening and supporting staff to be more productive.
- IT has enabled cost reductions across organisations; connectivity, comms, office space and travel costs are all areas where budget savings can be found.
- Many funding contracts and grants are tied to IT being demonstrably secure, proven with Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. Use Microsoft Secure Score as an easy way to get an overview of your security and immediate areas for improvements.
Governance & Consolidation
- Stronger governance when procuring new apps could help control costs and data sprawl.
- Users need clear messaging around the application portfolio available to them, and their benefits, to help combat “Shadow IT”. MS Defender for Cloud Apps can audit this.
- An application strategy with a clear IT roadmap for the organisation, including application integration and SSO by default, will help reduce reactive or hidden procurements.
- Regular infrastructure review and good housekeeping will ensure legacy servers are decommissioned and costs reduced.
- Moving documents to SharePoint can reduce overall costs as file servers can be decommissioned but requires information management structure planning, end user training / user adoption planning; this should be treated as a business-led, not IT, project!
- Automated laptop deployment using Autopilot is an easy way to free up IT teams’ time.
- Softphones such as MS Teams can be used on personal mobile phones to reduce the reliance on corporate issued devices.
- Desk phones are close to obsolete – cloud telephony integrated into MS Team is in most charities’ roadmaps.
- With the right implementation, SharePoint can offer a good Intranet solution and is already licensed with MS 365.
- Next Roundtable: Thursday 6 July, Microsoft’s London HQ: sign up here: Charity Technology Roundtable – theme: Achieving a Happy Hybrid Workforce
- Summer Social: Thursday 6 July, 4pm – 6.30pm, Microsoft’s London HQ: Charity Leaders Summer Social – a relaxed and fun networking event on the terrace on the 8th floor with drinks and snacks provided, and a chance to socialise with peers (note – it will be possible to work from the Microsoft office for the day, if you want to come to both events, and please feel free to invite IT or Finance colleagues)