5 Reasons why your Not-For-Profit should move to the cloud (Infographic)

This infographic showcases the top 5 reasons why your nonprofit needs to move to an always-updated experience powered by the cloud.

The benefits of adopting the cloud through Microsoft cloud services are presented; these include secure data, streamlined scalability, and cost savings. Various approaches to cloud migration enable nonprofit groups to move at their own pace, making the process easier to manage.

(Click on the image to open)

Does your organisation need to:

  • Have a central hub for all collaboration needs?
  • Access files from anywhere, on any device + edit documents with other people simultaneously?
  • Provide front-line workers with forms and apps that can be accessed and filled on the go?
  • Integrate systems so they can talk to each other and deliver a connected business process?
  • Have everything in one platform that is secure and standardised across the business?
  • Report on your data centrally and conveniently to help make informed decisions?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, a cloud system can help!

We’re here to help NFPs!

Bremmar is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner with 15 years’ experience in a range of Microsoft solutions. We help our NFP clients work smarter by making sure everyone is empowered with useful, intuitive technology solutions.

Whether it’s simply making it easier for team members to find files fast, or enabling collaboration across locations and multiple devices, we help organisations adopt the latest technologies to work smarter and enable a more connected and mobile workforce.

Get a Free Microsoft 365 Productivity consultation with Bremmar here! ???

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Aged Care TechFest: Key takeaways! SharePoint, Cameras and Business Analytics.


On Friday 15/11/19, we hosted the Aged Care TechFest: How to manage and use data for efficient operations.

We had a full house with many different organisations getting together to explore how to get the most out of their Office 365 subscription and how to use IT to achieve more.

The goal of the event was to present the main features within the Intranet and Document Management components of SharePoint by using real Aged Care examples in a demo, to deep dive into Bluefroce’s camera offerings and to cover business intelligence and data analytics by running a demo of Power BI and SSRS.

If you missed out or it was a lot to take in, it’s OK! We’ll dig into the main points covered today.

SHAREPOINT

SharePoint is not a single application that performs a primary function, like Outlook or Word. It is a powerful platform, providing many different and complex functions in a similar way that Google does. Some organisations use it for their website, for intranet, for their document management system, for their business knowledge base and so on.

At its heart, SharePoint is a website, or portal. It could be a single site with a homepage that links to different areas for documents, news or communications. It may be a site collection with several child sites underneath a parent site for separating the different areas of an organisation. In our experience, SharePoint works best when it reflects how your Aged Care operation works now or intends to work in their planned future.

Aged Care demo site presented at the event. 

What can I store in SharePoint?

SharePoint can store many different and complex types of information, such as office documents, images, audio, videos and links that are stored elsewhere on the web.

You can also store SharePoint is lists, so pieces of information that are not attached to a document file.

Metadata

A more powerful way to use SharePoint is through metadata. By taking your files out of folders, you can label each document with extra information (metadata) to classify them instead of only having folder and file names. This approach gives you a lot of flexibility in seeing your information, whereas folders is a set configuration.

Besides making documents easier to find, the real value of metadata comes from combining different data to improve the overall experience for users and making document search a more intuitive task.

Example used at the Aged Care TechFest presentation

Governance

SharePoint can help your business with governance and document compliance.

Permissions

SharePoint permissions can be set up so that the staff are able to view all public information, while any sensitive data can be organised and locked to specific groups of people. For example, you might want to provide access only to members of your team, or you might want to provide access to everyone, but restrict editing for some.

Version control

SharePoint will by default keep versions of your files. This allows you to track the history of a version knowing when a file has been changed and by whom; restore a previous version if you made a mistake or prefer what you had before; or simply view a previous version without overwriting your current version.

Automation

This is done in SharePoint through Microsoft Flow which automates workflows across different apps, such as automatically copy folders added to Dropbox to OneDrive, Save your Tweets with specific hashtags to a SharePoint list, approve a document with your manager and so on.

Co-authoring

In SharePoint, co-authoring enables multiple users to work on a document, at any time, without interfering with each other’s changes.

With co-authoring, you speed up that process, minimise room for errors and the risk of duplication.

SECURITY

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with more and more tools becoming available for aged care providers to develop safer and more efficient spaces for staff, management and customers. Providers are increasingly harnessing the power of smart analytics and business intelligence to improve governance and care provision.

Benefits of smart analytics

  • Integrate sophisticated solutions to revolutionise customer care;
  • Centralise systems to increase productivity and enhance user experience;
  • Automate alerts to reduce overheads and simplify staff workload;
  • Develop smart analytics to enhance accuracy and improve governance;
  • Customise data parameters to create tailored care plans.

CCTV and Power BI

Through a solid partnership, Blueforce and Bremmar can combine the data from CCTV with Power BI and feed the data to care providers via a centralised and user-friendly platform. Management can at a glance obtain a snapshot of what is happening within their facilities and tailor dashboards according to your operation needs. This solution improves and streamlines patient care and can also alert staff of unusual or concerning patterns of behaviour.

Example of CCTV data and Power BI combination used at the event.

BI & DATA ANALYTICS IN AGED CARE

Business intelligence is the concept of informed decision making based on evidence from past data analysis whereas data analytics is the concept of analysing past and present data to try and predict future scenarios.

Examples of BI & Data analytics in Aged care:

 

  • Facility Maintenance – BI
    • Analyse: Number of requests, timeframe of resolution, recurrence
    • Decisions/Actions: Equipment replacement/Upgrades
  • Certification compliance – Data Analytics
    • Analyse: Expiration dates, new certifications
    • Decisions/Actions: Training spend, training hours required
  • Blueforce Camera – BI
    • Analyse: Patient incidents, falls.
    • Decisions/Actions: Environmental changes, care plan changes
  • Blueforce Camera – Data Analytics
    • Analyse: Resident movements in the room vs incidents
    • Decisions/Actions: Certain incidents/falls, lack of movement can alert staff

But before you jump into BI or data anlaytics, remember: Without context, content and connection data is meaningless!

The difference between dashboards and reports

Some of the main differences between dashboards and reports are:

  • Dashboards tend to be concise and summary-like. Reports are usually longer and more detailed, although they may have summary components.
  • Dashboards tend to focus on Key Performance Indicators. Reports tend to focus on underlying data.
  • Dashboards also allow users to manipulate and interact with data dynamically, whereas reports show a static picture of the existing data.

So how do you determine which one you need?

The first major area where each offers a different advantage is in scope.

Dashboards are best employed when they focus on specific aspects of an organisation, such as tracking customer satisfaction or number of incidents. Reports have the benefit of a broader scope, offering a better-detailed view of an organisation.

The second key difference in each is data timeliness. Reports tend to be broader and feature historic data. Dashboards, on the other hand, are built to visualise and organise data in real-time.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft PowerBI is a great tool for creating rich personalised dashboards. There is a desktop version which is free, a professional version which has a monthly cost, and a premium version for large enterprise organisations.

Microsoft Power BI is used to find insights within an organisation’s data. It can help connect disparate data sets, transform and clean the data into a data model and create charts or graphs to provide visuals of the data. It integrates seamlessly into existing applications such as SharePoint and is viewable on mobile devices. It is a simple, user-friendly tool which has been developed for a range of BI users, from novice to professionals.

Here’s an image of the demo Power BI dashboard we presented at the event which shows expiring certifications for staff based on date and location.

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a server-based report generating software system made by Microsoft and used as a solution for companies who need to build custom reports from a variety of data sources.

Here’s an image of our demo showing a report with the underlying data from the Power BI dashboard (mentioned above).

Wrapping up…

If you are on Office 365, you probably already have access to some of the features mentioned above. Everything covered in the event was only the foundation for future cloud opportunities, as we haven’t yet touched on, PowerApps, Dynamics 365 or even the many other features in the SharePoint space itself.

If you would like a more personalised introduction to SharePoint, Security, Power BI or any of the Office 365 suite, here some of the areas we can help with:

  • Demos: Personalised demos & intro workshops related to your industry and business reality – Click here to read more
  • Small consultation sessions: Together, we’ll prepare a feasibility/business case to help you get started
  • Guided start – have your own expert: Bremmar can provide an on-site resource to assist and work with you between 1-4 days a month
  • Managed services support to apps: Full user support on the Office 365 stack and productivity apps like SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, etc.
  • User training: We can teach your staff on how to use newer technology to perform daily tasks and help with overall business adoption
  • The whole lot: From consultation to planning, implementation and support, we can help with your entire project requirements.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics above, please call us in for a chat on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and our consultants will get in touch with you!

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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NFP TechFest: Key takeaways! SharePoint, Microsoft 365 security and Business analytics for NFPs.

On Tuesday 08/10/19, we hosted the NFP TechFest: How to manage and use data for good.

We had a full house with many different organisations getting together to explore how to get the most out of their Office 365 subscription and how to use IT to achieve more.

The goal of the event was to present the main features within the Intranet and Document Management components of SharePoint by using real NFP examples in a demo, to deep dive into Microsoft 365 security and to cover business intelligence and data analytics by running a demo of Power BI and SSRS.

If you missed out or it was a lot to take in, it’s OK! We’ll dig into the main points covered today.

SHAREPOINT

SharePoint is not a single application that performs a primary function, like Outlook or Word. It is a powerful platform, providing many different and complex functions in a similar way that Google does. Some organisations use it for their website, for intranet, for their document management system, for their business knowledge base and so on.

At its heart, SharePoint is a website, or portal. It could be a single site with a homepage that links to different areas for documents, news or communications. It may be a site collection with several child sites underneath a parent site for separating the different areas of an organisation. In our experience, SharePoint works best when it reflects how your NFP works now or intends to work in their planned future.

NFP demo site presented at the event. 

What can I store in SharePoint?

SharePoint can store many different and complex types of information, such as office documents, images, audio, videos and links that are stored elsewhere on the web.

Another kind of information you can store in SharePoint is lists, so pieces of information that are not attached to a document file.

Different ways of storing information

Folders

Folders are a familiar and traditional way to group and organise documents and they can be replicated in SharePoint libraries.

For business users, this makes it easy to look down into the deeper levels and find what they are looking for. However, it can also present a challenge for people from other teams, or new starters. They may not know the common paths or understand the meaning of the folder names that they are searching, and Windows Explorer can be slow and not produce the expected result.

Metadata

A more powerful way to use SharePoint is through metadata. By taking your files out of folders, you can label each document with extra information (metadata) to classify them instead of only having folder and file names. This approach gives you a lot of flexibility in seeing your information, whereas folders is a set configuration.

Besides making documents easier to find, the real value of metadata comes from combining different data to improve the overall experience for users and making document search a more intuitive task.

 

Governance

SharePoint can help your business with governance and document compliance.

Permissions

SharePoint permissions can be set up so that the staff are able to view all public information, while any sensitive data can be organised and locked to specific groups of people. For example, you might want to provide access only to members of your team, or you might want to provide access to everyone, but restrict editing for some.

Version control

SharePoint will by default keep versions of your files. This allows you to track the history of a version knowing when a file has been changed and by whom; restore a previous version if you made a mistake or prefer what you had before; or simply view a previous version without overwriting your current version.

Automation

This is done in SharePoint through Microsoft Flow which automates workflows across different apps, such as automatically copy folders added to Dropbox to OneDrive, Save your Tweets with specific hashtags to a SharePoint list, approve a document with your manager and so on.

Co-authoring

In SharePoint, co-authoring enables multiple users to work on a document, at any time, without interfering with each other’s changes.

With co-authoring, you speed up that process, minimise room for errors and the risk of duplication.

Security

In the past, the firewall was the security perimeter. That’s because most of the data was kept in-house, or on premise. Nowadays, there’re fewer boundaries, much more data and more complexity.

Microsoft security pillars

Microsoft determines four main pillars for security:

  • Identity & access management
  • Threat protection
  • Information protection
  • Security management

What is Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft 365 is the next step after Office 365 as it includes everything in Office 365 plus Microsoft’s productivity apps and advanced security – external threat protection and internal data leak prevention.

Data loss prevention

Workplaces are much more complex than a few years ago. BYOD and the use of many devices for work are now the norm. This means that people are constantly shifting from personal to corporate-owned information.

If your employees are bringing their own device and accessing many different types of information, how do you make sure that corporate data is protected? Microsoft tackles that issue by applying security measurements on an app level, not device or user. This means that your employee can have their own device and access personal information, however, your organisation still keeps control over apps and systems that are corporate.

Even if your employee loses the laptop, for example, the company can fully wipe an app remotely!

Business Intelligence and Data Analytics

Business Intelligence (or BI), sounds fancy, but in simple terms means just intelligence collected about your NFP which you gain from data, such as financial information, donor demographics, event participation, or staff information.

Data analytics is a catch-all term for a variety of different BI and even though it can include BI, it could also include other sources of contemporary or modern ways of analysing data due to new data types, and the ability to leverage new data volumes.

Unfortunately, data analytics is not widespread in the non-profit sector and the main factors preventing organisations from utilising data are:

  • Organisations aren’t collecting enough of it
  • Lack of tools to help analyse it
  • It isn’t kept in one place
  • Personnel don’t have enough experience using data
  • Not enough time, or personnel to focus on it

No matter your organisation’s mission, providing indispensable services to the underserved requires effective, efficient, responsive, and accountable organisations composed of people that make grounded decisions. Data analytics and BI are a strong tool your organisation should be using to achieve that.

The difference between dashboards and reports

Some of the main differences between dashboards and reports are:

  • Dashboards tend to be concise and summary-like. Reports are usually longer and more detailed, although they may have summary components.
  • Dashboards tend to focus on Key Performance Indicators. Reports tend to focus on underlying data.
  • Dashboards also allow users to manipulate and interact with data dynamically, whereas reports show a static picture of the existing data.

So how do you determine which one you need?

The first major area where each offers a different advantage is in scope.

Dashboards are best employed when they focus on specific aspects of an organisation, such as tracking customer satisfaction or number of incidents. Reports have the benefit of a broader scope, offering a better-detailed view of an organisation.

The second key difference in each is data timeliness. Reports tend to be broader and feature historic data. Dashboards, on the other hand, are built to visualise and organise data in real-time.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft PowerBI is a great tool for creating rich personalised dashboards. There is a desktop version which is free, a professional version which has a monthly cost, and a premium version for large enterprise organisations.

Microsoft Power BI is used to find insights within an organization’s data. It can help connect disparate data sets, transform and clean the data into a data model and create charts or graphs to provide visuals of the data. It integrates seamlessly into existing applications such as SharePoint and is viewable on mobile devices. It is a simple, user-friendly tool which has been developed for a range of BI users, from novice to professionals.

Here’s an image of the demo Power BI dashboard we presented at the event which shows expiring certifications for staff based on date and location.

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a server-based report generating software system made by Microsoft and used as a solution for companies who need to build custom reports from a variety of data sources.

Here’s an image of our demo showing a report with the underlying data from the Power BI dashboard (mentioned above).

Wrapping up…

If you are on Office 365, you probably already have access to some of the features mentioned above. Everything covered in the event was only the foundation for future cloud opportunities, as we haven’t yet touched on, PowerApps, Dynamics 365 or even the many other features in the SharePoint space itself.

Remember, if you are an eligible NFP ( https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/nonprofits/eligibility ), you have access to heavily discounted  O365 pricing and certain Microsoft Cloud products, so make sure you make the most of your subscription!

If you would like a more personalised introduction to SharePoint, Security, Power BI or any of the Office 365 suite, here some of the areas we can help with:

  • Demos: Personalised demos & intro workshops related to your industry and business reality – Click here to read more
  • Small consultation sessions: Together, we’ll prepare a feasibility/business case to help you get started
  • Guided start – have your own expert: Bremmar can provide an on-site resource to assist and work with you between 1-4 days a month
  • Managed services support to apps: Full user support on the Office 365 stack and productivity apps like SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, etc.
  • User training: We can teach your staff on how to use newer technology to perform daily tasks and help with overall business adoption
  • The whole lot: From consultation to planning, implementation and support, we can help with your entire project requirements.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics above, please call us in for a chat on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and our consultants will get in touch with you!

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Responsible digital leadership – Skills that every charity leader needs

Do you have what it takes to lead your charity into the future – a future where digital reigns king? It’s not just about promoting your cause on social media or getting volunteers to sign up on digital channels. It’s about overhauling processes and systems within your organisation for streamlining, ongoing success, and intelligent insights into your operations.

Being a responsible digital leader in a field where fund spend always needs to be justified requires careful consideration. Today we take you through some skills that you’ll need to be the most successful digital leader you can within your organisation.

Don’t just educate yourself – educate your team

It’s not enough to create an IT strategy and start convincing your stakeholders about the benefits of digital transformation within your charity. As much as you educate yourself about the digital changes necessary to stay relevant in the future, you need to instil this education within both your employed team as well as in your volunteer force.

Creating educational packages, meetings, emails, etc., about both the benefits and changes necessary in the digital space within your organisation should be a top priority.

This needs to be approached with careful consideration as to your audience as well as have a persuasive voice. Utilise the same approach that you do when convincing others of your charity’s mission to convince others of the power of a digital-first approach.

Remember your audience and design accordingly

As a charity, you are different from a commercial enterprise, which means that your audience and messaging will be different. This acknowledges that a different approach is necessary when introducing digital marketing efforts – one that may vary considerably from a lot of the information you might find online.

The best way to guide your digital marketing efforts is to create personas for each of your contributor classes, both in terms of donors as well as for volunteers, too. These may be large enterprises, with corporate programs, socially enterprising 20-somethings, through to retirees looking to give back to a good cause.

Be smart about your data handling and gathering

Just because you are a charity leader, doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from rules and regulations surrounding data handling and use in your organisation.

Data security is more important than ever, with steep penalties in place in the case of data breaches if not handled correctly.

You can read all about the relevant rules and legislation surrounding Australia’s Data Protection here. Keep in mind Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme about your obligations in the event of a data breach, as well as the GDPR rules if you have any interactions in the EU.

Beyond rules and regulations, you should also think about how you’re processing and dealing with data within your organisation. Read our article about Analytics for Not-For-Profit Organisations to learn how you could be doing more with your internal data.

Utilise new digital channels and apps to forward your NFP mission

What digital channels and apps are you currently using to forward your mission?

Just a website, email system? Do you have a (monitored and managed) Facebook page? Instagram, Twitter, perhaps? A presence on Google Maps? Are you listed on Go Volunteer?

What apps are you using to streamline these operations? Social media and newsletter scheduling software? Volunteer scheduling software? Workflows like Microsoft Flow?

Are you able to access all this from anywhere, or just within your building?

There are more promotional avenues and helpful apps for charities than ever before, and the advent of cloud computing means that you can have access to these systems from anywhere.

As a responsible digital leader, it’s your duty to realise which of these are particularly useful for your charity, as well as keep an eye on new technologies in the space which can help out.       

And more…

Other skills you need to keep in mind as a responsible leader include:

  • An understanding of the current state of cybersecurity and which of your systems may be at risk (including risk mitigation plans)
  • Collaborate with others in the space. These days, it feels more and more like we’re all in this together. Network and collaborate with others in the space for mutual benefits.
  • Be prepared to show stakeholders the business benefits of digital initiatives!

Know when to partner with the right company

We all need a little help sometimes. Implementing completely new digital systems without the relevant expertise can involve hundreds of hours of (unpaid) self-education, and a considerable amount of trial and error.

Knowing when to partner with the right company to help in your digital journey is just as important as realising the power of digital transformation itself.

If you are at the stage when it’s come time for a helping hand, then get in contact with us at Bremmar. We are leaders in the not for profit space when it comes to helping organisations with their digitisation. Call today on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below to start the conversation!

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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My key takeaways from the first Leading Aged Care Services Australia (LASA) Conference in WA

On the 28th of May, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) had their inaugural WA State Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Perth. It was a two-day event which brought Aged Care providers and distributors involved in the Aged Care sector together, providing new opportunities to collaborate with the end goal of improving the quality and governance of Aged Care in Australia. 

For the past 9 years, Bremmar has been supporting a few Aged Care facilities in WA (read here how), including Rosewood Care Group (read the case study here), Acacia Living Group (read the case study here) and Curtin Heritage Living. We’re involved in everything from basic day to day support to infrastructure projects, and consultation on new facility developments.  

As this was the first LASA Conference in WA, we couldn’t miss out and needed to be there to know the latest in the industry, share experiences with other providers and, of course, say hello to some familiar faces! 

LASA Conference and the Royal Commission 

The big talking point at the event, and currently the main item on all Aged Care providers lists, was the Royal Commission and the quality of service provided to the aging demographic. The Royal Commission has raised a set of standards that Aged Care providers need to abide by to maintain or improve their quality of care ensuring their customers are provided with the best quality of life possible within their service. 

At a high level, the Royal Commission has provided a list of 8 standards for the sector:

  1. Consumer dignity and choice 
  2. On-going assessment and planning with consumers 
  3. Personal care and clinical care 
  4. Services and supports for daily living 
  5. Organisation’s service environment 
  6. Feedback and complaints 
  7. Human resources 
  8. Organisational governance 

The Royal Commission standards and IT 

Using our knowledge of the industry and expertise in IT, we would recommend exploring how technology solutions can help you achieve the standard required and confidently suggest that you see IT as an ally to your organisation during this journey.  

A few examples of technology solutions we offer can support the standards: 

  • Online training using different approaches (video, written, videoconference, etc.) 
  • Solutions that keep history trial and store documents as evidence of processes and tasks 
  • Online surveys and forms that can be integrated with core business applications  
  • A central hub for strategic documents, policies and procedures  
  • Apps for improved communication between organisation and consumers  
  • Automation of forms, incident reports and surveys that use triggers for actions such as approval processes 
  • Privacy, security and confidentiality solutions 
  • Systems for securely sharing information with other organisations  
  • Monitoring and reporting solutions 
  • Knowledgebase giving workers easy access to best practices and specific industry information 
  • Data collection, reporting and analysis 

IT and Aged Care – a few scenarios 

For example, using data analytics applications such as PowerBI (included in various Office 365 package), providers can review live data and KPI’s to make informed decisions which will directly impact results and care.  

Business process efficiencies can be achieved through integrating patient care and other line of business applications used by the organisation to save time and effort which can be re-directed to providing a higher quality of care to their consumers.  

The organisation can implement an intranet and document management hub using SharePoint. This can centralise organisational documents, announcements, notifications, events, and generally a platform to keep everyone informed and included in the provider’s mission. 

My experience 

Although a lot of my time during the event was spent in the booth chatting to passers-by about their views on the changes to the industry, I managed to sneak away for a couple of the presentations.  

Notably, a very interesting presentation by Steve Pretzel from TADWA about enhancing daily living through assistive technologies and the social trends of the aging population. Simple technologies, such as video conferencing, can bring families visually together around a dinner table without having to travel and from the safety and comfort of their facility. A cost-effective and simple example of how to improve the quality of life of the consumer. 

Overall, there was a lot to learn and digest. Particularly, I had a great experience and it was an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge in the industry, say hi to a few familiar faces, meet new providers and connect with distributors which, together, we can help improve the Aged Care industry in WA. It was also awesome to see so many people getting together for the same cause and willing to help each other out! 

What is your organisation’s maturity level in relation to the new standards?

If you play a part in the sector and are thinking about where your organisation is in terms of abiding by the standards, we have developed an online assessment which will provide you with a maturity score of how well you fare against the standards. From there, we can help you identify areas to focus on and give you the steps to get there! 

Assess your organisation’s maturity level here!

If you work in the Aged Care industry and would like to know how IT can help your business, check our services page here then give us a call on 1300 991 351 or fill in the form below and one of our consultants will guide you in the right direction!

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Organise, find, and collaborate: Cloud Document Management with SharePoint for Not-For-Profits

Regular old file systems might be how you’ve done things for years, and you might have a pretty good set of processes going for how to store things and where, but technology has come a long way since File Explorer was created.

As an NFP, you want to be able to do tasks more efficiently with a limited budget for tech.

The good news is there’s an inexpensive way to organise, find, and collaborate on your files with 2019 technology that means performing tasks is a breeze.

Introducing Microsoft SharePoint’s Cloud Document Management. Once implemented, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.

What is Cloud Document Management?

Cloud Document Management isn’t just your OneDrive/Google Drive/DropBox folder system full of documents.

Eventually, these sorts of systems get messy in an organisation. It’s all well and good for a small, new team, but once you get past a certain point, it can be hard to find documents, work collaboratively, and organise properly for effective document management.

That’s when a Cloud Document Management system comes in.

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a Microsoft product that has a number of functions; one of them being Cloud Document Management. You can also build custom internal websites for your NFP, create social feeds, and create applications with SharePoint; but these are beyond the scope of this article.

SharePoint is a platform built to be unique for each business and unique for your requirements, so in between document management, intranet, website development, amongst others, SharePoint will be what your NFP wants it to be.

How does SharePoint Cloud Document Management work?

Using SharePoint for Cloud Document Management, you can organise your files into grouped areas, such as by departments, programs or campaigns. Each file has a version history, so older versions of files are never lost. Because it’s in the cloud, it also means you can access it by a web browser or app, so files are available from anywhere, on any device. The collaboration features, such as co-authoring (having two or more people working in the same document simultaneously and saving changes) mean you can work on files with outside organisations and other NFPs without friction. Security is guaranteed, and you can select that your data only be stored in Australian cloud servers.

You can also organise by user access, too. User access management is a crucial and often overlooked function within NFPs. Too often we see NFPs who either have volunteers given access to all their file systems, or the painful process of asking manually whenever they require document access. Utilising SharePoint (correctly) provides a neat solution to this issue.

SharePoint allows you to add metadata to your files for effective and easy organisation.

SharePoint’s metadata capabilities allow you to assign many types of data and properties to your documents. Metadata is data about data and can include rich-text long-form descriptions, auto generated reference numbers, and multiple-choice selections chosen from drop-down lists. With the appropriate metadata, documents are easier to search, navigate and identify.

Instead of storing your files in folders, SharePoint enables your business to define a range of specific categories to file and lookup against. Let me explain…

You could add metadata fields like Year, Target Audience, Project Name, Contributors, For Press Release, etc. These can be selectable from lists, a checkbox, a date, a number, or an answer written in. For example:

The old way

When locating a file relating to a specific activity within a NFP program in a traditional folder based filing system, staff would browse to the relevant program folder, then look through all the other files in that folder to hopefully find the specific document (assuming it will be saved under the right name and will be the last updated version, or that staff know where to look in the first place).

Through SharePoint metadata

Under a SharePoint categorised file system, files can be located by simply selecting the relevant document categories: ‘Program Name’, ‘Activity Name’, ‘Activity Type or ‘File Type’. The files that match those categories are then displayed. Click below to see an example:

The categorised file system also allows you to search specific documents by category filtering, making the platform intuitive to use and files easy to find by everyone in the organisation. Click below to see an example of file search by filter:

Content Types allow you to have common metadata based on filetype

This means you can create Content Types (e.g. Invoice, Whitepaper, Presentation, etc.) and assign these types to files (making files searchable and/or organised by type). Your Invoice type could have metadata fields of Year, Donor Name, Invoice Number, etc. Your Whitepaper type could have metadata for Project Name, Contributors, and Distributed To metadata fields.

All this metadata and Content Types allows you to easily, for instance, find all Whitepapers that are for Press Release containing the words “Environment” that were created in the past 2 years.

You can also assign a document template to the Invoice Content Type so that all invoices are formatted consistently.

See how this can help keep you organised?

You can even add automations to your document management system with Microsoft Flow, enhancing efficiency in file management. One example might be when a file is marked For Press Release in your system, it’s emailed to the manager for approval.

SharePoint Cloud Document Management starts with Libraries

The first task in switching to SharePoint Cloud Document Management is splitting up your current drive and folder structures into libraries. Each library should represent a separate business function. If your file system is quite organised already, this shouldn’t be too tricky.

Your HR folder will be a separate library, your Donors folder will be a separate library, your Projects folder will be one separate library, and so on.

You can then create a central library to manage Policies for each of your separate areas/libraries – instead of having your policies and procedures for each department under their respective areas. This is a better configuration for a holistic approach to organisational management.

Let’s get started

If your NFP already uses the Microsoft’s O365 suite, then you should have SharePoint there waiting to be used!

We can give you a hand setting things up for the best document management experience and structure and walk you through it. We are Microsoft Certified Partners, which means we’re not only able to provide the SharePoint software, but train you in how to use it, and teach others within the organisation.

Get started on a better way to organise all your digital file management as part of your digital transformation with SharePoint and Bremmar. Contact us now on 1800 991 351 to learn more.

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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Analytics for Not-For-Profit organisations

What sort of analytics are you using in your NFP? Spreadsheet queries? CRM reports? User-friendly, in-depth Business Intelligence or Analytics is no longer a bleeding edge technology, it’s now within reach for non-profits to produce deep insights, without a huge price tag.

Analytics products can produce:

  • Standard Reports
  • Ad Hoc Reports
  • Query Drilldown or On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP)
  • Alerts or Triggers
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Forecasting
  • Segmentation or Descriptive Data
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Decision Support System (DSS) or Prescriptive Analytics
  • Optimisation
    (via The Definitive Guide to Nonprofit Analytics)

These can all be applied in critical areas of your NFP, such as donor and volunteer insights, strategic partnerships, and goal setting.

Insight into donor and volunteer behaviours

How do you currently track donors and volunteers and their behaviour? Via a self-made spreadsheet or database? Perhaps a lightweight CRM? What are you doing with all that data you have? Simply tracking donations, priming donors when alerts pop up, asking volunteers to reach out to their networks?

There is a lot more that you can do with donor and volunteer data with the power of analytics.

For instance, when Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud, used analytics to conduct research into the influences on donors surrounding their first $1000 donation. What they found was that 14% made their first $1000 donation after the 7 years of giving mark, and 21% after 8 years.

By used advanced analytics and time series data, you too can discover these sorts of patterns in your donors and volunteers. This will help drive business decisions and set realistic and achievable goals.

Strategic partnerships driven by data

In 2019, collaboration is easier than ever. With the power of the internet, we can easily find strategic partners that can help us along in our journey, connect with similar NFP heads or commercial figures nationally and internationally via the power of LinkedIn, and strategise together across borders and boundaries.

Analytics can help pinpoint the connections and partnerships you should consider by clever market segmentation. For further discussion on this topic, we recommend reading “Community Influences: Implementing Nonprofit Market Analysis to Evaluate Partnerships.

Working together with other agencies and individuals can be facilitated by new technologies making data sharing simple, organised, frictionless, and with instant collaboration.

Not only this, with these systems in place, you can then utilise all the captured communications, updates, movement of data, and quality of the relationship to assess the effectiveness of the partnership itself, as well as guide you in choosing new partners in the future.

Heightened effectiveness and razor focus on NFP goals

The beauty of data-driven decision making is most clear when it comes to your monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. goals. When you have clear goals in place with associated quantitative measurement factors, business analytics can keep you on track, help focus goals more clearly, guide next period goals, and time-predictive analysis to truly see how effective your efforts are.

“Most nonprofits measure the age-old standard known as RFM — recency, frequency, monetary value. Business intelligence takes this data and turns it into actionable intelligence. This means that the type of information that is analyzed through BI (Business Intelligence aka Analytics) can lead to the steps necessary to not only improve those KPI figures, but develop new metrics for measuring performance success.” – Heather Hawkins, Stratus Live

If you use analytics in only one place in your NFP, it should be for goal tracking and improvement.

Think analytics software is difficult and expensive? Think again

Using commercially available business analytics software such as Microsoft’s Power BI is not only decades ahead in terms detailed, AI-driven analysis rather than personally developed spreadsheets, it’s also relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you already use the Microsoft suite of products – and particularly if you’ve already made the switch to O365 – you’re already in a good position to start taking advantage of their data analytics product, Power BI. It utilises your data from other sources such as spreadsheets, CRMS, and email communications to find key insights from your existing data. Their pricing plans for nonprofits are also very reasonably priced, from $3/user/month at the time of print.

Separate to the latest products like Power BI, there are other options that we use at Bremmar and find effective, such as SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services). SSRS is effective at delivering highly customised reports and dashboards with built-in calculations.

If you would like to test the waters first, we recommend thinking about one custom report that you think would benefit your organisation or a particular staff member the most. Work out how you would like the report to look and what information you would like in it. Depending on how complex your report is, we usually require between 4 to 16 hours labour to complete a custom report on your behalf and we aim to teach you as we go.

Now that you are armed with all this information, you need to put all the pieces together and start that learning and insights journey – and that’s where we come in. We help with recommendations through to planning, implementation, ongoing support and training.

Contact us on 1300 991 351 to start making your data work harder for you – instead of working harder for your data.

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

We can help with software, technology implementation, strategy and staff training.
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How can NFPs justify generating funds to invest in innovative technology, whilst still remaining true to purpose?

Justification of generating wealth is an issue unique to NFPs. In business, this is the end goal, while on the Not For Profit side, wealth generation needs to be justified by carefully considered, true-to-purpose spend. Donors and other sources of funding want to know that you are spending wisely; furthering your mission, becoming better at your purpose.

So how do you explain to funders that their money is going into upgrading your tech? Won’t this look out of place on the balance sheet, an aside from your mission? As technology becomes not merely a necessity business, but rather a competitive tool, NFP’s need to get serious about their tech infrastructure. The issue arises as these technology solutions often come with a significant price tag.

We know, this can sound biased coming from a technology provider, however, we are there, on the ground, seeing and experiencing the benefits of implementing innovative technology solutions.

What we see is many businesses using IT to gain business advantage, racing ahead with automation and AI solutions, while many NFPs are falling behind as they are busy just trying to justify a laptop upgrade.

Investing in technology means more efficiency

You know how easy Netflix made people’s lives? They made a product so efficient that it sent video stores out of business. When you spend money on tech products that can make your work life much more efficient, this means you can spend more time on your core mission.

Let’s take, for instance, setting up task automation within your NFP. Perhaps you have a monthly newsletter that you send out to donors. Spending time writing up pieces, designing, and getting content from people across the organisation can be extremely time consuming. Instead, you could set up software with a monthly recurring project and automatically assign tasks to people. Once they’ve uploaded their content this could be auto-fit to a newsletter, following a design pattern that you’ve set up. Reminders could be sent to people who haven’t uploaded their content the week before the newsletter is released. Once all tasks are completed, you could give the generated newsletter a once-over, before it’s automatically sent out to all your donors.

Just this process can save hours and hours of time – time better spent on other activities.

The solutions and products you choose don’t always need to be expensive or complex. Here’s an example in the education industry where a school leveraged Office 365 and used forms to transform its dining-hall processes.

Broadclyst School – Online dining from Microsoft DMC on Vimeo.

Modernised systems allow you to collaborate and communicate more effectively

How are you collaborating with donors, stakeholders, with others involved in your mission? With modern, cloud systems, collaboration and communication is fluid, easy, and instant. Tasks that would’ve taken hours in the field can be done from anywhere.

An example of this may be if you are in a meeting, where you are asked on the spot to provide documents stored on your work systems. If you don’t have cloud access, you’re left in the lurch, saying you’ll need to send them through when you get back.

Perhaps you want to collaborate with a similar NFP in another state. Using O365 online you can even work on documents together at the same time, share resources, and instant chat.

At Bremmar, we are advocates of Microsoft Teams for internal collaboration and communication. You can either use it within your Office 365 account or it’s now also available for free. This tool has many uses and benefits.

In our office, we use it for specific project discussions, where you can upload all files, meeting notes, conversations and everything you can think of related to that project to one central hub.

Another interesting way we’ve incorporated Teams into our business is through our Marketing department. The Marketing team only collaborates with our Marketing agency (which is based on the East Coast) through Microsoft Teams – meetings, weekly WIPs, conversations, files, approvals, etc. For both companies, back and forth emails and confusing approval processes have become a thing of the past!

By investing in cyber security, you are honouring your donors’ trust

This is another area where spending on technology is crucial for your NFP. As cyber security threats become more complex and pervasive, your cyber security countermeasures need to keep in step.

For instance, having all your systems frozen by ransomware and having to pay to get them back isn’t desirable for any organisation, but for an NFP, having to pay up might be near-on impossible.

Of course, the monetary impact can be huge, however, we can’t ignore that an incident like a data breach or information leak can pretty much ruin your reputation and completely break your donors trust.

Securing your IT infrastructure needs to be a priority to protect your digital assets within your organisation.

The basic solutions that we recommend for any business, for profit or non-profit are reputable anti-virus agents on all your computer and mobile devices along with encryption, a solid well configured firewall to control access to your computer network, a reliable backup system and basic user education to identify scams. If you don’t have those, you could be a real easy target for attacks! You can take more steps and implement other systems to make your environment even safer, however, this must be evaluated case by case and depends on your business needs.

Investing in technology saves money

Strategic investment in technology is designed to save money in the long run. By becoming more efficient and effective in your workplace, this means that you can do more with less resources. Instead of having to hire more people, the team you have can do more for your mission.

Maybe you are not in the right moment to make a big investment in technology, however, it’s good to start thinking about it and putting it as one of the priority items in your business plan. There are also small, incremental changes that you can do over time which won’t be such a big impact on your budget and you can use the opportunity to start getting your staff ready for technology updates.

By taking some steps, such as moving to the cloud, you convert costs from Capex to Opex, so your NFP avoids that initial big investment in IT whilst opening the door to many solutions and apps that can be leveraged in the cloud. In the long run, cloud-based app and solutions can reduce overall costs and you can scale your NFP’s operations according to its needs.

Justifying spend on technology needs to be backed up by a solid strategy in place to help you become more efficient, effective, reduce your risk, and save on resources.

At Bremmar, we’re committed to helping NFPs further their mission by undergoing digital transformation. If you are interested in learning more about how you can achieve this transformation and unlock all the benefits of a tech-first organisation, contact our consultants today!

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

We can help with software, technology implementation, strategy and staff training.
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How the Not-For-Profit technology landscape is changing

You will have noticed the fast swing upwards in technology capability over the past 10 years. Smartphones, cloud, rapid internet expansion, social media and cybersecurity issues have all been at the forefront of the news, and they are only gathering more strength.

As a not-for-profit organisation, this is changing the way that you are expected to operate, too. Today, we take a closer look at some of the ways in which the technology landscape for NFPs is changing – and more importantly, how to bring your organisation up to speed.

Customers and clients expect a technology experience in line with business

How do both your digital footprint and interaction channels stack up against businesses? Against similar NFPs? No matter your mission, if you can’t express your message the way that customers have come to expect, then they’ll go elsewhere.

Bringing your user experience in line with customer expectations involves gathering data about what others are doing and implementing it within your own systems.

This includes elements like:

  • A responsive website that looks good on mobile
  • Easy donation channels
  • A social media presence
  • Regular online updates so the public know what you’re doing
  • Multiple contact channels

Cloud is king

One of the most challenging aspects in terms of technology in the NFP landscape has always been technology governance; how to create systems, users, data collections, and tech resources that are available to staff and volunteers when they need it.

With cloud technology, this problem has been solved. Have you rolled over your systems to the cloud yet, to take advantage of everything it has to offer? You might have already implemented some cloud solutions. You might have an organisation-wide DropBox, OneDrive, or Google Drive file system for people to access. You may already use a cloud productivity suite such as GSuite or O365.

However, arguably one of the most useful cloud tools is identity and access management. Using cloud access management tools like Azure Active Directory can help keep cloud data and systems management secure and safe, no matter how big or small your organisation.

Leveraging data to drive your NFP further

What are you doing with your data? And how have your data collection methods changed? As an NFP, you’ll have a mine of data you’ve already accumulated across the years. This will include your donation customer database, as well as volunteers, and possible other leads.

However, the way that we can collect, manage, and analyse data has changed. While you may have Excel spreadsheets or even a CRM, are you using the data that you have to your best advantage?

There are plenty of tools that can help you get a start with transforming and analysing your data, such as Microsoft Power BI or Qlikview. Pick well-known tools with plenty of training available that are within your budget or offer discounts to NFPs.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

One of the issues facing many NFPs is ageing IT devices and infrastructure. A new fleet of desktops and laptops come with a significant price tag which can be a strain on budgets.

However, many people already have their own devices which can be used for work purposes; smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You may already have an ad-hoc Bring Your Own Device system in place, maybe routing emails to people’s phones. However, by implementing a strong BYOD policy and system, you can be sure that you are able to manage data flow (both in and out) to people’s own personal devices.

Products like Microsoft Intune have been specifically developed to help organisations manage BYOD in the workplace. By developing a policy and utilising tools that already exist for management, you can both save on the cost of hardware, as well as make sure that your IT systems are still secure.

On the topic of security

Managing IT organisational security is more important than ever. Ransomware, such as last year’s WannaCry attack, can be even more crippling to budget-conscious NFPs than it is too big business. If your systems and data are held hostage for ransom, where do the funds to pay the ransom come from? And, what if your mission-critical systems and data aren’t released after paying the ransom?

Ransomware is just one of the security issues facing NFPs. You should be considering intrusion detection systems, access controls, vulnerabilities on your website, and more.
Having a security check-up is a good way to start your journey towards secure IT infrastructure. While there are tools available to help do this, it’s often better to seek a professional assessment, which can help make recommendations to strengthen security across your organisation and systems.

Need a helping hand?

At Bremmar, it’s one of our missions to help the not for profit sector bring technology, infrastructure, and policy in line with current standards and help strengthen systems so they’re future-proof and secure. If you’d like a helping hand with your IT in any of these areas, make sure to reach out!

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How to tailor your IT needs as an NFP

Digital transformation. Your business needs it. That’s what the internet keeps saying, right? TED talks, those posts from your network on LinkedIn… But there’s always something missing in this conversation.

Are non-profits being excluded from this conversation?

Non-profits sometimes let it slip through the cracks when it comes to the digital transformation conversation. As an NFP, you have certain unique qualities that don’t exist in the sense of the traditional business. And what this means is that your IT needs will be slightly different from the average business.

So, today we’re taking a look at a few key IT areas with innately unique qualities in an NFP. We’ll take a look at the underlying issues and suggest some solutions that can help make your organisation more modernized, efficient, effective, attractive, and streamlined.

Strategy & Governance

A complete strategy, outlining your vision and plan for IT for your NFP is essential to get started with embracing a digital-first mantra. This strategy document can’t just sit in the corner gathering dust, though. You need someone in charge of IT governance.

IT governance will ensure plans and processes are being followed, measuring and reporting on new implementations and their success, dissecting roadblocks or issues as they arise, updating strategy when there are better solutions available or missions/campaigns change, and monitoring user engagement.

NFPs are unique in that while their overall mission rarely changes, campaign strategies are often constantly evolving, which requires thinking about the IT necessary to support this.

While IT governance doesn’t have to be a full-time position, it does require a person already skilled in the area. If you don’t have someone on staff with these qualifications, then you can either hire or choose an outsourcing partner to help along the way or even provide specialised NFP IT governance training.

Collaboration & User Management

As an NFP, the way your organisation works with human resources may be much more complex than a regular business. In organisations, there may be too few employees. You may rely on volunteers, which can be a volatile resource, as they move on to other activities or paid employment.

Depending on your organisation, work may be done by many different types of people across a wide variety of metro/regional locations and devices! On top of that, partnership between NFPs is the new trend and there’s a big push from the Australian Government for NFPs to work together. In some cases, an NFP can’t tender for a contract or apply for Funding Grants unless they have a partner.

This makes collaboration and user management an extremely important element of your IT infrastructure. You cannot rely on emailing people across the day. Send, wait for response, forget something, attach something… it’s no wonder 2.5 hours a day are wasted on emails.

There are various all in one communication and file sharing solutions that are available across any device at all times. Slack, Trello and Microsoft Teams are a few of the solutions available solution enabling streamlined and efficient communication anywhere.

User management is similarly as important. This is what employees have access to which files, apps, and other organisational digital resources. When onboarding a person, you may set up one configuration for someone who gets to be an administrator, one for a regular employee, one for a volunteer, etc. Similarly, removing access when someone moves on is important. Solutions like Microsoft’s Azure Identity and Access Management solve this problem.

Leveraging the Power of Data & Integration in Your Systems

What are your current systems for purchasing? Organising meetings? Financials? Employee productivity? Invoicing? Tax? Asset management? Case management? There are plenty of NFPs and businesses that are still dealing with legacy solutions like an old version of QuickBooks, or even just handmade spreadsheets in Excel 2003.

It’s time to get with the times. Apps these days not only do the task they’re designed for, they can create complex reports, help gather data to make predictions, suggest tweaks to your operations, give alerts, and can hook into other systems to share data. For example, Power BI is included in some Office 365 suites, which can help integrate apps and display useful information as per your requirements. No more entering things twice!

Of course, the choice of apps available is endless. You will first need to look at The business outcomes you want to achieve and then work on a strategy and plan to introduce these apps to the business. Staff adoption will most likely be your biggest challenge so, instead of introducing the latest flashy app to your staff, work on your IT strategy to ensure your product of choice integrates with other apps, will serve the business in the long run, will provide all the features you need, etc.

You might also like to take a look at Connecting Up, a program that offers NFPs discounts and donations on tech products from companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Adobe.

Modernisation of Outreach

You’ve probably already been thinking about this element of your IT, implementing some of these modern practices to help grow your NFP and expand your outreach. Some digital solutions that can help with outreach, garnering interest, and eliciting donations include:

  • Adding a donation button to your homepage, or to your Facebook page
  • Starting a petition on Change.org
  • Having an email newsletter, managed easily by MailChimp
  • Easy graphic design for your digital/paper communications with Canva
  • Social media management with Hootsuite
  • Creating surveys with Typeform
  • Have a CRM to securely manage Donors information with Dynamics CRM

Of course, this is just a taster of what’s out there – but all these tools have a great reputation for a reason.

At Bremmar, we are specialists in helping NFP organisations like yours align your IT needs to your mission. We can help assess your current progression across digital transformation and then tailor strategies and solutions that will enable you to further your cause more efficiently and effectively.

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We can help with discounted rates for software, technology implementation, strategy and staff training. To discover how you to use technology as a powerful force for good, get in contact with our consultants today!

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