Cloud-based software services have transformed administration, finance, reporting and almost every other business activity. For Foundations this is critical, time and costs savings from adopting cloud services can directly contribute to delivering their mission.
The benefits go beyond financial savings. The public, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders are accustomed to the accessibility and ease of use of cloud-based systems for collaboration and engagement commonly used in the for-profit sector.
Foundations are challenged to meet these expectations. Fortunately, there are no shortage of options and opportunities that will meet the needs of small local or large international foundations.
How can a Foundation choose the right cloud-based software service and technology partner? Here are some recommendations to help guide you, including where to find some immediate bottom-line benefits.
Selecting Cloud Software
- Don’t reinvent the wheel: There are very good detailed sector specific white papers on key business requirements for Foundations. Start from these, aligning to sector best practice helps as it means less customisation – less cost!
- Be sector aligned: Choose a software product that is aligned to the sector, specialist systems offer inbuilt regulatory, compliance, reporting and other features designed for the not-for-profit sector.
- Scalable for your growth: Focus on a solution that can grow with your needs, adding new capability and services as your organisation demands, not a single purpose point in time service.
Choosing the Right Technology Partner
- Find a sector specialist: A sector specialist’s success depends on meeting your needs for best practice. They share many of the same challenges and opportunities, so everyone’s priorities are aligned.
- Good fit to your business model: Cloud-based software plans come in all shapes and sizes. Its critical to choose a license model that can fluctuate with you, and that does not have hidden surprises like bandwidth overages.
- Offers a future roadmap: Modernising software is not a “one off”, the best cloud services continually release new and improved features as the sector evolves. Ask about the roadmap and be aware of future opportunities.
Capture Some Quick Wins
- Support when you need it: Moving from in-house systems to cloud-based services means support must be provided by the vendor. Your agreement should include the resources you need – be it online, ticketing, in-person. Plus, don’t forget training.
- Change management: New software requires some change management. But picking the right software, that reflects how work is actually done, and is easy to use, will make a big difference in reducing the time and cost to implement. It will also improve how quickly your team and clients adopt the new system.
- All inclusive pricing: If your needs are outside the standard solution get the costs upfront. The total cost of ownership might mean spending more upfront, but it will save operating an incomplete system down the road, or a surprising vendor invoice.
Cloud-based services offer the software, hosting and management of the system all delivered from a vast secure and powerful environment. In a cloud environment 1000s of servers all behave as one system offering scalability on-demand for storage and processing capability. This makes it much more reliable than hosting software on your own server, or locally on a desktop.
Data is stored efficiently across clusters of hard drives and the account simply represents a virtual presence within this vast environment. Network access is provided via a very high quality and fast internet connection. All data is encrypted to ensure the highest level of security.
Major cloud providers are certified by governments worldwide for strict compliance to data security and privacy and ensuring they meet data localisation regulations. This makes cloud options far more secure than locally hosted software on personal computers, especially for many organisations that do not have sophisticated IT teams to manage infrastructure security.
In 2012 Tactiv migrated Enquire to the cloud, making it the first Australian cloud-based grant, contract and impact reporting software system.
More than six years on Tactiv continues to grow its cloud services and options for clients, taking advantage of the cloud to provided unlimited access, industry leading uptime, secure data backups, constant software upgrades and no storage charges or limits on project volumes.
Tactiv continues to create and develop leading innovations with Enquire so our clients enjoy a flexible and best practice system with the support they need to succeed.
Ready to take the next step? Talk with us about how cloud-based Enquire can help modernise your grant, contract and impact reporting software. Foundations can register for a free one month trial of Enquire.