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How Office 365 Can Skyrocket Your NFP Performance

How Office 365 Can Skyrocket Your NFP Performance

I feel privileged to have worked in the front line of both a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation and an IT provider. My ten years with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association allowed me to understand the unique challenges and demands of NFP organisations. On my first day, I was taken around blindfolded with a Labrador; a simulation to understand the trials of blind and partially sighted people. This experience gave me unique insight, empathy and understanding of how different life can be. The latter holds true for most NFPs whose mode of business is often unique or different to commercial entities.

As a Senior Cloud Architect with Timico, I have the opportunity to implement digital transformation in a vast array of sectors. From my experience, the sector where digitalisation is most necessary, remains NFP. Any organisation can struggle with legacy infrastructure, but when an organisation is dependent on donations, those unnecessary overheads have a far bigger impact. For NFPs, cost saving and Office 365 go together like bread and butter. With that in mind, here’s how Office 365 can skyrocket your performance and reduce cost for your organisation.

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Simply put, Microsoft have a licensing discount for NFP organisations that equates to a significant reduction of costs. On top of licensing, other examples include Microsoft Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS) whereby Microsoft fund the initial part of the consultancy.

Office 365 has powerful tools and features, one of the most relevant to NFP is Microsoft Exchange Online.

Exchange Online

Exchange Online can breathe life back into a business. Exchange Online takes away the massive headache of server administration and monitoring that can bury on-premise departments in work. Think of this as a one-stop solution, an antidote to the frustrations of mini-tasks and clutter – improving productivity and staff well-being.

This lightened load takes pressure off the internal IT resource, where pressure is often already severe due to limited funding. This solution can allow funding and time to be redirected to other necessary systems, such as developing a new CRM solution for fundraising.

Collaboration with Office 365

Microsoft SharePoint, an Office 365 feature, offers fundamental upgrades to how files are managed, as well as peace of mind around security and protection of data leakage. SharePoint is a collaboration tool where employees can connect to the workplace in a quick and safe way, regardless of their geographical location. Importantly for NFP organisations, Office 365 provides up to 90-day retention of storage and enhanced security including data, a lifeline for NFPs that are concerned with reputational damage through data leakage. SharePoint allows safer access for remote workers, enables the use of BYOD and eases the worry of accidental reputational damage.

Office 365 collaboration tools also available include Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. These essential functions provide communication for the whole business, making it easy to integrate and collaborate with partners. Due to their simple interface, even the non-tech savvy can have a chat, screen share or video call, without an expensive video conference solution. The introduction of an organisation-wide video conferencing solution enables a positive environmental change to the travel and sustenance policy (video conferencing rather than face to face meetings where possible), which in turn significantly reduces cost.

Implementing new technology always requires a cultural shift. Oftentimes, innovation can be resisted due to the fear of ‘new’. Remember, the still pond will stagnate. This fear is quickly overcome when end users see the benefits of remote working, increased collaboration and more time to focus on their valuable contributions.

Rob Davy

Senior Microsoft Cloud Consultant

Jan 16, 2019

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