Fionta performs strategic technology assessments as a core part of our business. For smaller organizations, we offer an affordable, fixed price project that can be completed within a few weeks. For larger organizations, we will create a custom technology assessment project based on the number of staff and other variables. We leave no stone unturned. Our assessments cover five core areas: infrastructure, enterprise software, website(s) and social media, organizational issues associated with technology, and risk management.
Our holistic approach understands technology within the culture of your organization—we look at people, processes and systems together.
For each area of technology, we provide a clear explanation of the options available, associated pros and cons, and our recommendations when appropriate. All the recommendations are consolidated into an “action plan” – a clear summary of everything that should be done, with cost, priority, responsible party and schedule in detail.
While providing technology solutions to over 1,000 clients, we have seen the prevalence of gaps in IT capacity.
In an effort to address these gaps, we have developed training materials, resources, and tools to help organizations be more successful in their approach to and use of technology. Our breadth and depth of nonprofit technology experience set us apart from other consultants.
Technology as critical skill for nonprofits
We have observed a shift in the strategic importance of IT capacity to achieving an organization’s mission. A few factors that have made technology so strategic:
- Outreach: For nonprofits that depend on reaching constituents, technology is indispensable and includes websites, social networking, mass email, and CRM (constituent relationship management) systems
- End User Expectation: Technology’s ubiquity and takeover in the personal realm has reset expectations for organizations including:
- Mobile friendly/responsive websites
- Ability for organizational infrastructure to accommodate myriad brands of smart phones
- 24/7 remote access to email and files—what we call, “always-on internet”
- Web-based self-service
- Digital Data: Paper is viewed as obsolete, increasing the push towards digital systems
- Accelerating Response Times: All organizations and companies have to be able to respond more quickly to events in the world, with the compressed news cycle and rise of social media. Integrating new tools into older environments presents a variety of organizational challenges, as well as technical.
We believe technology is the largest unexploited opportunity to better achieve mission, conserve funds for mission, reduce risk and increase the overall professionalism and operations of nonprofits today.
The shift in the strategic importance of technology combines with a few factors that impede nonprofits’ ability to appropriately leverage the opportunities that technology present. These include:
- The pace of technology change has accelerated, exacerbating gaps in competency
- Nonprofits leaders are quick to cede responsibility for technology due to perceived lack of expertise with the subject matter
- Cultural practices that are holdovers from before technology became mission-critical, including a preference for volunteers, friends and used / donated equipment
- Inadequate skills relating to technology vendor selection and management, contract negotiation and technology outsourcing in general
- A mismatch between the nonprofit culture and the technology professional’s culture, making internal technology staff more difficult to retain