Cloud computing has come a long way and is now becoming an essential part of any nonprofit organization. Many organizations have embraced the cloud to run their software and carry out daily business. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to move your software to the cloud, consider the easy steps outlined below for an easy transition for your nonprofit.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is spread over the news today. Forbes describes in a recent article that, since 2009, the spending for cloud computing has been reported growing 4.5 times the rate of spending for IT, and is even expected to increase growth by more than six times the amount of IT spending from 2015 to 2020. What does this mean for your organization? The cloud can shift hosted data from on-premise servers to remote servers that are hosted over the internet. Many organizations have decided to take the plunge, resulting in the cloud transforming the way they budget, prioritize, and perform.
There are a sufficient amount of reasons to be hesitant to transition to the cloud, but what hinders most nonprofits from transitioning is the lack of time. Many nonprofit executives, quite bluntly, do not have the time to consider the benefits of a changeover of their financial systems to the cloud. Even though a recent study by NTEN supports there has been a 25 percent growth rate year after year for nonprofits’ cloud implementation, there is still the overarching enemy of time to research the benefits of cloud computing. In order to get a handle on the benefits, and if transitioning is the right move for your nonprofit, we have broken down the transition process to three simple steps:
- Identify and weigh the benefits
- Recognize potential risks
- Establish a strategy
Identifying and Weighing the Benefits
Moving to the cloud would mean:
- You’ll have greater ability to access data anywhere and at any time
- You gain access to specialized IT experts with your cloud service provider, so your team can focus more time on your mission
- You get best-in-class security tools to protect you and your donors
Several organizations have reported their IT department spends up to 80 percent of their total budget just on maintaining the software. With transitioning to the cloud, your nonprofit can increase the performance and extend the life of your software systems by having the most up-to-date software. The maintenance will go significantly down, as updates are automatic and have the newest version possible.
Benefits vary in priority and weight for each nonprofit organization. The first step would be for your nonprofit accounting professionals and executives to rate and prioritize the benefits of the nonprofit.
Recognizing Potential Risks
It’s crucial to be well-informed on the potential risks cloud computing brings to your organization and come to a final decision that is the best fit for your nonprofit, its assets, and future roadmap. Some items to consider when discovering the potential risks:
- The complexity and duration of the transition
- Training for your staff—a new system adds a lot of disorder and frustration so it’s necessary to have a good training plan in place
- Does the vendor offer long-term support? Will you be able to partner with them to help your staff in times of need?
Establishing a Strategy
There is no “one-size-fits-all” philosophy with cloud computing transitions. Be sure all your nonprofit’s needs are met, including:
- Cost analysis between the on-premises and cloud-hosted software
- Establish a strategy and plan regarding how the migration will support the bottom line and mission of your organization
- Research and compare services from three to five vendors
Transitioning to the cloud can be overwhelming, but by breaking down the process into three simple steps—identifying and weighing benefits, recognizing potential risks, and establishing a strategy—a case can be made, and plan set in place to share with stakeholders within the organization.
If you’d like to learn more about adopting cloud computing, the benefits of migrating, and tips on the best way to research and plan for a move to the cloud, download Abila’s newest whitepaper, Nonprofit Organizations Adopt Cloud Computing.
If you are realizing that you do need a cloud computing solution and need to learn more about adopting cloud computing, the benefits of transitioning to the cloud, and discovering the best tips for researching and coming up with a plan to move to the cloud, RBP Methods is here to help. We offer three powerful solutions: Accufund CRM, AccuFund Anywhere, and Abila MIP Advance™. We also offer many other packages that can make it much easier for you to manage your finances, accounting, and communications. Contact us at 503-648-9051 to learn more.