Transitioning Your Nonprofit to the Cloud

Submitted on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 8:59am
Thinking about transitioning to the Cloud? You need to read this!

Recently, Heller Consulting presented a webinar series for NTEN about transitioning to the cloud. The series, "Transitioning your nonprofit to the Cloud: To Infinity and Beyond," consisted of three webinars covering the topics of Security and Risk, Data Migration, and Preparing Your Organization. With all technology projects, there are considerations around strategy, tactics, technology and people; we addressed each of these areas, providing participants with actionable steps to take back to their organizations, and (we hope) quite a bit of food for thought.

Following is a recap of each webinar, with links to the recordings and slides:

Security and Risk (September 27, 2012)

Bryan Malong, a Project Manager and Senior Technical Consultant at Heller Consulting, and Randall Lemley, Vice President of Information Management at The Seed Company, helped participants understand the true security issues and risks involved in migrating to a cloud solution and what can be done about both.

Three major areas of concern when considering a transition are: Maintaining control over data, preventing unauthorized access to data and system reliability. Bryan and Randall reviewed ways that cloud services address security within their products. Most importantly, they provided a framework for how one can address security needs and acceptable levels of risk, noting that ultimately it's the organization that is responsible for security, rather than the vendor. One example they provided is how organizations can create and maintain a Data Use Policy.

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For more information about this critically important topic, view the recorded webinar and download the slides:

View the recorded Security and Risk webinar

Download the Security and Risk slides

Data Migration (October 4, 2012)

For the second webinar, I had the pleasure of presenting with Will Nourse, Chief Information Officer at Citizen Schools. Will and I covered the key steps in a data migration project, and Will shared his experiences with the various migrations that Citizen Schools has performed in their efforts to fully transition to the cloud.

The most complex version of data migration is typically around implementation of a CRM. We made this the basis of our content, as it can be scaled down for smaller migrations, and provides examples for best practices, from how to select your project team members to ensuring that the process is thoroughly tested before the live migration.

For more information about this topic, view the recorded webinar and download the slides:

View the recorded Data Migration webinar

Download the Data Migration slides

Preparing Your Organization (October 11, 2012)

The final webinar in our series was largely about change management, and it was presented in roughly two halves. The first half was presented by Dahna Goldstein, founder of PhilanTech, who offered her perspective around the human side of technology change. Dahna told our participants how they could become a champion for change in their organization and why that is important. This is an essential but frequently missed step in preparing for a product implementation.

For the second half of our webinar, we moved from a psychological approach to practical ways of applying this approach over the course of a project. This section of the webinar was presented by Smita Vadakekalam, Heller Consulting's Director of Core Services, and Lisa Fay Wellek, the National Director of CRM at JDRF. Smita and Lisa Fay discussed areas ranging from how to address unspoken beliefs and attitudes that can prevent success to how to establish a clear, achievable implementation plan that sets expectations amongst stakeholders. Lisa Fay provided many examples from her work at JDRF and shared creative techniques for keeping staff informed and motivated over the course of the project.

For more of their insight into change management, view the recorded webinar and download the slides:

View the recorded Preparing Your Organization webinar

Download the Preparing Your Organization slides

These three webinars include valuable information that will help as you transition to the cloud.

If you haven't transitioned to the cloud yet, what is your biggest concern? If you're already using the cloud, what do you wish you would have spent more time on before beginning your project? Let us know in the comments below!

Audra Smith-Wilke has nearly a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector, with expertise in enterprise-level fundraising database implementations, business process analysis and documentation development. She has a special interest in leveraging emerging technologies to help nonprofits reach their fundraising goals.

This article was originally published at http://theconnectedcause.com/transitioning-nonprofit-cloud-crm/2012/10/23/ and is reprinted as part of NTEN's Member Appreciation Month with permission.