CRM is Exactly What Your Nonprofit Needs

May 23, 2012
I recently had a conversation with a colleague about the advantages and disadvantages of using a constituent relationship management (CRM) system such as Salesforce to manage multiple types of relationships. Their main argument against it was that while managing all the information in one location is tempting, it not practical if the organization has multiple complex processes. Consider Habitat for Humanity (HFH) – in this case, a mid-west chapter.

What is the Value of the Cloud for CSOs in the Developing World?

May 17, 2012
There has been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of Cloud computing to the nonprofit sector, but many CSOs in the developing world are unaware of how important this technology is quickly becoming. This is in part because developing countries face additional constraints which limit its adoption, though the benefits that can be derived from its use are somewhat unparalleled. CSOs in developing countries may arguably not be as worried about security and privacy, (though this too is by no means of little importance!) because infrastructure problems like lack of a reliable electricity supply, limited internet access and slow broadband are issues they must still overcome if they want to adopt many ICT services and truly take advantage of services like the Cloud.

Google Drive: Does It Matter?

May 14, 2012

On April 24, Google announced the much anticipated Google Drive service, a cloud-based "disk drive" where individuals and organizations can store there documents, spreadsheets and a host of other electronic files. That may sound like a big deal but organizations and individuals with Google accounts could do that already using Google Docs. So does Google Drive really matter?

In short, the answer is yes!

Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy, Part 2: Process, Costs & Things to Consider

May 10, 2012
We may have jumped the gun a little by discussing what systems to migrate in part 1 of this look at developing a cloud migration strategy, but now we're going to ask and answer the question of How to Migrate. Migrating to a cloud based application or service is different from installing some software or server in your office. It is imperative that you read and understand the legal agreement you're signing because governs the business and service relationship you are establishing. Cloud service providers are looking out for their best interests in these agreements and you should too. Here are some typical questions you should answer as part of evaluating a new solution:

Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy, Part 1: What Systems Can You Migrate?

May 9, 2012
At its core the “cloud” is a scalable architecture that allows data to be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Having that basic definition in mind, it's important to recognize that the cloud, or perhaps more accurately cloud services, is just another IT resource. There are certain obvious benefits that the cloud can provide: scalability, high availability, and low recurring pricing. On the other hand there are also some downsides to moving to the cloud: vendor lock in, complex terms of service, and unexpected additional costs.

Do It Yourself Cloud Databases

May 3, 2012
Ten years ago, if you had standard database needs (like CRM) you could use a desktop-based application like ACT or the Organizers DataBase – but if you had needs that were not served by a shrink-wrapped product, you would buy MS Access or Filemaker and someone would build a special database for you. Today, with the world moving to the cloud, the situation is similar, but the names are different. If you have standard database needs (like fundraising) you might choose Etapestry or Raiser's Edge, but if you have unique needs, you can build any kind of database application you want on cloud platforms like QuickBase, Zoho, Force.com, and others.

Mobile Apps for Development: Focus on Content BY Users, Not Just FOR Users

April 23, 2012

Most applications for development (m-whatever) are based on giving poor people access to information that the provider of that information thinks people need.  There is little interaction and no user-generation of content in many first. Does it need to be like that?