Cloud Productivity Summit, Richard Barrett, Micheal Abesin, Microsoft, Thames Valley Business Park

We’re now over half way through 2015 (yes, really), the past 6-7 months have been busy with a lot to keep on top of, both on a practical level in the workplace and within the technology industry overall.

It’s important for organisations –like Pythagoras- to keep in tune with changes, developments & emerging trends that are likely to impact our customers and this is achieved in a number of ways, such as reading industry blogs and articles, attending events, but most importantly, talking to our customers. One of the key changes sweeping across organisations from a multitude of sectors, but no more so than in the Not-for-Profit sector, is how digitalisation is carving out a new landscape.

The NfP team at Pythagoras have witnessed this developing transition into digital first hand, spending a lot of time with customers advising and demonstrating new systems that can help push them forward and up-to-date with existing practices elsewhere.

Richard particularly highlighted a couple of key points, the first of which to emphasise is that this phase of ‘digital transformation’ that is buzzing around the industry, should not be confused with employing digital teams to produce and manage the production of new content rich websites and social media. He says that, “A company adopting an IT strategy is actually the foundation of digital transformation rather than focussing on public facing aesthetic features. This is where products like Dynamics CRM and the Office 365 suite, which includes great authoring tools like Sway really come into their own and whose impact within a business can be powerful.” He continues, “With the right kind of IT, companies are offered a new kind of empowerment to the way they work offering flexibility, removing silos, and are presented with new ways of being able to engage with their staff, clients, partners and customers like never before.”

Secondly, Richard notes that when it comes to purchasing, a short return on investments  is important to NfP decision makers. “Experience has taught our team that NfP customers are more likely to favour an out-of-the-box solution that can be delivered quickly at an 80% fit for requirement than waiting  for a highly customised solution, even if it meets 100% of requirements. The most forward thinking NfP organisations operate by driving towards well defined big end goals, but the process of implementation and the journey to that goal is often in small sharp stages broken into chunks, and not always in the order thoughts best at the start of the programme” he comments.

Other observations by the team include attitudes to new technology such as the Cloud, as Michael points out, “I have spoken to some customers about the Cloud in the past who were reluctant to take this up, but since interest in Cloud technology has increased across the board and within the industry more broadly, I can now have these discussions more seriously with these customers.”

For many of our customers, new IT solutions being considered are often better received when there is an opportunity to see those systems in action, rather than going on description alone. For our colleagues like Chris, this is one of his favourite parts of the job, “I really enjoy the chance to show the latest products and their features to customers and get their feedback; I have found that demonstrations always go down really well, as it allows customers to see the products live and functioning first hand, which helps them visualise more clearly how it could work for them.”

If you work in NfP and are interested in learning more about our selection of services and solutions tailored specifically to NfP, as well as the opportunity to meet the team, we’re hosting a customer event in August. If you would like to attend, please register your interest and we will be in contact with you.

It may also be worth noting that Microsoft offer a number of special Non profit software donation programmes,  allowing software packages to be purchased at a discount, or if you qualify, for free. Contact us and speak to Richard, Chris or Michael to find out more.

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