Implementing SharePoint for Nonprofits - The Irish Deaf Society Example
This blog by supportIT follows the journey of a SharePoint implementation with The Irish Deaf Society to show voluntary and community organisations, charities and social enterprises and in real-life format how to approach a SharePoint Project. The goal is to inform nonprofits about best practice around SharePoint and dispel some of the myths that hold organisations back from taking the steps towards implementation.
Part 1 - A Business Case for SharePoint
‘If your organisation struggles to manage large volumes of data in a variety of formats or if your team wants to collaborate from different locations, then there is a strong business case for SharePoint,’ says Joe McGivern supportIT CEO, ‘especially if you are already on the Microsoft Platform, which is secure and very robust.’
1) Storing and Sharing Information
With SharePoint, staff can easily create and share documents, information and projects from a single location. Special features such as alerts make it easy for employees to easily get the important information they need. Users can have access to business data from other systems on the Microsoft platform and create personalized dashboards for maximum usability. And users won't have the same version control issues that are prevalent when storing files on a server; you can maintain a single document and allow multiple users to continuously update it, all with a record of the changes and the ability to revert back to an earlier version if needed.
2) Simplified Collaboration
This simplified access to business information enables collaboration and keeps everyone in the loop. An additional tools that is free with the SharePoint suite, is Teams. Teams is a messaging tool that allows text communications between users, whether they’re in the same office or working remotely. SharePoint online documents can be accessed and edited without leaving the Teams application. You can create a new Team in minutes, tailoring it with specific features to help make teamwork as efficient as possible – while still encouraging creativity and innovation. Teams can work closely on a project without issues such as lack of program consistency across systems or blocked access to certain information. With Teams, you can build the collaboration setup that’s right for your team.
3) What About Security?
Security should always be a key consideration with any proposed IT infrastructure project. Poor communication security can compromise the integrity and reputation of your company. With SharePoint your organization has the ability to set access rights and permissions to ensure security best practices. You can also monitor user behaviour to help ensure compliance with any internal policies. And using one integrated platform for Email, Collaboration and File-Sharing reduces your vulnerability to holes, leaks, and attacks.
‘I regularly get asked about the security of Cloud Services like SharePoint online and my advice to people is that you can pretty much guarantee that Microsoft’s data centres have better firewalls and greater general protection than the servers in the basement of your building.’ Joe McGivern, supportIT, CEO.
For many organisations, the big advantage of any cloud-based solution is that it reduces the need for you to host and maintain a server in-house. With not-for-profit organisations there is the undisputed advantage that SharePoint licensing is free as part of the Microsoft programme once an agreement is in place with EncludeIT. Implementations are priced using a daily project rate and can vary from 1 day right up to 10 days depending on the size of your organisation.
5) Internal Buy-In
Before your organization embarks on SharePoint project a discussion needs to happen internally about what SharePoint is and how it works. Its benefits and features should be highlighted as well as the fact that it is a new method of workflow management and collaboration that users may not be used to. Training is essential to achieve the best results. In the next article we will look at how the Irish Deaf Society approached this process internally before they started the implementation of SharePoint.
Authored by: supportIT CEO, Joe McGivern, is a panellist at this year’s *Future Waves - Innovation & Nonprofit
Visit www.supportIT.ie for more information about our Infrastructure services or to contact us.
Set-up in 2004, supportIT provide fully managed support, infrastructure and business continuity services to over 180 businesses and 3000 users nationwide. Dedication, knowledge and trust are the main reasons why businesses choose supportIT as their IT solutions and support partner. We are a relationship driven organisation and work closely with every one of our clients to support and protect their infrastructure while providing solutions that are aligned with business and security requirements.
For more information please contact Maja Radojicic, Marketing and Sales Executive (mradojicic@supportIT.ie)
About Future Waves - Innovation & Nonprofit (Dublin, 3 October)
Future Waves is a special event that will focus on highlighting how Irish community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises are growing their impact and support, and illuminating the emerging trends and technologies that have allowed them to do so.