A couple of weeks ago, we introduced Gartner’s first five technology trends of 2013 and what they mean for nonprofits and why nonprofits should care.

This is part 2 of 2 where we’ll look at the remaining five trends and how they will affect nonprofit organizations in 2013. In addition to mobile, these next five trends have the ability to radically alter the nonprofit technology landscape in the coming years with a heavy emphasis on data and analytics that is so crucial to nonprofit organizations.

1. Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing

According to Gartner, as IT staffs have been asked to do more with less, IT departments must play multiple roles in coordinating IT-related activities, and cloud computing is now pushing that change to another level.

What does this mean for nonprofits:  Most nonprofit organizations can relate to the pressure of doing more with less. That’s just the reality of the world in which we live. And cloud computing, while receiving a ton of hype the last few years, is a very legitimate way for nonprofits to take advantage of sophisticated technology tools in a very cost-effective way without having to invest in much capital at all. In some ways, cloud computing will transform the nonprofit sector.

2. Strategic Big Data

According to Gartner, Big Data is moving from a focus on individual projects to an influence on enterprises’ strategic information architecture.

What does this mean for nonprofits: Strategic Big Data coupled with smarter analytics (we’ll touch on that below) is really the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations – knowing all you can about your supporters to engage them in the most effective way possible. Strategic Big Data is the core of an information architecture that will help all aspects of a nonprofit organization be truly integrated when it comes to marketing and engagement.

3. Actionable Analytics

According to Gartner, analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business.

What does this mean for nonprofits: Wow! This is a big one. And can actually seem a bit scary for a lot of nonprofit organizations. With the improvement in performance and costs, however, now is a great time for nonprofits to start looking at ways to take advantage of analytics. We’re entering a time when it’s imperative for nonprofits to be able to set themselves apart, and anything that provides an edge is crucial. Over the years, analytics will be a disruptive game changer for many organizations.

4. In Memory Computing

According to Gartner, the execution of certain types of hours-long batch processes can be squeezed into minutes or even seconds that can be delivered to internal or external users in the form of cloud services.

What this means for nonprofits: In other words, you can have access to actionable information about your database of supporters more quickly than ever. Speed + knowledge = greater chance of success.

5. Integrated Ecosystems

According to Gartner, the market is undergoing a shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems and away from loosely coupled heterogeneous approaches.

What does this mean for nonprofits: Ultimately, this is a benefit for nonprofits because it will lower the number of IT headaches an organization has to deal with all while providing access to technology otherwise considered too expensive or complex to even think about.

 

From a technology standpoint, this is actually a very exciting time for nonprofit organizations as technologies that were at one time considered unattainable due to cost or complexity are now very much within reach. In many ways these technology trends will help level the playing field between for-profit and nonprofit organizations, as well as large and small nonprofits.

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