Cloud Before Cloud was Cool | npENGAGE

Cloud Before Cloud was Cool

By on Jan 27, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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Last week, Gartner “the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company” issued a press release around the results of a worldwide survey of CIO’s in the commercial sector. The survey identified cloud computing as the top technology priority for CIOs in 2011.

Watching television last night, I think I saw several IBM and Microsoft commercials about “cloud computing.” I laughed to myself and thought, “Wow, Vinay was on to something when he founded Convio as a ‘cloud computing’ company eleven years ago.” Vinay often talks about the reason we are a cloud platform is because it “matched the way nonprofits operate.”  Organizations do not want to invest in infrastructure when they can use the Internet to give their people access to technology and enabled services. That is what cloud computing and Convio’s software delivery system is all about. Seems it is now the option of choice for commercial world as well.  It’s cool.

From my seat it is fun to watch the results our clients get without having to invest in infrastructure or worry about the hassles and headaches of maintenance and upgrades that accompany the legacy systems. They use the Internet…

What is most interesting to me is the benefits that commercial CIO’s espouse to Gartner when talking about their reasons for implementing cloud computing – they  are just as valuable to nonprofits.

Here are some of the highlights from the release that might sound familiar in your organization:

  1. Organizations are “emphasizing growth in addition to continued vigilance on cost and operations efficiency,”
  2. Organizations are “boxed between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements” (ok, before you comment, nonprofits might not be growing IT budgets even modestly, but if I read the release right commercial IT budgets might not be back to 2008 levels either),
  3. “New lighter-weight technologies – such as cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS)….redefine IT, giving it greater focus on growth and strategic impact,”
  4. Organizations are looking to “reduce costs and improve business processes,”
  5. I would add drive business results – or fundraising results, improved constituent relationships, greater advocacy engagement, etc…

Other than the last one that I added, it seems those are the same goals, maybe spoken in a “different language” that many nonprofits are shooting for with their technology investment.

What was also interesting was that these tech leaders planned to spend less on day-to-day operations and spend more on investing in innovation and growth through cloud computing operations.  They admit that they have challenges with the “creative destruction necessary to break old practices and redeploy resources” but that often accompanies change – even change for the better.

So cloud computing is cool. I knew when I joined Convio four years ago and saw the client list, I was going to be hanging out with cool kids – now how do we help the entire nonprofit world better understand the value of cloud computing?  Maybe we just have to tell people to get their heads in the cloud as a way to pique their interest.

My head’s in the cloud, how about yours?

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