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Not-for-profit - Part 2

Not-for-profit - Part 2

Similarities between the not-for-profit and commercial sectors

Anglican Church Sydney Diocesan Secretariat CIO and Executive Council member, George Lymbers

Anglican Church Sydney Diocesan Secretariat CIO and Executive Council member, George Lymbers

Similarities between not-for-profits and the commercial sector

Within any organisation, however — below the culture and style of management — there are similarities between not-for-profit and commercial organisations.

“Although their objectives are different, many of the IT challenges are the same across the NFP and commercial sectors,” information systems manager for Amnesty International Australia, Steve Ball, says. “Alignment to the organisation, cost containment and efficiency, strategy and innovation are some of the major considerations across both sectors.”

George Lymbers, CIO and director of procurement with the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat of Anglican Church Australia, says NFPs, and the C-level staff within them, face pressures such as accountability, governance, risk management and central control of capital expenditure and standardisation for price control, cost control and service and maintenance.

“Notice these are management issues not technology issues,” he says. “This is where the traditional model of how [NFPs] are operating is changing to be more like its counterparts within the commercial sector.”

Ball adds: “I have been amazed how much I have been able to bring from the highly regulated and numerate world of the derivatives trading floor to this environment, even down to mathematical models and virtualisation and Cloud technologies.”

And this is where the role of the CIO in maintaining system support for the organisation comes to the fore.

Read Part 1 of CIO Australia’s not-for-profit series.

BCS has 1700 IT accounts and 900-1000 devices, Carleton says. But these are for staff; not clients.

“We will be offering kiosks to those without access to devices themselves. Eventually we’ll be looking at wireless for client use. The issue here is with bandwidth,” she says.

“We have a large number of workers we need to provide access for. There are a lot of mature women who are not necessarily familiar with IT.”

At Amnesty, Ball suggests social networking technologies “play to our strengths”.

“As a grassroots social network — with more than 100,000 supporters in Australia and 2.8 million worldwide — Facebook, Twitter and iPhone apps are natural tools for us. Digital technology lowers the barrier to participation, making it quicker and easier to mobilise people to achieve social change.”

BCS is likewise looking to the latest technology. It has become the largest aged care provider in Australia to deploy a new communications system that it says will significantly improve communication and care between staff and residents. The new Vocera communications system, recently implemented by IBM at BCS’s Orana Centre on the NSW Central Coast, features a small badge weighing less than 55 grams that allows staff to communicate with each other using single voice commands.

Cisco and Questek were also involved in the project, ensuring that the Vocera system would work seamlessly alongside the nurse call system, onsite emergency messaging and computing infrastructure already in existence at the centre. BCS has also led the way with the introduction in June last year of the world’s first electronic, remote monitoring incontinence assessment device.

A sensitive issue, certainly, but the use of the SIMsystem dramatically improves the quality of life for Australians living in residential aged care.

Read Part 1 of CIO Australia’s not-for-profit series.

Stay tuned for Part 3 - dealing with vendors

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Tags not-for-profitsbaptist community servicesAnglican Church AustraliaAmnesty InternationalPaula CarletonSteve BallGeorge Lymbers

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