Adopting new technology is hard. It takes time, effort, resources, and staff training before you start to see the benefits. Since many of us at nonprofits are accidental techies, altering tech operations can run into issues during deployment. These things take up more time than you may have, and it is frustrating and challenging when you cannot get new features or upgrades to work.
This post provides a high-level overview of the steps you may want to consider in getting set up and ready to use Microsoft cloud solutions. We will also highlight some services and resources that we offer to help along the way.
We know how important Microsoft products can be for your day-to-day operations. Many of these products are vital to your mission, and with more remote work and collaboration necessary, nonprofits have been adopting Microsoft’s cloud solutions more than ever before.
In just the last year, we have seen 125 percent more nonprofits request cloud solutions such as Microsoft 365 and Office 365. But whether your nonprofit has already moved to using some cloud solutions or you are still thinking about the move, we are here to help you get the most out of these solutions and help you on your journey.
Preparing for Cloud Adoption
Let’s start with the journey. We recommend that nonprofits plan for the following five stages in their technology adoption:
- Technology selection
- Setup and implementation
- Email and data migration and upgrades
- Ongoing support
Each of these steps is critical to ensuring that you are adopting the technology appropriately in your nonprofit.
Step 1: Technology Selection
The first step you will want to do is understand what solutions, constraints, and features your nonprofit needs in order to be successful. We recommend that you start by reading this blog post, which focuses on an overview of Microsoft cloud solutions that are available to nonprofits as a donation or at a significant discount.
If you would rather get more targeted help and assistance, sign up for a free Cloud Consultation and talk to someone from our team about solution offerings that may be best for your nonprofit.
Step 2: Setup and Implementation
Once you have chosen the right licenses that will work for your team, there are a few steps to qualify for the nonprofit pricing, acquire the licenses, and start setting up your account.
- If your nonprofit wants to complete the first few steps on your own, you can refer to the Microsoft Cloud Self-Service Guide to help you through the process of qualifying and acquiring the licenses you need.
- Once you have the licenses you need, you can get started by setting up your user accounts in your Office 365 Admin Center.
Though the steps to set up your account may be easy for some, it really depends on the time that your team or your accidental techie may have to support this process. We understand that this may be an area that your team would like support on. If so, we can provide you with referrals of IT Service Providers that can provide you with options for support.
Step 3: Training
Though many nonprofit employees and volunteers may be familiar with the Office suite, learning how to take advantage of the features and benefits of some of the updated cloud applications can help increase productivity and efficiency across your nonprofit. Through the Microsoft Digital Skills Center, your team members can access training on Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, SharePoint, and many other applications. Team members can choose the courses that make sense for them so they can make best use of their time. The best part? The courses are available to both staff and volunteers — and many are available at no cost!
Step 4: Email and Data Migration and Upgrades
Most nonprofits moving to a cloud solution likely will want to plan out how they want their team and volunteers to collaborate, communicate, and manage their data in the cloud. Maybe your nonprofit is “born in the cloud,” and you do not have existing data or email that you want to port to a new system. But If you do have existing data, email, and folders in place (either on-premises or through a different cloud solution), you may want to plan out what aspects of the new solution you want to use and how you want to use it.
We recommend that nonprofits set up all of their tools and processes to at least be cloud-backed, so you can access your files, collaborate, and communicate with your colleagues regardless of device or location. In order to do this, we offer a few services to support your journey of cloud adoption.
Email Migration. We will work with you to plan and switch your email, calendar, and contacts to Office 365, with training offered for your team members. You can request Email and Data Migration service here.
Windows Upgrade Support. We will check to see if your machine is ready for a Windows operating system upgrade. We can also help you back up all your files to make sure that you do not lose anything in the process and to support the implementation. Contact us here for more information.
Step 5: Ongoing Support
For most nonprofits with no dedicated IT support, any disruption in technology access can be time-consuming and very frustrating. We offer unique ongoing support services that you can pay for either monthly or by usage, these are cost-effective ways to secure the technical support you need in these situations.
Unsure about what services you need? Schedule an appointment with our cloud consultant to talk through your options.