According to a recent story from Forbes, since 2009 spending for cloud computing was reported to grow 4.5 times the rate of IT spending, and with good reason. What does “moving to the cloud” really mean? In short, the cloud shifts hosted data from on-premise servers to remote servers hosted on the internet. Many nonprofit organizations have made the switch to the cloud, and by doing so they transformed the way they budget, prioritize, and store data.
Oftentimes, nonprofit executives lack the time to consider the cost and benefits of migrating their financial systems to the cloud. A lot of nonprofits are just stretched too thin to give migration a good, solid look. A recent study by NTEN supported a 25 percent growth year after year for nonprofits’ cloud implementation.
To get a handle on the benefits – and decide if it’s a right move for you – we’ve broken down the process of moving to the cloud into three steps:
- Identify and weigh the benefits
- Recognize potential risks
- Establish a strategy
Benefits of the cloud
There are many benefits to moving to the cloud including:
- Accessing data anywhere and at any time
- Specialized IT experts with cloud service providers, so your team can focus more time on your mission
- Best-in-class security tools to protect you and your donors
And that’s just the start! Many organizations have reported spending up to 80 percent of an IT budget on maintaining legacy software. With a cloud migration you can increase performance and extend the life of the system by receiving the most up-to-date software. Maintenance will also take less effort because updates are automatic, and organizations always have the most up-to-date version.
Depending on the needs of a nonprofit, the benefits can vary in priority and weight. As a starting point, nonprofit accounting professionals and executives alike need to rate and prioritize the benefits relative to the needs of the nonprofit.
It’s crucial to be well-informed about the risks of operating in the cloud. Some items to consider:
- Complexity and duration of the migration
- Training staff – It is necessary to have a good training plan in place to avoid the frustration that can take place with a new system.
- Does the cloud provider or your fund accounting consulting offer long-term support? Will you be able to partner with them to help your staff in times of need?
Strategy for moving to the cloud
There is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy with cloud computing migrations. Be sure you can build a road-map that meets the needs and priorities of your nonprofit, including:
- Cost analysis between the on-premises and cloud-hosted software
- A plan regarding how the migration will support the bottom line and mission of your organization
- Research and comparing services from at least three cloud providers
Migrations to the cloud can be overwhelming for many of today’s nonprofit professionals. By breaking down the process into three steps, a plan can be effectively crafted and shared with stakeholders across the organization.
Ready to take the next step? Download our whitepaper that allows you to dig deeper into adopting cloud computing, benefits of migrating, and tips on the best way to research and plan for a move to the cloud. Or contact us online today to set up your free cloud migration consultation.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.