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Eight technology predictions in not-for-profit for 2020 (part 2)

Posted by  William Millard

Welcome to the second half of our two-part article on the technology predictions for the not-for-profit (NFP) sector in 2020, by William Millard, Unit4’s global head of not-for-profit. (Click here for part 1).

5. ‘Flexibility’ will become the new buzzword for data governance

As the rest of the world looks at how to handle data security this year, the smart NFPs will be investing in a flexible, cloud-based ERP platform to create robust data governance. The best of today’s ERPs have a single microservices-based architecture with a single source of truth and unified UI that delivers data visibility to everyone, even if data is stored in different places. This flexible — and people-centric — approach to data governance will allow organizations the agility needed to react quickly to new regulations and changing internal process requirements as they arise. And, with the growing use of AI and the inevitable march of the Internet of Things, new legislation around data ethics and privacy is unavoidable.

6. Data-backed grant stewardship will become more accessible

Responsible grant management has always been top priority for NFPs, but with escalating expectations from donors and funders (and rising demands for impact reporting), it’s becoming tougher to foster good donor relationships and comply with restrictions.

Real-time, accurate, insightful reporting is already widely accessible. The systems needed to optimize allocation, control spend and demonstrate results are ready for use. Flexible, integrated ERP cloud platforms with in-built analytics powered by emerging technologies are already in use within the NFP sector. As more NFPs realize this, a data-backed grant stewardship approach will become more commonplace.

7. App-based ERPs will allow a step-by-step journey to transformation

The ongoing annual cost of maintaining your legacy system is probably even higher than you think, and it continues to rise the longer you do nothing. When an ERP implementation project evokes nightmares of drawn-out back and forth, and business disruption, doing nothing sometimes seems like the safest option. Not any more. Now you can take an iterative approach to digital transformation by deploying a flexible, extensible, app-based ERP platform through a series of small-scale, short-term digital projects. This allows you to create a minimal viable product quickly and examine the ROI before scaling it in the cloud. Because of this, it also eases the shock of jumping from old, rigid legacy systems to integrated microservices-based ERP. So, this year we’ll see more NFPs dipping their toes in the digital transformation waters, and taking a considered approach to the cultural changes needed for digital transformation.

8. The year of ERP: 2020

One of the messages from the 2019 Nethope Global Summit was that 2020 will be the year of ERP. This is because more organizations have been investing in digital engagement and aligning their various systems in the cloud. Meanwhile, Cloud adoption has reached a critical tipping point; everyone will move to the cloud sooner or later. So, this year, replacing out-of-date technology with a modern, flexible, integrated, app-based cloud ERP platform will become increasingly important. The reason for this is simple: having the right foundation makes it easier to compete for funding, meet donor expectations, manage operational complexity, satisfy compliance requirements, demonstrate impact and improve productivity… and, ultimately, deliver more impact!

William Millard

William is the current Global Head of Not-for-Profit at Unit4. William has a background as an international project manager with a specialisation in complex finance and IT projects. I have significant experience in building and leading teams that deliver technology and process-based solutions and rolling out in an international environment. 

William aims to deliver value to customers through a combination of the right software, business process improvement and implementing systems that automate and simplify the user experience.