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Investing in Alternative Solutions for Delivering Technology

Post:

02

Date:

Feb 1, 2001

From:

Mario Morino


The subject of alternative solutions for delivering technology is a difficult one for it involves: 1) a perceived and real loss of control on the part of the CBO; 2) the use of relatively new technology and process models; and 3) introduces a dependency by CBOs on organizations that are more "providers" of a service versus a "trusted" personal relationship.

Nonetheless, the always increasing complexity of installing, maintaining and managing technology, which never lets up; the increased dependency people and organizations are developing on technology and their growing need for reliable, efficient IT services; and the acute shortage of individuals that are well trained in the technologies collectively suggest that the current model of having in-house technology -- from installation through support, use and application -- is at risk for most nonprofit organizations. In our own experience, we've arrived at a conclusion that even the maintenance and use of a basic local area network, such as a LAN with an MS Exchange server, not only may be too much for many CBOs to effectively undertake as they deploy IT for their organizations, but could even increase their exposure to system failure and hence weaken their organizational effectiveness as their dependency on IT increases. In these situations, such organizations may be better served by alternative solutions, especially as the ASP/MSP approaches gain maturity.

Programs like that of Technology for All (Will Reed), NPower (Barbara Chang), and others are demonstrating promising new approaches to help alleviate this issue for nonprofits -- Barbara and Will your insights here would be particularly valuable.

Additionally, we are going to depart slightly from the protocol and invite several "guest speakers" that we know who are currently doing work in this field to share their views with our participants.

Greg Weiner is currently lining up several of these individuals and will be back to you with an introduction and the posting of their remarks.

Again and as always, thanks so much to each of you.

Mario

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