Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – April 2014

Haller House on the Frick campus

Haller House at the Frick Art & Historical Center.

Thank you to Linda and the Frick Art & Historical Center for hosting at Haller House this month! I forgot to take a photo of the group, but I did manage to find a nice pic of Haller House online (right).  We’ll be meeting at the same location next month, first Wednesday, same time as usual.

First, a quick reminder from Johna, as posted in a recent TechSoup newsletter:

“We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Windows XP will not receive security dates and therefore will no longer be HIPAA compliant. The time to upgrade is now.”

Cloud & Productivity Software

  • Office 365
    • Multiple devices
    • Now have iPad version
    • $4 per person + $2 for OneDrive
    • Available through TechSoup
  • Concerns over going to cloud and the subsequent shift in expenses from capital to operating.
  • Some orgs really pushing for monthly donors so have more unrestricted funding with which to work.

Archiving Files

  • 7 years legal limits for saving, but most orgs also want to keep historical data.
  • Look at process on paper side for file retention and retain that process, just translate it to digital files.
  • It’s important to have a retention policy and an archiving process.
  • Archiving software: ApplicationXtender
    • One local vendor for this is CompuCom
    • Easy retrieval of files
    • Can email files from it
    • Can search easily
    • File format is Tiff (so can annotate)
  • Still need to have a staff person with designated responsibility for the archiving process and maintenance.
  • Sample document retention policy:  PDF format or MS Word format

BYOD vs. Organization-Owned Tech

  • Someone mentioned a correlation between how organizations have handled health insurance – when company pays for benefits, people tend to go to doctors way more often and some people abuse the benefits completely.  Perhaps if organizations took the approach of co-ownership of tech or having staff pay for some of the costs, they would take better care of the technology?
  • If staff members pay for their technology and maintenance with a stipend, they tend to take better care of the tech.
  • Have to get staff to take responsibility for their tech, especially their knowledge and learning.

Hiring Technology Staff (for non-technical people)

  • What questions to ask in interviews?
  • How to evaluate answers?
  • Group brainstorm:

Managing Technology (when you don’t have internal tech staff)

  • Someone mentioned the Circuit Rider model of tech support from years ago, asked if anyone was still doing this.
  • Most attendees agree that it’s better to have a relationship with a vendor – a support contract of some kind – so that you get all the expertise of the firm when you need it, rather than relying on a single person to have that much knowledge of complex technology and so you aren’t left in dire straights if the person moves away or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  • The Bayer Center maintains a directory of vetted vendors who provide technology services to nonprofits.

Social Media

  • Shifting usage – living your life in the real world, rather than online.
  • A few interesting articles along these lines, just to give you a sense of how people are beginning to think about social media:
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Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – October 2013

We were at ACHIEVA on the South Side this month and will return on November 6 for our next meeting.  A big “thank you” to Steve McDonell and the ACHIEVA staff for hosting us!

Topics (and interspersed random notes) we covered in this month’s meeting included:

  • Technology in nonprofits – increasing effective usage
    • training
    • culture change
    • expectations for staff
    • management buy-in
  • It’s important to take a break once in a while and breathe.
  • Cloud-based apps:
  • IT workload
    • there’s been a shift to project management, process improvement (more soft skills needed).
  • Verizon hotspots
    • Shop/view here
    • up to 8 users ($39-59.99/month)
    • portable 4G wi-fi (better than aircard b/c only one person can use that and doesn’t always work properly)
    • Medicaid funded agencies get discount from Verizon
  • BYOD
    • Trend moving towards paying stipends for BYOD phones and devices instead of providing devices
    • For BYOD, critical part is the on-boarding and off-boarding processes.
    • Permissions being set properly are very important as well – people should only have as much access as they need to do their jobs.
    • IT isn’t always told someone has been hired (or fired) until after it’s already happened
    • Ultipro – is an ADP competitor (Ultimate Software) – started all cloud-based, where ADP moved to the cloud a few years back
    • Ultipro lets you manage hiring/separation functions online, ADP does too, but it’s a third-party provider (with multiple sign-ons)
    • Can build in automated alerts to be notified when someone hired or leaves
    • Iron Stratus (look this up)
  • Document management
    • CompuCom – local vendor for ApplicationXtender document management software
    • ComDoc
    • Unicentric case management – has a built in way to scan and upload things in one shot
    • If have no high speed scanner, try to get volunteers or interns to help with scanning
    • Indexing is the hard port (some agencies use barcodes and standardized hand-filled out fields)

Hope to see you in November!  And mark your calendar now for the B&B Holiday Party at Dave & Buster’s in the Waterfront from 1-4 pm on December 6!