About the Meetup
This was our last visit to Jewish Residential Services for this year. (A big thank you to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!!) Next month, we will be back at ACHIEVA in the South Side on Oct. 4.
If you’ve not signed up for the 2017 TechNow conference yet, be sure to do it within the next 2 weeks, before the price goes up! www.technowconference.org
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
Expense report software
- Concur – $1,000/month; need web connector
- Expensify – cannot bill against grants, but does have a QuickBooks connector available; $9/user/month
- Lots of people are still processing expense reports via spreadsheets
- Unit4 – variety of functions, payroll, expenses, etc.
- ADP – has an expense report module called RUN
- MITC tracks payroll and HR related items
Phone conferencing/bridge tools
- One attendee looking at Zoom; less expensive than GotoMeeting; saves meetings to the cloud; price based on # of participants
- Skype is another option, but sometimes board and staff struggle with using it
- WebEx – similar package; stores all meetings so anyone can login and view them
- Recommend regardless of software choice – set up some “practice” meetings prior to any important meetings (like staff or board meetings) to let people join the online meeting and work out tech bugs, get accustomed to the interface, etc.
- Another recommendation is to mute participants on really large meetings so less background noise.
Rolling Out a New Database
- Training is crucial
- Walkthough all aspects of the database
- In the first training session, go over the basics; then go deeper in subsequent sessions
- List of procedures is a good idea – someone said “list the chapters of the book you’re going to write” meaning at least establish the headings you will need for your training/documentation/manual
- Roll out training to power users first
- Consider who will be doing the training – not everyone is a trainer, even if they are savvy about the software
- Have trainees help write the user manual
- Build the training manual as if the person reading it know nothing about the software
- For Salesforce in particular, you can set up a practice sandbox that is a replica of the exact real database
Billing to Allegheny County
- An interest was expressed by multiple people for batch billing software that works with Allegheny County’s billing system
- None exists that anyone can think of
Google for Nonprofits
We held our August meetup in the sunny conference room at Jewish Residential Services. Thank you to Paula, Harold and the rest of the JRS staff for hosting us! We will return to JRS for our September 7 meetup, then it’s off to ACHIEVA for October and November.
P.S. TechNow 2016 Conference registration is open and early bird rates are active! Register by September 30 to get the best rate!
Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:
Adding Search to Website
Technology Challenges Faced by New Nonprofits (and Some Suggested Solutions)
NP Tech Skill Set
Custom Software vs. Off-The-Shelf Software
- Hybrid is best- off the shelf that can be customized
- Example: want to process volunteer applications via the web
- Upload PDFs/scans, etc.
- Portal on website
- WordPress Visual Form Builder plugin
- If WordPress site, turn off Google indexing of PDFs in media library by editing robots.txt file
- Spiceworks – network monitoring, management, help desk ticketing and inventory – has concierge service and is free
Finding Nonprofit Tech Jobs
Additional Resources (Shared by Attendees Post-meeting)
For October, we were pleased to hold our meetup at ACHIEVA on the South Side. Thank you to Steve, Nicole and Dave for hosting us! Our next meeting will be held at the same location on November 4. In the meantime, we hope to see everyone at the TechNow Conference on Oct. 29!
Here are the notes and resources from the meeting:
Upgrading Windows software
- 2003 server upgrades possible (general consensus was “yes”)
- Windows 10 upgrades not very easy (some 3rd party software not doing well on it)
- For adding phones in Google Apps, there’s an app (Google Device Policy) that you can add to devices that connects with your Google admin page – providing a way to control device connection to services
- BYOD policy? Some have, some don’t – varies on the level of access given
Password management system
Office 2016 (and other productivity software)
- Outlook is less “white” and more “gray”
- MS is moving this package to just being called “Office” with no version number in the title
- Pushing Office 365 + Sharepoint server right now
- A preview video is available
- Other (free) alternatives include:
- People tend to resist change and to resort to software with which they are already familiar, so it may take some work to get your org to move away from Office to one of the free equivalents
- Largest risk to data is still employees – accidental or purposeful
- Frequently the ball is dropped between HR and IT, in the sense that IT isn’t notified immediately if someone leaves the organization
Advice for new “accidental” techies
- Don’t feel like you have to know everything
- Don’t expect kudos – you won’t hear so much when things are going well, but when something breaks…
- You have to like to solve mysteries or puzzles
- You need an appreciation and tolerance for lifelong learning
- Users can be very obstinate (machines are easy, users are less so)
- IT is a people business
- Users are the weakest link – don’t enable users who refuse to read instructions
- Find a good stream of tech information and absorb slowly – can’t learn everything at once – 2 hours a week of continued learning is probably sufficient
Thank you once again to Steve, Nicole, Dave and the rest of the ACHIEVA staff for hosting us in their South Side office this month! Next month we will hold our annual Holiday Party on Friday, December 12, from 1-4 pm at Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront. See this upcoming BCNM E-news article for more details. I hope to see you there!
This month, Steve McDonell of ACHIEVA gave us a demonstration of Google Drive and answered many questions about setting up Google for an organization as well as about the apps. Here are the notes from the meeting:
Google Drive and Apps
- Has sharing and chat features
- Has revisions (when in a Google doc, click on “all changes saved in drive” at the top of the menu to access revision history)
- Grid on top right has all apps/icons
- Upgrades take a few days to roll out
- Check out Google blog and Tech Republic’s Google blog for news
- Can now convert and edit MS Office docs in Google Apps
- Mail merge – only available for email merges (Still need MS Office for envelopes, etc.)
- Email archiving is available if you pay for a Google Vault account
- Free, but certain features like spam filtering or email archiving cost ($35/per user/per year)
- To set up a new account, register with Google, provide 501c3 proof (Google gives you MX record to hook up your domain name for email)
- Saves time on app (desktop) installs and other IT admin items
- Groups and Sites (can mix internal and external) (Can limit who can admin or send/share)
- Sites – can have pages, calendars, etc.
- Can insert/add lots of other Google Apps – into pages – integrate easily
- Groups – can use a variety of ways (has its own archive) – public or private
- Support available through reseller(s) and from Google
- Very few outages and service interruptions
- MDM is available (mobile device management)
- Good job at explaining in layman’s terms
- Big culture change
- Collaboration and sharing are the two biggest pieces to this
- Can backup if want to usingthird party apps, but Google has good backupbuilt in
- When deleted, email stays in trash until deleted so there’s a chance to retrieve from there
- Can retrieve for up to 30 days
- Very scalable – up or down – since it’s subscription based
- https encryption for docs
- Gmail to Gmail is encrypted end to end
- Procedures and policies used to “control” transmission of HIPPA related info (Faxes still being used a bit, online service such as e-fax)
- Email monitoring through/in Google Vault
- Gmail has Labels that act like tags
- Google labs – experimental plug-ins for Gmail
- Undo send
- Using canned responses
- Google Learning Center has lots of tutorials and documentation
This month, we are grateful to Steve and Nicole from ACHIEVA for hosting us in their comfortable board room! We will be back at ACHIEVA next month, when Steve will be giving us a Google Apps demonstration.
(Oh, and I know you’re all tired of hearing me say this – but don’t forget to register for TechNow if you haven’t done so already! 🙂
Here are the notes from this month’s meeting.
iOS 8 Upgrade
- iOS 8 on older devices
- Battery issue
- 5s already has issues with battery on some models
- Takes ~ 5GB of memory
- Keeping some app updates from installing (want iOS update 1st)
- Pay if more than 5 GB
- Choose what to backup via iTunes
Cell Phone, Providers and BYOD
- Most orgs that provide phones to staff standardize & give out one kind of phone
- Some do BYOD & put on network
- BYOD policies (could also put in regular acceptable use)
- Lookout security app – backs up device & takes photo of person if tries to unlock more than 3 times (phone and iPad)
- Need to put in policy if require that type of app for employees
- Verizon – recently came down in pricing but have to ask
The Future of Technology
- Talked about pace of change in tech, last 15 years
- Minority Report movie has cool tech that we might see in real life someday (also check out the 2012 version of Total Recall)
Learning Management Systems
- Websites & internet access generally required for learning (K-12 and higher ed)
- Electronic textbooks as a standard would be great
- Blackboard is still in use
- Google has an app called Google Classroom
- Aquos Board (Sharp product – Wilson Group may have info at TechNow)
- Possible SMARTboard uses
- Skyping (if camera)
Place to Get Tech Deals
Bagels & Bytes attendees posing under the large Crane in the lobby of the Children’s Museum.
Thank you to all for attending Bagels & Bytes this month at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! George and Mercy were, once again, our gracious hosts.
In April and May, we are at the Frick Art & Historical Center in the East End. By that time, we should see some spring blooming and enjoy the lovely grounds there!
Here are the meeting notes for this month.
- Dianne Buirge from North Hills Community Outreach announced an open IT position: IT Specialist. Please feel free to forward the job description to anyone who might be interested.
- Other good places to post IT job listings:
- User experience – good, once you get past the new “top layer” it is stable and functional.
- Vista scared a lot of people/vendors, so people still shy of upgrading.
- The desktop environment is similar to 7, except for the touchscreen features and “charms” menu.
- There are known compatibility issues with Terminal Server.
- Reminder that Windows XP support expires next month.
- Johna shared an informative email re: XP she recently received from NET Xperts:
- “Click on the link to see if your PC is running Windows XP. http://www.amirunningxp.com/
- For anyone who is not a computer techie, the announcement by Microsoft about discontinuing support for Windows XP may not mean much. However, from a HIPAA perspective, this is very important information because Section 164.308(a)(5)(ii)(B) of the HIPAA Security Rules includes an ‘addressable’ requirement of Protection from Malicious Software where covered entities need to implement “procedures for guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software”.
- Officially, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available. This means that there will be no more automatic updates protecting your PC and even though your computer will still work, the problem is that without these updates, it becomes more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
- Even if you have encryption and anti-virus software on your Windows XP computer, it won’t help because the problem is related to the flaws in the operating system itself. Encryption protects communication to and from the computer, but not the computer itself. Anti-virus can help protect a computer, but that depends on what security flaws might be found in XP after Microsoft no longer supports it.
- Here’s what happens from the ‘hacker’ perspective. Microsoft releases an update (patch) for a supported operating system. Hackers review those patches and see if that same vulnerability exists in the old operating systems that are no longer supported. If so, then your old, faithful, reliable XP computer becomes a prime target no matter what encryption or anti-virus you have installed on it. If you have a security breach on that XP computer, you have not implemented appropriate safeguards to meet the HIPAA requirements.” ~ NET Xperts
Google Apps vs. Office 365
- Between the two programs, file conversion and sharing can be an issue.
- Moving to these clouds-based productivity apps requires a degree of change management, regardless of which you choose.
- Office 365 changing name of cloud storage from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Business subscriptions start at $5/month per user. Here’s the announcement from Microsoft.
- Outlook 2013 – no more Public Folders, everything is a Mailbox now.
- Mail merge feature in Google Docs has improved somewhat over time.
Responsive Web Design
Local IT Providers That Serve Nonprofits
- Cloud vs. local backups (see extensive notes from our last meeting).
- How to pay for? An in-house backup device can be labeled a capital expenditure and depreciated while cloud-based solutions fall under operating expenditures.
- General consensus wishing that funders and management understood that the world is slowly moving to the cloud and we’ll need to re-think how we fund our IT.
- There was a request for a “101” document. Here’s a video instead.
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
- culture change
- expectations for staff
- management buy-in
- It’s important to take a break once in a while and breathe.
- Cloud-based apps:
- Unicentric (case management software)
- ADP (payroll)
- Sage (financial)
- Google Drive (for files)
- Gmail / Google Calendar
- Cloud-based software, updates automatically pushed out, mostly okay when happens, once in a while a glitchy update gets pushed out, but usually fixed pretty quickly
- Board management or portal tools – boards want space for documents, minutes, collaboration
- 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
- 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
- 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!