A major study by Charity Finance magazine has discovered that the traditional perception of many charity IT professionals as ‘techies’ is set to change as more charities look to outsource software and hardware to external providers or cloud based solutions. Instead the charity IT team of the future will focus on the strategic management of data and information, as well as taking on a more commercial guise in managing multiple external suppliers.
Richard Craig, chief executive of the Charity Technology Trust, comments;
"The need is for people who can do strategic things... so more of a buisness management role than a technical one."
The 2012 Charity IT Survey, now in its tenth year, describes how the move to cloud computing and outsourcing, which is driving this revolution, is in growing evidence.
- One in four charities expect their spending on services to increase, while equivalent figures for hardware, software, and training are in reverse.
- Outsourcing is up, and especially enlightening is the 63 per cent of charities who now fully hand over responsibilty for their hardware and software maintenance to external providers.
- Cloud computing is now used by more than a fifth of charities, while another third are considering it.
- 21 per cent of charities with income over £1m report their IT staff costs are falling, compared with just eight per cent in 2011.
- Three-fifths of charities now use an outside agency to develop and maintain their website, up from under two-fifths in 2008.
Another key finding of the survey, and one which further fuels the prediction of the death of the techie, is the rise in charities giving their employees remote access to their organisation’s networks and enouraging ‘bring-your-own-device’ policies. It is a point picked up by Laura Dawson, head of information systems at RSPB.
"... the IT department isn’t going to deliver the back end because it is becoming viable to outsource it, it isn’t going to deliver the front end because you’re going to bring your own ... it will focus on delivering the asset that is the information."
- Satisfaction levels with IT systems among smaller charities has fallen. 55 per cent of charities with income under £1m scored their systems either very good or good, compared to 65 per cent in 2010.
- There is an increasing feeling that IT security is not being adequately dealt with, with around one in five charities now saying they are concerned.
- The transition to Windows 7 is on the rise, but perhaps not at the expected rate with Windows XP still the dominant operating system.