Top five NFP tech trends revealed at Access Think Tank
Access Group’s NFP Division brought together key influencers in the sector at a recent think tank, held at the Haymarket Hotel in London, to uncover the top five technology trends over the next three years.
The mid-market NFP provider of finance, HR, fundraising and membership CRM solutions, invited consultants, clients and journalists to debate what they believed would shape the NFP sector and the challenges faced:
- Personalisation – personalisation and relevance will prove hugely important to audience engagement, in a time-poor, attention short world. However, the lack of integration between web and CRM systems (and hence reduced access to data) will hinder their ability to enable online personalisation. Going hand in hand with personalisation was the importance of segmentation and ‘badgification’, giving different people and audiences an identity.
- Integration – the current lack of integration within the sector was seen as a major challenge that needs to be overcome with a move towards single, centralised solutions with consistent data. Tightly integrated systems across the organisation, including finance, HR, CRM, mobile, self-service and cloud applications is going to be a necessity, especially to deal with ‘big data’. Solutions such as CRM, membership and CMS systems will merge. Integration was seen as fundamental to moving the NFP sector forward.
- Mobile – with the continuing rise in the use of mobile technology, the NFP sector will need to ensure that everything is device agnostic. A dominant force, mobile will be core to all websites and applications, ensuring there is accessibility from anywhere and on any device, including non PC, smart phone and tablet. Mobile was also seen as essential to keeping people connected.
- Insight – this is critical for organisations to tap into their data and make intelligent decisions on, for example, time, resource and funds. Technology and the relevant skillsets are necessary, with a much needed bridge between those within the organisation who know what they want from the data and those that understand BI tools but do not know how to interpret the information. In mid to large charities insight is seeing its own roles and its own teams as organisations increasingly use it to improve the way they operate and fundraise.
- Cost Control – greater control over costs (including management and admin) was seen as key with organisations needing and wanting to do more with less. Whilst it was recognised that cost control was not new, it was felt the cost of ownership would need to fall, and that KPI scorecards plus supporting analysis and reporting technology was key to enabling solid decisions in this area.
Topics such as alternative fundraising opportunities to support local causes through peer-to-peer crowd-funding platforms were also highlighted, alongside gift aid review and tax efficiencies. Social media and cloud did not make it to the list as these were seen as being very much present today.
Richard Gott, Head of Membership Development, RCGP & Chair of the MemberWise network, commented, “It was great taking quality ‘time out’ of the office to discuss the sector’s current and future technology goals and challenges. I took the opportunity to iterate on the real need for us all to focus on online personalisation (based on a consensus of over 425 membership organisation and association MemberWise subscribers) to better engage with members. We came to a unanimous agreement that this had to be a priority for membership organisations over the coming years and it will certainly be a priority for me.
“We also recognised that a major ‘blocker’ is legacy CRM systems that need to be replaced. Failure to do so will lead to continued spend, reduced surplus, increased resource and the opportunity cost of not fully engaging members during times of significant change. A great afternoon with some great challenges ahead!”
Rob Barr, Access Group’s NFP Divisional Director, concluded, “It was interesting to see such lively debate on what technology trends would impact the sector. Being responsible for the direction of Access’ NFP product roadmap, the input from the influencers that help shape the sector is key to ensuring our own solutions remain relevant, including thankQ, our CRM fundraising and membership solution. As a business we’re already reinvesting up to 17 per cent of our revenues into R&D across our whole software portfolio; our aim is to ensure that it’s channelled in the right direction to meet the needs of our client-base.”
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Access is a leading author of fully integrated business management software. The portfolio spans solutions for ERP, finance, HR, payroll, CRM, membership, business intelligence, professional service automation and manufacturing. More than 5,000 UK businesses and not-for-profit organisations use Access solutions to improve their performance, profitability and drive growth, unlocking their business potential through improved business insight.
Vertical focus and industry-specific solutions differentiate Access in the market and templated solutions make for rapid and easy deployments. Using Access software to automate operations, streamline processes and share real-time business information anytime, anywhere, businesses can benefit from significant performance improvements.
Access is one of the top five fastest growing UK software developers in The Sunday Times Buyout Track 100 2012 and featured in last year’s Profit Track 100. On-going commitment to excellence, customers and employees has also placed the company among the UK’s top employers in The Sunday Times’ 100 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ 2011.
Accreditations and memberships:
- Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA)
- Access’ software is recognised by HM Revenue & Customs
- The Innovation Award finalist at the National Business Awards 2013
- Enabler of the Year finalist at the National Business Awards 2012
- Software Product of the Year finalist at the British Accountancy Awards 2012
- ICT in Manufacturing finalist at the Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2012
- Inclusion in The Sunday Times Buyout Track 100 list (47th)
- Inclusion in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 list (63rd)
- Inclusion in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list for mid-market companies (85th)
- Accountancy Age Award 2010 for ‘Software Package of the Year’