One thing I love about New Relic is our mission to “Build a more perfect Internet.” Collectively, it’s true that our world continues to get better when technology is applied to our most complex and challenging issues.
Ironically, one of the most complex issues of the day is technology itself, especially who has access to it. We’ve attempted to describe this phenomenon in many ways, and most recently we’ve called it “Digital Transformation.” You’ve probably heard the buzzword used in many corners of our society, but essentially it refers to applying “technology” (really multiple different technologies) across your organization with the intention of moving further, faster. Just like every major technological advancement in human history, those who adapt first win. Those who don't, fall behind.
At the heart of the issue is the rapid acceleration and pace of change within technology itself. Unlike the wheel, which has largely stayed the same since its inception more than 5000 years ago, technology continues to evolve at an extraordinary pace. Entire markets sprang up solely to keep track of technological change! Those of us fortunate enough to be part of the technology sector view the effort to keep pace as part of the cost of doing business.
However, there is an entire segment of organizations that could miss out. Globally, more than 10 million nonprofits, NGOs, and social impact organizations are at risk of falling behind as the world continues to charge down the road to more sophisticated technology.
Why is this? Ultimately, it comes down to access to technology. The cost to acquire, implement and maintain modern technology infrastructure is often too much for the sector to bear. The solution is much more than simply handing technology to the nonprofit sector—that’s overly simplistic and potentially problematic. Consider the examples of organizations that for years receive free technology but are not equipped with training to use it. Or, worse still, the technology creates more obstacles and toil for their organization because it wasn’t strategically implemented.
During a FutureTalks discussion, Chris Worman, Vice President, Alliances and Program Development at TechSoup, said "These gaps and problems can be solved through collaboration—the kind of radical collaboration that was raised by putting down the nonprofit, corporate, and foundation egos and focusing on nonprofit needs first and foremost. Pooling the resources, working to design scalable solutions to address problems…or we run into the serious problem, which is the risk that as we accelerate, particularly to the cloud, millions of nonprofits are left behind by digitalization."
We believe the real solution involves a systemic and unified effort to not only provide access to technology but to support these organizations as they navigate their own digital transformation.
What’s the risk? Quite a lot, given that much of the world’s aid structure is built on the backbone of this industry. The good news is that there is a path forward.
Through radical collaboration and extraordinary generosity, we can stem the tide of this growing problem. And, better yet, we can accelerate the impact of the nonprofit sector for the more than 7.5 billion humans (including you) who benefit from them.
We convened a group of folks New Relic is grateful to collaborate with through ImpactCloud.org to talk about this issue at our speaker series FutureTalks. The following video explores the problem and some possible solutions.
I hope this conversation inspires you and that you join us as we engage in this work in pursuit of a more perfect future for all of us.
Through the NewRelic.org Observability for Good program, nonprofits, NGOs, and charities around the world can access free and discounted technology and support services. Learn more at www.newrelic.org.
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