Digital Transformation In The Nonprofit Sector

Interview With CIO And CISO Andre Bromes

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Steven Lerner

One industry undergoing digital transformation that is often neglected is the nonprofit sector. Despite being designated as non-business entities, nonprofit enterprises still require the same technologies as for-profit companies.

In fact, technology is usually the key to driving operational efficiencies in the sector, but few understand this. One study found that only 11% of nonprofits see their approaches for internal digitalization as highly effective.

To understand more about nonprofits, Enterprise Digitalization recently spoke to Andre Bromes, chief information officer and chief information security officer for Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ. The conversation was for a recording of our soon-to-be released podcast series. Here’s a snippet of it.

Enterprise Digitalization: What are some of the big trends in digital transformation in the nonprofit sector today?

Andre Bromes: That's a really good question. One of the challenges that the nonprofit sector typically has is looking at all the opportunities to serve people. In my particular instance, we're looking at different ways to bring similar levels of service, because we want to improve the quality of service to the individual and looking at technology to help facilitate those methods with digital transformation. It's looking at the process and understanding that in order for you to have transformation, you have to be willing to innovate. You're evaluating your existing process and then looking to innovate on that to start the transformation effort.

ED: Is there an issue for trying to understand the quality of the message for a nonprofit organization?

AB: I wouldn't phrase it as trying to understand the quality of the message. The challenge is trying to get as many people as possible to fully understand the message, and that digital transformation for the nonprofit sector means looking at different areas in which you can communicate across. The idea is to look really at your communication strategy, know the power of your message, and in that, communicate across as many channels. Basically, it's like an omnichannel approach. The most important goal is to really understand the message and then you build and develop that message across the various channels.

ED: What role does technology play in that process?

AB: We want to improve the operational efficiency of how staff works internally and that efficiency actually translates into a better service delivery for the people that require our services and are looking for our support to help fulfill the mission. That is internal facing. External facing, the technology also improves the ability for those individuals to interact with the services that we're delivering. Technology plays a huge role in delivering that type of service, or improving that type of service.

ED: There's a big push now with the user experience. I think you're seeing a lot of that in your sector as you just alluded to. How do you empower employees in the nonprofit sector with digital transformation?

AB: In many ways, customer experience management, or CXM, is a major passion of mine. I think that a lot of chief information officers are looking towards empowering their customers internal and external by adopting that CXM strategy and approach. Whether internal or external, experience should really the telltale sign of how you're maturing in that process of delivering the technology. The same way a marketing person would look at the existing product and how it's in the market, you should look at how technology is impacting individuals and understand how it needs to change or transform or innovate in that particular method.

ED: One of the big trends we've seen across many different sectors is that synergy between the head of IT and the head of other departments. In the nonprofit sector, you've probably noticed that there has to be a really good synergy between the head of IT and the head of marketing. Let's talk about some of the specific technologies that have to be part of that process. Cloud strategies are definitely one of those.

AB: Adopting a cloud strategy is not something that is new. It's something that we've had to basically plan for several years now. The important goal is to have a strategy. You don't want to just simply shift workloads into the cloud and say, "OK, well, you know what, I am now one of the many tenants out there, and that's my strategy." You actually really want to understand the direction that the business wants to move in, and then build a strategy around that direction and support it. Having a good relationship with the head of marketing or other departments is very important. CIOs in the last several years should be challenged to reinvent themselves, almost go through their own form of transformation and innovation, and understand that the relationship with the people in the organization, and matching that with the direction that the business, is extremely important towards building that strategy.

To hear the rest of this conversation, stay connected with Enterprise Digitalization for the release of our brand new podcast series.


Steven Lerner
Enterprise Mobility Exchange