Technology for social justice

Riding the cloud through disaster

Infoxchange recently attended the Connecting Communities Conference in New Zealand. The conference showcased the important role that technology plays for not-for-profits, charities and community organisations.

Andrew Mahar, founder and former Executive Director of Infoxchange, along with Amodha Ratnayeke, Manager of Online Applications, presented workshops at the conference on the use of digital communication methods that utilise cloud technology and discussed IT planning and its pivotal role in assisting organisations to reach their goals.

When disaster impacts on a region, such as the earthquakes in New Zealand, local community services and aid agencies are not immune to the chaos that ensues. Paradoxically, it is often after such an event, when many organisations are themselves recovering, that their services are most in need.

The devastation from last year’s earthquake and aftershocks caused many community services in Christchurch to lose access to their technology. For many the loss was temporary, but for some the impact was more significant. Many organisations had to assist each other in order to continue their work and find new ways to function and communicate.

At the conference, organisations talked of losing all their organisational "knowledge" in the loss of their server. The damage to their  technology infrastructure meant that they could not deliver the usual quality of service to their community at a time that people really needed it.

During the crisis however, cloud technology was a key enabler that allowed organisations access to information and communications. Those using cloud storage and systems were able to work from home, from a client’s home or from temporary offices. Cloud technology enabled them to get back to work in a relatively short period of time and at a relatively low financial outlay.

Infoxchange is a silver partner of Microsoft and has been assisting a number of community services to adapt to cloud services like Office 365.

To support digital proficiency Infoxchange has created a systematic approach to IT which includes technology audits, policy templates and cloud applications that deliver the framework for sound IT planning and implementation. Digital proficiency means moving beyond seeing communication technology as simply a tool and recognising IT as a strategic asset shaping client services and coordination. Doing so will enable organisations to more efficiently and effectively pursue their mission.

Every community service, regardless of size, should consider if their current ICT plan is robust enough to allow the organisation to continue to grow and function and deliver services, no matter what the weather.

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Filed in: IT advice | Tagged as: Cloud services

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