Technology Roadmap and Systems Replacement for a Global NGO

The Client

  • A global NGO focused on economic development
  • Strong focus on USAID contracts and cooperative agreements, ranging from $2M to $100M
  • Program offices located in resource-poor environments in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Central America

The Opportunity

This NGO wanted to ensure a future in which all staff, contractors, and volunteers would have access to the program and operations information they needed, at the time they needed it, regardless of where in the world they did their work. They wanted to avoid the fate of some of their NGO peers—mired in outdated and inefficient data systems, leading to decreased effectiveness.

They also wanted to develop strong practice areas inside their organization through improved knowledge management and communications across program offices.

Technology was viewed as a critical part of ensuring the organization’s future success. They wanted to select and implement information systems that would provide improved support to all parts of the organization.

The Solution

To help the organization achieve its vision, we performed a comprehensive technology assessment and created a roadmap. The roadmap included the replacement or upgrade of information systems supporting every part of the organization, including Finance, Human Resources, Development, Contract Management, and Program Management (including Monitoring and Evaluation).

We also proposed improvements to their global IT planning. These improvements were critical for all offices to consistently leverage cloud-based technologies introduced within the roadmap.

To manage these diverse initiatives, Build Consulting served as a part-time CIO. In that role, we collaborated with the organization’s executive and management teams to provide strategic direction, align resources, lead software selections, and oversee the implementation of those systems.

The Results

Achieving centrally managed, globally accessible information provided significant organizational efficiencies. For example, improvements were made in the automation of recruitment and onboarding for program volunteers and independent contractors, time/expense management, billing management, procurement and contract management, and program data management and reporting.

Moving to the new information systems included a thorough data cleanup and reclassification of program data and documents. As a result, staff were more efficiently able to access accurate and complete program information, leading to better program management decisions. It also allowed the organization to efficiently translate program information into proposal and communications materials.

A final outcome was better internal awareness of “what the organization does,” both as a whole and within key practice areas. It became much easier for program staff staff to learn what their peers were doing in other similar programs. This fostered connectedness and collaboration within the organization’s culture, generating ideas for further improvement.

African girls smiling