Microsoft Korea Shows How Nonprofit Work Can Get Smarter with the Cloud

Microsoft Korea held its “NGO Cloud Day: Oh! 365 Days, We’re Smart!” event on 1 October to share helpful tips with nonprofits on how to utilise cloud technology to usher in a new era of cost efficiency, collaboration, innovation and improved productivity.

Attended by 242 nonprofit professionals from all around the country, October’s NGO Cloud Day is the biggest affair in terms of size since the event was first held in 2008. It followed the successful launch of “Office 365 for Nonprofits” global donation programme, which provides free cloud-based Office services for qualifying non-governmental organisations (NGOs) around the world.

Country Manager James Kim opened the event with a welcome address emphasising the importance of nonprofit initiatives to society, and how technology can enable operational excellence within the nonprofit sector. Sung-cheol Cho, President of Korea Association of Social Workers, followed with a presentation highlighting the key role information technology (IT) plays in creating a people-first society.

The welcome addresses were followed by speeches from various members of academia, nonprofit representatives as well as key Microsoft executives, who drew attention to the challenges and opportunities nonprofits face in a fast-changing IT landscape.

Seung-joo Baek, from Microsoft Korea’s Developer Platform Evangelists Group, elaborated on the future of smart work trends that nonprofits can harness. The concept of smart work is premised on cloud applications such as Office365 that facilitate cost-effective work styles and efficient adoption of IT-as-a-Service, making them suitable for NGOs with limited resources.

Seung-joo Baek, from Microsoft Korea’s Developer Platform Evangelists Group, touched on IT trends that are sweeping the world and offered tips on how NGOs can leverage cloud technologies for more effective work  

To enable attendees to get a more practical appreciation for the relevant cloud applications, Microsoft executives were on hand to provide demonstrations and address issues ranging from basic understanding of Office 365 to the main features of OneNote. Attendees participated enthusiastically, and came up with many questions regarding the actual use of the tools.

The outcomes of a study on South Korean NGOs’ usage of IT, and their level of knowledge and perception about cloud services, were unveiled and provided much food for discussion. It is the first study of its kind, and it found that NGOs’ resources and nonprofit professionals’ IT knowledge are much more limited than other industry sectors’, and recommends a systematic IT education programme.

Attendees also got the opportunity to have one-on-one consultations at the “Meet the Cloud Expert” booth to get more details on how their respective organisations can leverage cloud technologies. Quizzes about IT and trends in the nonprofit sector drew droves of participants, including more mature participants who had initially expressed reservations about emerging technologies. The quizzes, using Excel in the file hosting service SkyDrive, demonstrated how SkyDrive functions.

 Attendees got an opportunity to “Meet the Cloud Expert”

NGO Cloud Day was attended by nonprofit staff from 214 NGOs, including YMCA, Seoul Welfare Foundation, Junior Achievement Korea and Children’s Foundation. The event was well-received and represents a step forward in sharing specific ways of getting the most out of Office 365 for their social initiatives.

Mr Kim concluded the event by stating, “Cloud technologies open the way for NGOs with limited resources to leverage the full potential of IT by optimising their operations to work smarter and more effectively, and facilitate their contributions to society.”

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