Tina Dimitriadis, Director of Operations at Safe Steps, discovered our IT Strategy on a Plate course at exactly the right time. New to Safe Steps, Victoria’s only 24/7 family violence crisis support service, Tina began a comprehensive review of the IT environment. At the same time, she took the IT Strategy on a Plate course, which gave her IT audit focus and structure.
A strategy template shared in the course allowed Tina to map the current landscape, document business processes, gaps and risks and to easily identify future investments and priorities aligned to the organisation’s strategic plan.
This easy-to-read roadmap, with clearly articulated steps and benefits enabled her to make a convincing case to the Board. The plan and associated budget were endorsed quickly because the opportunities and risks were laid out clearly.
Once the stages in the plan were mapped out in consultation with stakeholders, the first priority of the strategy was to move on-site infrastructure to the cloud.
‘Business continuity is a big focus for us, as we are like the Triple 000 for the family violence sector,’ says Tina. ‘For us to be offline, even for a few minutes, could be the difference between life and death for a victim-survivor.’
Another critical change that was introduced in just five weeks during 2020 was a bespoke web chat service, which has enabled clients to contact the organisation discreetly when a phone call isn't safe.
Safe Steps has seen a huge change in the stability of the network since implementing the strategy. Rather than being reactive and having to chase up vendors to fix drop-offs, all systems are now web-based and more reliable.
'The biggest impact for our staff is that they trust our IT infrastructure because they know it won’t fall over,' says Tina.
Staff are now able to work remotely and collaborate seamlessly across the organisation’s various sites, using Microsoft Office 365, which has been a game changer for the organisation.
The second phase of the strategy, upgrading their Unified Communications, is almost complete. This will enable frontline staff to have more control and accountability for the work they do whilst ensuring business continuity and keeping the client front of mind. An integral part of this is access to clear data, which will help Safe Steps advocate for the sector by being able to use detailed insights to make the case for change.
Data and privacy risks are also a priority, and collaboration with a trusted partner will be key to mitigating these.
'You need a partner who can help you stay abreast of that, support you and advise you because there are new risks presenting themselves daily in that area,' says Tina.
Safe Steps will keep working with partners on continuous improvements in all areas, in particular on governance.
'It’s all about building on the massive improvements we’ve made and identifying opportunities to go further.’
Advice for other not-for-profit organisations
We asked Tina what advice she would give to other not-for-profit organisations thinking about investing in their IT strategies. This is what she told us:
- Look for IT champions both inside the organisation and externally. Their knowledge and experience will help credibility and substance to the IT strategy.
- Don’t overlook those who are not tech savvy. Their insights about processes are essential for your planning. And the IT Strategy on a Plate course helps you to map out a plan in a relatable way.
Find out more about our IT Strategy on a Plate course, a 12-week program of online workshops providing practical guidance in how to re-think your organisation's IT environment.