How Microsoft Cloud technology helps this non-profit better serve Nigeria

Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a nonprofit international organisation for people aged 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to creating an impact in their communities. Founded in St Louis, Missouri, USA in 1915, JCI has grown to include members from 124 countries around the world. The organisation encourages young people to become active citizens and to participate in efforts that build social and economic development, international co-operation, goodwill and understanding.

JCI Nigeria was established by Bola Adewunmi in 1956. It’s now the leading movement for youth development and active citizenship across Nigeria’s 36 federal states. Focused on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to make informed decisions and take action, JCI Nigeria is committed to creating a community of globally minded young people who embrace new ideas, collaboration and diversity to shape our communities, our world and our future.

By deploying Microsoft Office 365 and Power BI to improve internal operations within the organisation, JCI has been able to make an even bigger impact in Nigeria as a modern nonprofit running on cloud technology.

Communication is key
Communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to the success of any nonprofit hoping to make a difference in the communities they serve.

Prior to deploying Office 365, the organisation’s IT infrastructure was fundamentally non-existent and staff could not communicate over email effectively. “We relied mainly on a public, unsecured communications system and a public hosted email server that limited our ability to engage with partners, stakeholders and members,” says Kolawole Osinowo, 2017 Alumni Relations Committee Member for JCI Nigeria.

JCI Nigeria’s email server was restricted only to principle officers because of low bandwidth. This had a serious impact on the nonprofit’s productivity levels because it could not send or receive large emails, negatively affecting its professional image.

“Since deploying Office 365 donated by Microsoft Nigeria, we’ve set up additional emails for all our members. This has increased our professional outlook while removing the bandwidth limitations. Our individual and organisational productivity has increased considerably, and communications within the organisation have drastically improved,” adds Osinowo.

Another concern the organisation had was regarding security and privacy, but with Office 365, members now have more control over their data.

The Microsoft FastTrack team provided the JCI Nigeria team with resources, tools and experts to help them rollout Office 365, and ensure that everyone understood the benefits of working in a new way.

JCI Nigeria also started using Yammer as its internal social network, which has led to increased information and knowledge sharing among members.

Data analytics for smoother operations

Drilling down into the information it has at its fingertips is an essential part of ensuring JCI Nigeria’s operations run smoothly. Power BI allows the organisation to gather all its on-premises and cloud information in one central location that can be accessed anywhere. Using the tool, JCI is able to transform its data into rich visuals, and spot trends, take immediate action and ultimately make a greater impact.

“Every year, we organise four conferences at the national level and several others at regional within Nigeria. Most of the delegate registration and training registration takes place via our website,” says Osinowo. “We intend to mine this data and generate analytics using Microsoft Power BI, which will enable our organisation to better organise these events, while meeting the expectations of our members.”

Better collaboration to improve lives
In 2016, JCI Nigeria implemented over 100 community-based projects in Nigeria, positively impacting the lives of more than 2000 people. Some of the projects included the rehabilitation of a health centre in Ibadan, the establishment of a clean water project in SangoTedo in Lagos, and an outreach program for displaced people in Abuja, Bauchi and Maiduguri.

“We intend to increase our adoption and consumption of the services available to us through our partnership with Microsoft,,” says Osinowo.

Not only have Office 365 and Power BI improved JCI Nigeria’s productivity, efficiency and teamwork, but they have also empowered the team and instilled in them a sense of pride and purpose.

“The team is proud to describe itself as a digitally-enabled modern NGO,” he concludes.