In today’s world, philanthropy is as global as business.
We find support for this conclusion in several recent trends. According to the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report, 45% of donors worldwide give to organisations outside their own nations. This dovetails with the high (75%) portion of global donors who use social media for news and giving inspiration. Consider recent outpourings of support for Haiti, Bali, Puerto Rico, or the Rohingya people in Myanmar; philanthropy crosses borders and follows the news cycle.
Further evidence for the global nature of modern philanthropy comes from the software market. An increasing number of not for profits have shown ambition, a yearning to expand beyond national borders, to bring vital services to new populations. Scalability – a system’s capacity to handle growth and change, especially that incurred by crossing borders has risen in the priorities of not for profit and for profit software buyers alike.
Few segments of the software world show this as clearly as the ERP market. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions must meet and streamline not for profits’ organisational, financial, and operational needs. Scalability means two things in ERP systems: a) access to on-demand computing resources and b) the ability to manage multiple entities. An ERP system is scalable if it can handle the challenges the increased complexity and added rules, the different tax standings and economic strains that come with international expansion.
It is difficult to overstate the unique difficulties involved in cross-border growth. Multi-national not for profits must adapt to different understandings of tax exemption. They must learn to use different currencies and recruit from unfamiliar volunteer bases. They must employ ever more intricate approval processes. To make it worse, many multinational not for profits must build supply chains for disadvantaged regions of the world, where low bandwidth and poor physical infrastructure make it all but impossible to use traditional ERP software.
Yet despite these challenges, a surprising number of otherwise ambitious not for profits remain stuck with ERP systems they’ve long since outgrown. Some charities, it seems, just can’t bring themselves to look for a more scalable solution.
Why is this? In many cases, the reason lies with the investment of time and resources that go into traditional ERP systems. The costs of on-premise systems are legendary. In several notable cases, legacy systems have been known to weaken or even bankrupt Fortune 500 companies. Implementations can last anywhere from one to seven years, after which executives and IT staff alike recoil at even the thought of a new search process.
And this is understandable, for years, ERP systems were anything but scalable. Only with the advent of the cloud architectures have solutions emerged that can meet the long-repressed needs of ambitious not for profits. In fact, many not for profits once or twice-burned by on-premise ERP will find that it costs less to go live on a cloud solution than to sustain another year with their current system.
But there’s a catch: listening to today’s ERP market gives one the impression that every provider has a ‘scalable cloud solution.’ To discern between true and false advertising, not for profits must measure each ERP product against a specific set of criteria:
- The provider should regularly update their system at no cost to clients.
- Customers should have the ability to grow and cross borders without in-system penalties.
- Customers should never have to suffer significant downtime.
- The provider should never require users to install new software just so that they can cope with increased demand.
- The solution should adapt to various units within the same organisation. They should be simple for small units and feature-rich for large ones.
- The solution should support multiple languages and currencies.
- It should support multiple fiscal years and more than one chart of accounts.
- It should allow each client to expand as one entity, rather than permitting international growth only as separate islands.
- It should allow clients to grow without requiring additional administrative or technical spending on their part.
Already the most automated solution on the market, the following features make Xledger cloud ERP the most scalable as well:
- System-wide application of the inheritance principle
- Multi-tenant cloud architecture
- Extensive automation
- Flexible resource management capabilities
- Powerful consolidation.
- Multi-currency and multi-language support
With Xledger, not for profits can rapidly on-board departments, divisions, organisational units, and new or acquired companies. They can report both within each entity and across the entire organisation. Yet at no point does Xledger demand the overhead usually required to operate and maintain such a system. Xledger empowers not for profits to grow in size, in scope, or in both, but without the need for more personnel.
Once live on Xledger, not for profit customers no longer need to change systems or make significant capital investments. And when they grow, they grow with Xledger.