Mark Reilley, IT director at Washington-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, takes issue with the notion that the nonprofit world is any less competitive than the private sector.
"It's pretty tough to get dollars" in this economy, the 47-year-old Reilley says. "Donors want as much data as possible to prove we're successful at what we do."
That was the major driver behind two systems implemented in 2007 that Reilley says have "transformed" how the foundation gathers, analyzes and uses data.
With a Web-based data warehouse, foundation staffers can monitor how many people are being tested and treated. They can also pull statistics about subcontractors and any outside organizations with which they work. The systems flag any data that has changed significantly from the last time it was entered, so staffers can dig deeper to find out, say, if a particular site was closed or if there was a natural disaster that prevented patients from seeking treatment.
Another focus has been on collaboration tools that allow far-flung staffers to communicate with their 1,100 colleagues around the world. Crossroads, a knowledge management system that the foundation started using in July 2012, allows people to share best practices, and find and contact experts in specific fields.
Kevin Burr, a senior network engineer and an 11-year colleague of Reilley's, says one of Reilley's greatest strengths is that "he doesn't talk IT like a tech person -- he understands that sometimes when business people come to us, they want us just to listen."