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July 29, 2022
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Imagine driving your 2017 Honda Civic to work every day,

Red Honda Civic 2017 coming towards the camera, person with designer stubble and short hair in the driver seat., car has curved bodywork and looks fast and capable

Image: Red Honda Civic 2017 coming towards the camera, person with designer stubble and short hair in the driver seat, car has curved bodywork and looks fast and capable

and then changing job and stepping out of your house find a Lada Riva on the drive.

White Lada Rive 2003 model on grey background. Car is blocky and basic

Image: White Lada Rive 2003 model on grey background, car looks blocky and basic.

When I started with Beyond Reflections in 2017, we were using Office 2003. I had a paper diary and none of our systems talked to each other. We had an Access database which stored all our member and volunteer data. Paid all our bills by cheque and printed out all emails. Often things got lost. People told us they didn’t receive our emails and communication was a shambles.

The task

I had to get Beyond Reflections a top of the range car for our journey into the future.

And lo! The IT strategy was born. A glistening, shining document. Full of dreams and desires. We were going for the best, nothing else would suit our charity. Office 365, a Client Relationship Management system, hardware fit for purpose, a strong social media presence, a website with wow factor and a way to manage mailshots and external communications. True to form I was not planning to wait around for this.

The IT Project

Stage I

Thanks to our team of IT volunteers Steph Boyd, Samantha Cartwright, Andy Elsey and Alex McIsaac we soon upgraded to Office 2010. Full credit at this time must go to the office team who shared my vision, or at least wanted their emails to arrive and depart on time. That faithful team had a year to get used to this new, improved, technological way of working before Samantha and I turned their world on its head again.

Stage 2

Here came Microsoft Office 365. The all singing, all dancing, cloud-based communication and document management system that a charity with remote volunteers and a need for high paced improvement. In August 2019 we began the Sharepoint and Teams stage:  a nice orderly transition to online working and began investigating client relationship management systems.

The accelerator

March 2020 rather escalated our plans. Suddenly everyone and everything was online. Never have I been so glad to have Teams and that my team were already skilled in its use. Without that early vision and support of the team we would never have been able to move our support online so fast.

Stage 3

This month sees the coming together of many threads of the IT Strategy.

The next chapter in our progress. These projects have been running in the background, some of them for years. Gradually establishing the strong footings necessary for implementation.  

Website launch 

No rebranding is complete without a new look website, and nothing but the best will be good enough for Beyond Reflections. Thanks to the incredible work of Chris and the dev team at Bnode; the photographic skills of Mark Cornwell at Malthouse Photography; and the dedication of staff and volunteers I am delighted to announce the launch of our new website next week. 

Operational essentials 

Managed IT services, Client Relationship Management, great Social Media and fully operational Sharepoint and Teams. Dreams of the IT strategy back in 2018 and now being delivered.  So, thank you to Samantha Cartwright, Dawn Harding, Abigail Parkes, Ross London, Callum Cornwell, Lori Foster, the team at Vizst for taking on our Managed IT services, and Chris and the dev crew at Bnode for our new website.  

Sustained change comes best from solid foundations. With good IT anything can be achieved. 

Starship Enterprise on a black space field. Engines glow blue

Image: Starship Enterprise on a black space field. Engines glow blue 

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