Nonprofit gains control of its IT landscape with RSM

May 06, 2024
Data analytics Data & digital services Digital transformation Nonprofit

When your organization is all about driving, the last thing you want is for your data strategy to be stuck at a red light.

Facility Association (FA) is a nonprofit that operates in Canada. The organization’s mission is to ensure the availability of automobile insurance to those eligible to obtain it. In many cases, FA is the insurer of last resort to provide coverage when no other option is available. FA has a unique business model in that the organization focuses on having as minimal a market presence as possible in the belief that consumers are better served in the private or standard market.

Recently, the organization recognized the need for a robust data strategy. FA believed that building off the strengths of its existing processes and enhancing the quality of its data and governance would improve the organization’s effectiveness.

“We talked about data modernization, data development and where we were heading,” says Aidan Chen, vice president of data and analytics and privacy officer for FA. “We have an obligation to an industry, and that involves different data sets and priorities.”

FA engaged RSM to navigate the complexities of data governance and modernization. RSM has a great deal of experience with the nuances of data strategy, and this knowledge base would prove invaluable during the engagement.

Formulating an approach

Over six weeks, RSM met with FA’s key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive data strategy tailored to the nonprofit’s unique needs. This involved extensive consultations, a thorough analysis of organizational requirements and the creation of a strategic road map. RSM delivered a data strategy that identified areas where digital information could be leveraged to help the organization succeed.

FA was operating on legacy systems like Microsoft Excel and stored much of its data with a third-party provider or in Access databases. Along with modernizing its IT systems, FA wanted to own and define its data by establishing a data governance framework.

To accomplish this goal, RSM learned all that it could about FA’s organization, its members and the overall industry. Chen says the RSM team really listened to FA’s stakeholders and didn’t force any solutions.

“The engagement was built on relationships,” Chen says. “One thing that we appreciated about RSM was the customized solution that was fit to our purpose.”

It’s been a pleasure working with RSM. The engagement came at a key moment in time, and it allowed us to create the right foundation and make sure that we had the right technology for the future.
Aidan Chen, vice president of data and analytics, Facility Association

Creating a foundation

RSM supported the execution of the data strategy by building a strong foundation for data and analytics. The first step was to establish a strong data governance framework that provided a structured approach to organizing and safeguarding FA's data assets. This aligned FA with regulatory obligations and industry best practices. The framework also allowed FA to have more ownership over its data, a crucial step for the organization on its journey to increased efficiency.

The next phase involved building out a data cloud architecture and establishing Microsoft Azure as the underlying framework. Many of the organization’s processes were transferred into the centralized repository.

This initiative enabled FA to streamline data integration processes, enhance accessibility and optimize resource utilization. The integration of data processes into a unified ecosystem helped FA to derive actionable insights and drive informed decision making.

Chen says FA saw results early in the engagement, including streamlined workflows and improved data-utilization capabilities. He believes FA benefitted in the long term by accessing RSM’s broader network of professionals, who had a wide range of experience across multiple industries.

“RSM provided different perspectives that were beneficial to us,” Chen says. “We could see how others—beyond our own organization, our own membership or our own industry—handled potential issues.”

Chen says RSM’s approach fostered knowledge transfer, skill enhancement and the cultivation of a culture of innovation within FA. By tapping into RSM’s resources, the nonprofit enhanced its technological capabilities and empowered its workforce to embrace new technologies.

Going forward

Chen believes that the engagement worked well due to the two companies’ mutual prioritization of open communication. He says RSM kept the engagement on track and resolved any issues promptly.

Because of the project’s success, FA will continue using RSM’s service in a hybrid model, in which the firm offers services such as supporting FA’s cloud environment. FA plans to scale RSM’s resources according to its evolving needs. Chen says that with a robust data strategy and governance framework in place, FA is well-positioned to leverage data to help their members.

“It's been a pleasure working with RSM,” Chen says. “The engagement came at a key moment in time, and it allowed us to create the right foundation and make sure that we had the right technology for the future.”

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