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NGOs get boost from free Microsoft Office

16 September 2013, 14:43Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - Non-profit organisations have been given free copies of Microsoft Office software to help increase their productivity.

The software giant made copies of its popular software available to NGOs in 41 countries.

"Non-profits and NGOs operate in the same way as any other organisation or business, but many lack the resources to implement the latest technology. The donation of Office 365 allows them to be more effective and efficient in the work they do," said Uriel Rootshtain, Microsoft South Africa's Office Business head.
The software licence allows NGOs to conduct their business in a more efficient manner and the because the software is up-to-date, it limits exposure to malware due to outdated applications.

"As soon as we started using Office 365 across the organisation, our problems with capturing data and storing it safely became a thing of the past," Andrew Whitley, strategic manager of Ecological Restoration at the Wildlands Conservation Trust, one of the recipients.

Internet cloud

One of the benefits of Office 365 is that it is geared toward collaboration in the internet cloud.

"Our operations depend on collaboration, and we have been better able to upload and work off the same documents, whether you are in head office or in the field," said Whitley.

Documents saved in one location can be shared and edited by multiple users across multiple devices. The software can also be used on a PC in an internet café which may not even have the latest version.

One challenge for the implementation of software solutions that depend on the internet is that it requires a data connection which may be intermittent.

Office 365 also periodically requires an online verification and the software will limit functionality if the verification cannot be done.

The NGO programme follows similar programme where Microsoft makes copies of Office available to students at a reduced cost on a four year licence.

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