CDI: Training the next generation of tech-savvy leaders
As written on microsoft.com
CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion), an international technology literacy organization headquartered in Brazil, doesn’t merely train youth to search the internet, say, or create a Word document; it also teaches problem-solving skills and social tools that empower its young participants to thrive in our hyper-connected world.
Yet a disjointed IT system hindered communication, slowed down operations and ultimately held back the Rio de Jainero-based nonprofit. To upgrade, CDI applied for and received Office 365 Nonprofit, the full-spectrum tech solution provided for free or at a drastic discount to qualifying nonprofits, as well as help implementing it. In just a handful of months, Office 365 has supercharged the nonprofit, helping CDI to
get more done—in less time and for less money,
deepen its training and education,
strengthen an ever-expanding network of local partners,
create consistency across a global brand, and
build relationships through tech-powered communities.
“Imagine a world in which individuals use technology to build a more free and just society. CDI is extremely grateful to Microsoft for working with us to build a big utopia, which we see as an e-topia.” - Marcel Fukayama, CEO of CDI Global and leader within Brazil’s B corporation
Technology builds a “more free and just society”
Channeling stronger relationships
“The adoption of Yammer has was an extremely inspiring process for us, of connection and engagement with our community of educators,” says the CEO, who has also written two books about using business for good.
Librarians in 46 cities across Brazil have turned the internal social media hub Yammer into a thriving network. Users post news, take polls, publicize events and share best practices—all activities that create a supportive and informative online community. The result: more engaging programming for the youth CDI serves. What’s more, Yammer provides a central location for CDI employees to communicate with program participants and even applaud the most active users in the group, encouraging others to dive deeper into the organization’s offerings, too.
Just as the nonprofit teaches educators and young people to use tech to achieve their goals, the updated IT solution of Office 365 powers CDI’s mission. “Imagine a world in which individuals use technology to build a more free and just society,” Fukayama says. “CDI is extremely grateful to Microsoft for working with us to build a big utopia, which we see as an e-topia.”
Plugging in to efficiency
CDI employees know a thing or two about efficiency: In just two decades, the organization has reached more than 1.6 million young people. But its leadership knew they could make an even bigger impact with a streamlined, cloud-based IT system.
Now they can. Office 365’s storage has given the nonprofit control of its data—and its budget. “The implementation of this technology has helped us to maximize time and resources,” explains Marcel Fukayama, CEO of CDI Global and leader within Brazil’s B corporation community. In fact, the cloud storage alone (to the tune of 1 terabyte per user) saves the IT department $15,000 a year—funds better spent on lifting up teens through tech.
Plus, they trust Office 365’s financially backed, guaranteed uptime to always have access to its lesson plans, training modules, fundraising spreadsheets and just about everything else that makes the organization run.
Offering long-term support
“Skype is used broadly across our programs, overcoming limitations of distance and time”— boosting the amount of ongoing support CDI can offer to employees and partners throughout Latin America and Portugal, says Fukayama. For example, CDI will use video conferencing for one-on-one mentorship in its new program that trains public school teachers, which will help the nonprofit serve an additional 15,000 students in technology-poor schools.
The face-to-face contact via webinars and online meetings also strengthens relationships among employees spread out over thousands of miles, who don’t often have the opportunity to meet in person.
Forging a stronger network
Fukayama calls OneDrive—the cloud-based storage and collaboration tool—a “catalyzer of co-creation.” Sharing documents through the platform encourages employees to work together on automatically synched files, integrating more people’s insights and leading to a more cohesive team.
What’s more, “Local facilitators and NGOs now have free access to learning content and methods from an international network, which would normally require huge investments in infrastructure.” That way, satellite offices and partner organizations use CDI’s tried and tested methodology so anyone working remotely doesn’t have to invent their own approach.
With more than 800 offices across 15 countries, maintaining consistency in methods, message and operations is vital. Office 365 helped CDI rise to the challenge. All employees access the same files and training curriculum in OneDrive no matter where they work, and facilitators easily tap into the materials they need from the community centers and schools where they teach. That way, leadership in each country’s home office knows the instruction meets the same high standards, Fukayama says.
Another benefit: The centralized database ensures permanent access to important files that may otherwise be lost when employees move on.