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Do you really need a technology plan?

Do you really need a technology plan?

  • a fellow "accidental techie" posted:

    "As the de facto tech person on staff (which, believe me, is a scary thing), I think the main ingredient necessary to achieve strategic technology planning at a small nonprofit (we number about 20) is to have a legitimate IT person on staff."

    While I heartily agree with this sentiment, the problem for us is that, without a technology plan or even a line in the budget for technology, there isn't room in the budget for IT staff, or even for paying for professionals if things break down. I (the secretary/bookkeeper with a computer background) and my husband (with several certifications) keep things running as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, when things are running well, noone sees the need for money to be put aside for when something breaks - causing a panic when, as is inevitable, something does.

    Also, a major problem is that donors don't want to donate $ for technology - it's not "warm and fuzzy." We have a network (MS Internet sharing) and about 7 computers.
  • At our organization, managers get into arguments over whether we need to:

    1. upgrade our hardware & software,
    2. get everyone's machine to do what that person's job requires AND to generate documents that other machines can read,
    3. train everyone to use the capacity they have, or
    4. motivate staff to do what they've already been trained to do, like check their e-mail!

    I've suggested that creating a technology plan would help us resolve these arguments. Am I right?
    Dennis Fischman Director of Planning Community Action Agency of Somerville 66-70 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143 Phone: (617) 623-1392 x 105 Fax: (617) 628-2512 E-mail: dfischman@caasomerville.org
  • Having a plan won't resolve your arguments, but working together as a team to develop a technology plan may help you all to come to consensus on what your top needs are.

    Zac
     

    Zac Mutrux
    President, Sarai LLC
    http://www.sarai.org/
    zac@sarai.org
    415-359-3791

  • Coming back to this topic a little late in the game...

    I agree with Zac, Dennis. The technology plan won't resolve your arguements. However, the process of developing a technology plan might. The process -- surveys, consultations with appropriate stakeholders around visions, partnerships and budgets, a presentation to relevant staff with feedback, clearly tying the define technology needs to the presenting problems in your organization -- all that process can get you to a point of agreement. It might do that by highlighting, articulating and resolving the underlying issues that are leading to the arguments.

    -webb