Technology is a big area. Everything is digital now, and making effective technology plans is rather daunting. And it can be difficult to make strategic plans, when the IT person involves the executive team or board in discussions about server updates or backup power supply.
In fact, technology has three distinct levels, that require different approaches and audiences for planning, decision making, and deployment.
The foundation level is Technology as Operations, where the focus is on making things work. This level includes desktop support, office productivity tools, email, networking and servers, reliability and connectivity. Critically, it also includes security. All of these aspects of technology must work for your organization to run.
The next level is Technology as a Service. Here we ask not just if things are working, are they are working well? Does technology help my staff be effective in their work, or do they have a lot of workarounds and manual processes? Can my members join and renew and register for events easily, or are they printing out PDFs and mailing things in? If the first level is about infrastructure and hardware and networks, this is about enterprise-wide systems, like your AMS, or your website or your event management software. This level is about reducing pain and increasing efficiency in the core work of your association.
The top level is Technology as Member Value. This is where innovation comes into play, using technology to drive new products and services that members value. At this level, technology is directly used to help members solve key problems that they face in their own work.
By viewing technology through these different layers, we can apply different methods, people, and timelines to planning enhancements, scheduling replacement, and crafting solutions.
Our CIO checklist will walk you through planning your technology at each level, making the best decisions for each area, and involving the right people in those decisions.