Monday, March 25, 2013

The Cloud is our hero! #MMM Episode 3

So I tried out a new tool for Episode 3 of Monday Minute Movie (#MMM).  But who knew that once you were done, you couldn't go back and edit. oy. Plus I can't embed it, WHAT? There goes my viewership.....

So this month's #MMM is a bit over a minute, but is under 2 minutes! SO I will just call it a minute and you can just get over it.

This month's topic is an advertisement for the Ignite Session that I will be doing at the #13NTC!

Watch My Google Story called The Cloud is our Hero!

Cant Make it to #13NTC?
And a quick announcement. If you can't go to the Nonprofit Technology Conference hosted by NTEN, you should seriously consider the Online NTC! I was not able to attend the conference last year, but did attend online. It was a great experience, not as good as being there, but still great. I was able to catch the Keynote speakers, which ROCKED! Plus I picked a few good sessions to join.

To make the online NTC experience better though, I involved a bunch of co-workers. We all gathered in a room to watch sessions together that were cross functional. We were able to chat and apply to our work right away. We were brainstorming and building some camaraderie during the sessions.

So while one of the best parts of the NTC is the hallway conversations and the amazing people you meet, when you can't attend in person, the online NTC is still a good choice. Plus it is very reasonably priced, especially if you share it with others at your org in a room with a projector.

Anyway, register for the NTEN NTC online conference today!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Awesome Tech Planning Resource!

For the last two weeks I have rambled on about Tech Planning. I have thought about how to demystify the process. How to simplify it. 

The key was a shift from Strategic Tech Planning to Tactical Tech Planning!

Wait, What? Why would you not want strategic tech planning? What is up with Tactical?

Well let's put it this way. If your car has a flat tire and needs a new starter, do you need a strategic plan to fix the car? 

Well if your technology is in the early stages, it is like fixing your car. You have to get everything working correctly before you can think about the strategic parts. Doing an oil change, regular maintenance and thinking through upgrades is a bit silly when it has a flat and can't start.

The self serve training and resource for Technology Planning that I have been dreaming about for years has arrived. And it is from the trusted experts at Idealware! Yay! This resource is the perfect way for you and your organization to begin the journey toward a strategic technology plan by starting with a tactical one.
Idealware let me have a sneak peek at the training and associated resources, I cannot easily explain how AWESOME they are! When you combine the video with the downloadable action plans and templates, you have everything you need to get started. But even better, they don't throw it all at you at once. They purposely take you through a series of steps that are easy to digest and complete.

You might be saying to yourself, Self, I think this guy is whack or is getting paid to talk about this, but you would be wrong. Well maybe not about the whack part.  I am only talking about this training because I think it is a great tool! I have worked with Idealware on a volunteer basis in the past, but  I just really appreciate what they do.

So anyway, If you work at a small to mid size nonprofit, I would suggest going to Idealware and check out their Tactical Tech Planning today! 

Also a huge shout out to the Pierce Family Foundation for their support of this project! Awesome to see a foundation that really understands the importance of solid technology, operations and administration to support a nonprofit to meet it's mission!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Technology Strategy Follow up to #MMM Episode 2

So last week I posted a one minute video on creating a technology strategy.

I showed the basic steps of:

  1. Listing your technology needs, projects and hopes in a spreadsheet
  2. Add columns for Effort, Priority and Cost
  3. Fill in columns with high, medium and low
  4. Then look for the combination of effort, priority and cost that you are able to accomplish
Well your technology plan really can be that simple when you are just beginning. When your needs are centered around your infrastructure it is easy to manage. When these projects start to cross over into enterprise software, websites, social media or communications, it can get much more complicated.

Creating a technology plan that requires process or cultural changes, is much more complex. These will take some deliberate steps to build support, prepare staff, enable champions, document your business, understand operational goals and so much more.

So why did I try to make technology planning look so simple?

Because if you don't start with your infrastructure, the other stuff is useless. If you have an awesome website with bandwidth too slow to upload images to it, optimal external communication tools but no good way to share information internally or you have the perfect enterprise software running on computers too slow to run it, then the best technology plan is just a waste.

So your technology plan ALWAYS needs to start with the basics. Get the trains running on time, keep the lights on, start with a foundation to build on or whatever metaphor you want to use.

Later I will look at how you should begin to add in concepts like organizational readiness, mission impact, return on investment, benefit analysis and all of the other ways to make your technology more meaningful.  You have to find purposeful ways to shift your technology from a cost center to manage to a transformative method to meet your mission.

Remember That Technology Is Not a Strategy
According to Allen Gunn, executive director of Aspiration, a San Francisco-based nonprofit technology consulting organization, many organizations make the error of treating technology as a replacement for strategy: “In the same way they’d order up pizza delivery, some nonprofits think they can order up a piping hot enterprise technology strategy. We tell organizations to take a step back and think about your business processes first. Look at things from a process-centric way and not a tech-centric way.”

Be sure to go read the full article, it is fantastic.