Monday, December 5, 2016

Want greater control of tech in your org? Loosen your grip.

Centralizing the planning of technology is crtiical to ensuring you have the right solutions for your full org.  Allowing each department or staff person to be involved in tech only leads to silos, disparate systems and inefficiencies.

This seems logical right? Centralize the control to ensure technology is used well across the org.

Times have changed though. Technology has been consumerized allowing everyone to be involved and is part of everyone's job. The cloud has made technology more approachable and accessible to all. The tools have also changed to require less IT management. The role of IT is shifting with this to focus on steering the technology plan, not controlling it.

As this change is happening though, the tensions between departments seems to be growing as well, not to mention the silos. Each department gets their own solution, data isn't shared and people work in isolation.

This gap is often evident between finance, fundraising and tech. Fundraising and finance each go out and get their own solutions, but end up looking at different data.  Cheryl Gipson describes this great in this article from NetSuite.

Another example, back in 2013 this article by Richard Cooper you can see how the ease of adopting tools like email marketing, cloud CRM and social media has allowed Marketing to move forward with technology, without relying on IT. Of course this will lead to organizational challenges and IT does still have a role:
The future role of the CIO is to set people free to exploit technology, but, and this is the big but, the role is also to educate people on the responsibility that comes with this.

Or as  Michael Enos says in the article called The Future Role of the CIO in the NonProfit (also from 2013):
...the future role of the CIO is to ensure appropriate integration and alignment of all these exciting democratizing tools into the business strategy of the NPO. 
So as times change, the role of technology, the IT team and the CIO has to change. It is no longer about control, but rather about influencing the alignment of technology across the organization. You need to loosen how technology is managed and who is involved to build collaboration across the org. The role of technology will continue to change, but the need for a technology decision maker to steer the technology direction across the org will not go away.

Thoughts on this or good articles related to it? Please share them in the comments.