Draft #1

Additional Research

  • In-depth research on successful and unsuccessful IT projects to uncover further traits
  • Continued dialogue with other organization staff to uncover their perspectives of successful and unsuccessful IT projects

Key findings

  • Lack of consistent IT funding
  • Lack of strategic plans and over reliance on tactial IT plans
  • Managing IT projects based on benchmarks as standards
  • Challenged by the continual changing technology landscape and keeping up with it all
  • Lack of staff to plan and manage projects
  • Difficulty with software vendors
  • Organizations consistently budget for less than the needs of the organization
  • Lack of staff's technology knowledge or ability to use technology
  • Trouble with asking the right questions (they often don't know the right questions to ask)
  • Organizations desire to increase efficiency and productivity with staff

Conclusion

These organizations have adopted and embraced technology in their organizations. They have begun to reap the rewards of successful use of technology through increased staff efficiency and productivity. The triangle of investments: infrastructure, human capital and strategic planning, play a key role in the successful implementation of technology. All of the organizations desire to increase staff efficiency and productivity.

All eight of these organizations struggle to incorporate a reasonable base line budget for supporting the technology of the organization, instead, they rely heavily on outside support from the Nokomis Foundation. And, often, foundations will cap the amount of money to be spent on technology and Government grants are even worse, not allowing anything to be spent on technology. All the organizations consistently budget for less than the needs of the organization require.

With Human Capital, none of the eight organizations provided ongoing education or training to their staff. The education tended to be either at the beginning of their career with the organization or when major changes were made to a product at the organization. Lack of staff's technology knowledge or ability to use technology, although there is a generational shift, with younger employees coming to the organizations with skills, the challenge is using those individuals most effectively. Staff do not always trust the technology.

Even more challenging to the nonprofits is to have a strategic IT plan tied to their strategic plan. The main problems are the fact the organizations lacks anyone with technology skills who also knows the organization. The individual in charge is often a human services person who understand the opportunity with the use of technology, but struggles with understanding the strategic use of technology. They often get stuck in a tactical realm following guidelines and benchmarks rather than driving the technology based on the organization's needs. Projects themselves are not planned or managed, often a project is started, but no one is the true owner or manager of that project or, worse yet, the consultant manages the project. Often those in charge of the technology plan do not know which questions to ask.

These organizations defined key barriers to the effective use of technology as being funding, high level support, keeping up with technology, asking the right questions, listening for the right answers and expertise.

Through successful implementation of IT these organizations believe that they can better analyze gaps and respond to needs of their constituents.

One of the organizations referred to the Women's Technology Consortium as a team because they can support and call each other without fear of competition or being laughed at.