Many of us dream of a relaxing vacation on a tropical island with white sand, sparkling blue water, brilliant sun, palm trees, and refreshing tropical drinks. But, being stranded on a deserted island with little hope of rescue—that sounds like a nightmare.
In doing technology assessments, I’ve noticed a pattern with some of our less IT-mature clients that reveals a need to be rescued from their deserted IT island.
- The IT team is not viewed by their colleagues as partners to the business.
- They use outdated tools and processes.
- They develop custom solutions when off-the-shelf solutions exist.
- They’re uninformed about solutions other organizations have already developed.
If that sounds like your organization, you need to get off the island!
Your Rescue is in sight: 8 steps to improve IT maturity
There’s no need to send an SOS, here’s your IT island escape plan.
- Make connections. You are only as smart as your network. Join a group of association technology professionals like the ASAE technology section, or check out other groups, like NTEN and CIOs4Good. If you’re an introvert like me, this might seem daunting, but don’t despair. Technology groups are usually very welcoming and supportive, plus they’re full of fellow introverts—and you can always engage virtually.
- Learn from the experience of others. Most problems are not completely unique to your organization. There’s a strong chance that others have solved them already. Use your network to find out what other organizations have done.
- Invest in professional development for you and your team. You’ve probably heard the joke about the CIO and CFO. The CFO says, “What if we spend all this money and then your team leaves.” The CIO responds, “What if we don’t spend the money and they stay?” There’s always more to learn. Invest in yourself and invest in your team’s continued growth.
- Attend conferences. Take advantage of opportunities to learn and expand your network at the same time.
- Avoid customization. The desire to routinely customize software solutions is a red flag. Be sure to use your network to find off-the-shelf solutions even if it requires some business process change.
- Learn about the business. Take time to meet with your organization’s line of business owners to learn about their work and goals. Attend seminars that are not related to technology so you can better understand the challenges and trends your colleagues face. Regularly read trade publications and business magazines to get insights into what is happening in the business world.
- It’s ok to not know every answer. The IT field is broad and deep. If you’re lucky, you might have deep experience in a few areas. You must be able to admit the limits of your expertise and turn to others (vendor partners, colleagues outside your organization, etc.) when you need additional insight, knowledge, or experience.
- Bring in consultants to do a technology assessment. It’s very important to periodically get an outsider’s perspective on how technology is serving your organization. Consultants like us are island hoppers: we’re frequent travelers to deserted islands. Working with a wide range of organizations, we’ve developed effective approaches to technology management as well as solutions for the types of problems you face on a deserted IT island.
The benefits of getting off the island are clear, but here’s a significant one: with the ever-rising tides of technology, unless you have a raft, you’ll soon be sunk.
Is your organization seeking a CIO coach or finding itself between CIOs? DelCor’s CIO Support services can provide coaching from consultants with association CIO experience and help you bridge the gap with an interim CIO adept in the business and culture of associations.