Technology only exists to make our lives easier. We may often feel that we’ve become slaves to our laptops or glued to our smartphones, but we’ve never had it so good. It might seem we’re in a new era, but we’ve been here before – technology has been transforming our lives since the stone age, and what we’re experiencing now is no different.
The industrial revolution of the 18th century provided a significant shift in the way we worked then, how we created goods and provisioned services. During that change, we had to learn how to deal with the good while understanding the consequences and risks of the bad. Although the pace of change seems much quicker, today is no different. We need to learn to use technology positively to support us.
Innovation and transformation are in our DNA. We can choose to be active and lead or simply allow it to happen.
Preparing for transformation
Transformation is not about moving from A to B in a beautifully laid out plan. Being in the digital space is about continually learning and evolving, allowing the organisation and the people in it to become empowered. A digital organisation has to work collaboratively and mature its thinking and understanding, realising that change isn’t linear and that everyone is part of the change.
Any technology transformation needs to be grounded in a clear and shared vision for the future and link clearly to your organisational strategic objectives. Whether you are seeking to get your IT systems up to date or want to use AI to help move in a new direction, technology should never be used for technology’s sake. Good tech only exists if it enables people, simplifies processes and ultimately fits your vision, delivering the outcomes of your strategy and supporting your charity’s aims. The starting block is to look at your business strategy and ask how and why technology can help us? From here you can begin to build out a roadmap of change focusing on where the greatest impact will lie.
Building from Firm Foundations
Whether the creation of your technology landscape has just begun, or it is already largely developed, we need to know that we have the right foundations to build our future on, and the first step is to consider your current IT infrastructure.
The flexible working environment that allows access to your organisation from any device, anywhere, has become the default expectation of staff and is the biggest challenge for many IT Managers. The fear of the cloud and the added age old question of it being less secure are now gone. The potential to leverage cloud technologies to create secure and flexible environments that can be leveraged through affordable quality internet connections, should be considered the base level standard for every organisation. We would not consider creating a building without electricity or providing a member of staff with the right equipment to their job. Technology has to be considered the same.
With a great network in place, we can begin to consider how information needs to be accessed. We can go beyond staff sat at computers and consider mobile devices, tablets, chatbots, as well as how customers will access their information too. It isn’t a case of simply swapping pen and paper for screens. It is important to think about who needs to access the information, why they are accessing it and how they need to access it. As our interaction with technology becomes more and more invisible, the way in which we interact and capture information may be simply through device tracking.
The final element is to consider the use of digital tools and how they affect those interactions. The transformation we have had over the past five years has been staggering, with the ability to use web and mobile applications to create solutions being greater than we ever knew possible. We can now offer consumer-led experiences into back office applications and build information ecosystems that communicate among themselves and provide relevant data at the touch of a button. Modern systems are designed to work best when they are part of a larger network, and that no longer requires thousands of pounds worth of investment in integrated systems. Ensuring your charity has the systems and applications in place and that information can flow and ultimately reduce costs through automation is key in building out your roadmap. Transformation in systems and information requires an understanding of your digital maturity.
Breaking new grounds
Once the foundations are in place, you can begin to take on new and emerging technologies and work with the art of the possible, developing your digital maturity as the organisation’s understanding and appetite for digital grows.
Any roadmap looking at the next 3 -5 years must consider the role of 3D printing, IoT and cognitive tools such as machine learning and AI to build intelligent ecosystems, automate activities and enable your data to work for you. Even with the very basic, plug-and-play machine learning solutions available today, you can scrape social media to find and thank people supporting your cause, target the right people with a campaign and build intelligent knowledge base resources through behaviour and sentiment analysis.
Taking the first step
The only way to really experience new technology is to see it, touch it and believe in it. Often the fear of the future and unknown of the digital world can prevent us from wanting to step forward and improve. Only by immersing ourselves in the possibilities of the future, experimenting and understanding what we can do can we really open our eyes to what is possible with technology and the implications of transformation.
Could we help you take the first step? To find out more about what we do and how we could help you use tech for good, contact us