Technology for social justice

The importance of IT planning

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When a computer system fails or a piece of equipment breaks, productivity in an organisation may come to a halt. In many organisations you may find an "accidental techie", the default troubleshooter or tech-savvy person that staff go to when they encounter a technical problem. The accidental techie may be someone who started off helping colleagues to use the printer and ended up assisting with internet connectivity issues and lost files.

The reality of the digital age means that most community organisations are already engaging with technology, often with little training or support. As staff and financial resources are directed more specifically into projects aimed at achieving the organisation’s mission, IT planning may not be high up on an organisation’s priority list.

The accidental techie may have been a great help within the organisation, but the lack of long-term organisational IT planning means that technology issues are only dealt with in a reactionary manner. In the attempt to keep computer downtime low and productivity levels up, the accidental techie is stretched between their core work and their unofficial duties. Management can assist staff with these issues by recognising the need to invest in integrated IT planning, training and support.

In research commissioned by the Department of Human Services, Infoxchange audited 120 small to medium community sector organisations and found that 84 percent of organisations did not have an IT development plan. Findings like this highlight the importance of ensuring community service organisations become more IT savvy.

The accidental techie scenario can point to a short-sightedness in an organisations business plan. Organisations may often be under financial strain, but by addressing IT issues and ensuring planning and development measures are in place an organisation can increase their digital proficiency, and as a consequence their productivity.

One of the 2011-2012 Regional Telecommunications Review recommendations is that "not-for-profit organisations would benefit from support to strengthen their digital literacy capabilities and help them work together to develop local strategies to take advantage of the digital economy".

Infoxchange has been providing IT support to the not-for-profit sector for over two decades. Our consultants assist organisations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery with IT consultancy, management, infrastructure, support and helpdesk services. 

There are many tangible benefits to implementing an IT plan. The cost savings in time, reduced travel and the immediate benefit to clients in terms of increased reach and access to specialist services were some of the benefits of IT planning noted by Marianne Hubbard, CEO of Pinarc Disability Support.

The not-for-profit sector makes up a large segment of our economy and if Australia is to be a digital leader, it is essential that IT planning is supported and developed in the sector. Implementing a successful ICT plan requires a long-term approach that links with an organisation’s strategic plan and future directions. Organisations of all size can benefit from technology and grow their digital proficiency through collaboration, IT planning and knowledge sharing.

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Filed in: IT advice | Tagged as: IT planning

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