Are Associations Thinking About Tech All Wrong?
Remember when working in IT felt kinda like being an order taker at McDonald’s? Bisnow’s Association Technology Strategies panel yesterday in Crystal City says those days are over. CIOs and IT teams now play a major role in business strategy. (So no, you won’t hold the lettuce?)
Association tech strategies should be planned alongside the long-term business plan, so IT departments need to think like business consultants. ORI strategy and insight director John Kagia says one problem is “institutional myopia.” Organizations make assumptions about how their members are interacting with the association based on historical patterns. One of ORI’s association clients thought its online info was getting the most views from younger members. But ORI’s analysis found it was the CEOs engaging with it the most. DelCor president David Coriale says associations shouldn’t ask how they should digitize their publications but whether they should even have publications. The next generation, growing up in a digital world, will fast forward through anything not relevant to them.
American Council on Education CIO Kara Freeman says the role of the association CIO and IT staff is to work with each department on tech. Her organization tracks where people are clicking on its website, how long they’re spending on certain pages, and reports back to each relevant department. She’s also a big fan of having IT teams who are project managers and business analysts rather than just tech experts. That way they’re thinking of tech as part of the overall strategy.
Association of Fundraising Professionals CIO Prabhash Shrestha (left) says talking publicly about the association’s tech plans and strategies is important. If it’s a three-year plan, put it on paper, along with the objectives for each year. He also says associations need to focus on systems that integrate all kinds of software. American Urological Association associate executive director David DeLorenzo adds that associations need to think of technology as data focused. Collect data and make it actionable along with the business objective of the overall organization.
HighRoad Solution Co-founder/CTO Ron McGrath says associations can drive revenue and create new customers by adapting to the way people shop. Even a simple download of a white paper from an association’s website can turn the person who did the downloading into a member. Using existing content can drive people to the site to create new customers. Our panel was moderated by ASAE CIO Reggie Henry and his iPad.