One of the difficulties of embracing digital ways of working within charities is the struggle of implementing IT systems.
Let us start by acknowledging that all change projects are difficult, there is no denying it.
But every year IT systems are implemented across the country with success. So, why do many charities struggle when it comes to getting a handle on projects? We believe that it comes down to three major things:
- Not understanding current ways of working
- No clear end goal
- Lack of digital skills
Not Understanding Current Ways of Working
It is easy to believe that implementing an IT system goes wrong once the actual implementation stage begins. But the difference between success and failure starts much earlier than people realise.
Failure often begins when it comes to the selection phase for software. By not taking the time to fully investigate current ways of working, it leads to gaps in understanding of what is needed from an IT system.
Only once the system is installed and running does this become apparent though. Team members find they don’t have the tools required to carry out their job. Or management realise they no longer have access to a key reporting function, hurting their ability to make informed decisions.
This can be avoided by mapping out how people do their jobs – what we call an “As Is” Blueprint. This allows you to map out how people are doing their jobs and what functionality you need from any IT system, ensuring you can relay this to vendors.
No Clear End Goal
Sometimes charities are forced to upgrade their IT systems due to ageing technology or the ending of support. This can lead to an urgency to get a new system and plug the gap left by the old one without thinking about the end goal.
Implementing IT systems this quickly leaves a lot of potential benefits on the table though.
That’s why we guide clients through a “To Be” exercise, so they know what their future should look like. Take the time to understand what options you have, what the best industry solutions are, and then tailor them to deliver the best result for your charity.
This ensures everyone knows what they are aiming to achieve and what good looks like when implementing the IT system.
Are you a Carista Information System user who is worried about support potentially ending? Then get in touch with us to discover how we can help
Lack of Digital Skills
As we seen in the recently released Charity Digital Skills report, the sector struggles when it comes to digital skills. This can have a real impact on the ability to implement IT systems in charities successfully for a variety of reasons.
A lack of digital understanding in board members makes it much harder to get the support required to deliver a meaningful change project. This can lead to lower budgets and timeframes, which can cause the first two points in this article.
Team members lacking digital can make it difficult for them to understand the benefit of a new system, leading to resistance to change. You don’t want your team to fear change as they won’t embrace it, leading to underutilisation and low morale during the implementation phase.
Now you know some of the common reasons that make implementing IT systems a struggle for charities you can take the steps needed to avoid them. And if you need any help with selecting, implementing, or optimising IT systems, then be sure to get in contact with our expert team.