Where are you now?
Start with a general overview of your current situation, then dig deeper into the issues most relevant to you.
Calling a team meeting may be the best way to get the planning process started. You could draft something before involving others and use the meeting to get feedback and ideas. A steering group can then be identified to consider issues that you uncover and to lead the planning process.
It’s not just about computers
Looking for information for your ICT plan may reveal broader problems in your organisation:
- Do you know where licences and warranties are kept? If not you have an asset management problem.
- If your team’s work is held up because your friendly ICT volunteer only pops in sporadically, then you have a resource problem.
- If your ICT person holds on to important passwords and other information, you have a staff or volunteer management problem.
Even a quick review can bring these problems to the surface and you may find that many can be fixed quickly and easily.
DIY ICT health check
Carry out a short review of your current situation. Record the views of people involved in using and supporting your current ICT.
A DIY health check offers a place to start and includes issues that you may not associate directly with your current ICT resources. It's an overview, not a detailed plan, designed to get you thinking about what you've got and what it's for.
This is a good time to work out where to get help. You may want technical insights, or it may bea good chance to catch up with someone from a similarsized organisation and see how they deal with their ICT. You may know someone you can have a chat with to ask the questions you dare not ask in meetings, or pick up some bright ideas.
Dig a little deeper
Look for detailed information about key issues and identify what needs to happen next to solve known problems.
A basic ICT health check is a quick and easy way of getting your thoughts down and getting people involved in the planning process, but it could well raise as many questions as answers. No matter how large or small your organisation, you'll need to pull together more detailed information on key issues.
To get a more in-depth picture of where you are, you’ll need the following:
- an audit of all your ICT equipment:
- software version number and licence numbers – which should be kept in a secure, fireproof place for insurance purposes, preferably offsite;
- lists of passwords and permissions – kept safe and backed up off site;
- model, make and serial numbers of PCs, screens, printers, cameras, scanners, external drives,etc; these are needed for your insurance schedule – copy and keep offsite.
- an ICT training needs survey;
- the latest ICT strategy (if there is one);
- any current business plans that include ICT in some way;
- any current project plans that relate to ICT use;
- feedback from staff, volunteers, service users, partners, suppliers and support organisations about your current ICT systems and possible improvements;
- a detailed review of your organisation’s current strengths and weaknesses, especially in relation to management and support of ICT;
- a review of any new ideas and current thinking about non-profit use of ICT.
If you’re already well organised, many of the items in this list will be easy to achieve. If not, then this may indicate specific areas to be addressed by your ICT plan.
One motivation for digging a little deeper is that it can uncover easily solved problems and so pay dividends straight away. It will draw in other people and gather their views on what to do next.
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