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If your association is like most small to mid-sized organizations, the forewarned wave of technological advancement left you feeling abandoned and behind the eight ball. Either you were left with sunk IT costs or an outdated IT framework that made it difficult to realign your programmatic efforts.
Although, the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society was ahead of the curve in many aspects, we weren’t immune to the impact of these technological advancements.
In June 2012, RAPS, after careful review of its strategic plan, held a two-day staff technology summit. The purpose of the summit was to address a number of internal issues and to properly align our technology systems with our core business models. We identified the following as critical areas that required our immediate attention and focus:
– development of an overarching plan for technology integration
– a clear plan for change management to address the shifting IT priorities
– data integrity and reporting issues
– a clearly outlined plan for disaster recovery and business operations
– IT staff alignment
– greater clarity about IT priorities and platforms among the management team
– reconsideration of vendor partnerships.
As administrators, we often address these challenges as individual issues, when in fact, they frequently overlap. The birth of the RAPS technology summit happened when I invited thought leaders from my professional inner circle to the table, in the hopes of identifying, along with the RAPS stakeholders, a common approach to resolving RAPS core technology issues. I had no idea how this would be received by the team. To my surprise, my colleagues were more than willing to come together to discuss how best to align RAPS resources and establish a strategic technological direction.
We were extremely fortunate that the key presenter for the summit, took this a step further and volunteered to facilitate the discussion in addition to identifying other speakers that could add value, through their expertise, to the strategic conversation. At the summit, we not only addressed the above issues, but elevated the discussion to include other areas, such as:
– global IT frameworks – protections, usability, and security
– disaster recovery and business continuity
– Web usability
– AMS trends
– latest trends in e-learning both conceptual and platforms
– business process improvements and technological implications
– hosting vs. cloud based technologies (when, where, why, how); and
– general technology trends.
We are now a few months past the summit and as a result, have developed a comprehensive technology strategic plan that has been extremely beneficial in aligning resources and rallying the support of the senior management team. In addition to the plan, we have a visual framework that has helped keep the staff aligned as they make every day decisions. We have made a number of other strategic decisions that we can all support now that we have clear direction and buy-in.
A special thanks to my colleagues that participated in the summit and to the hard working team in accomplishing a major goal.
Smith is SVP at Regulatory Affairs Professional Society, Washington. Contact her at email@example.com.