This article was originally published in NTEN Change Magazine in June of 2015. What kind of challenge does your organization have supporting technology? Below are several scenarios to choose from: Little or no tech staff or tech leadership: We buy inexpensive computers and software and rely on consultants to set it up. Our IT support is outsourced: there is no technology plan or any staff training. We have a tech on staff who does their best to keep things running: no staff training, no technology planning. We have a tech on staff and an IT Director, but no technology plan: IT is swamped and not… Read More »Creating A Tech-Savvy Nonprofit Culture
This article originally appeared on the Exponent Partners blog on December 19th, 2014. It was written by Kerry Vineburg, based on a phone interview with me. EXPONENT PARTNERS SERIES: SMART PRACTICES Is your nonprofit thinking about implementing a large database project like Salesforce? Nonprofit and technology veteran Peter Campbell, CIO at Legal Services Corporation, recently shared his valuable insights on how to prepare your team and culture for long-term success. His organization, the top funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the country, is developing Salesforce as a data warehouse for their grantee information and document management. We asked Peter to tell us… Read More »13 Lessons On Building Your Nonprofit Technology Culture
This post was originally published on the MAP Techworks Blog in November of 2014. For a nonprofit that’s reached a size of 25 or more staff, a key question revolves around how to support technology that has grown from a few laptops and PCs to a full-blown network, with all of the maintenance and troubleshooting that such a beast requires. Should you hire internal IT staff or outsource to a more affordable vendor for that support? I’d say that the key question isn’t should you — that’s more a matter of finances and personal preferences. But what you outsource and how you go about it… Read More »Should You Outsource Your IT Department?
Photo: birgerking Tech support, as many of you know, can be a grueling job. There are a huge variety of problems, from frozen screens to document formatting issues to malware infestations to video display madness. There are days when you are swamped with tickets. And there are customers that continually broaden the scale from tech-averse to think-they-know-it-all. I’ve done tech support and I’ve managed tech support for most of my career, and providing good support isn’t the biggest challenge. Rather, it’s keeping the tech support staff from going over the edge. In our nptech circles, it would be natural to assume that having good metrics… Read More »Why I Hate Help Desk Metrics
This article was originally published on the Idealware Blog in February of 2011. There’s been a ton of talk over at the NTEN Blog this month about Accidental Techies. I had a few thoughts on the phenomenon. If you don’t know, Accidental Techie is an endearing and/or self effacing term for someone who signed up for a clerical, administrative or other general purpose position and wound up doing technical work. Many full-blown techies start their careers accidentally like this. The NTEN discussion has wonderfully run the gamut. Robert Weiner, a well-known NPTech consultant, started things rolling with “Going From Accidental Techie To Technology Leader“, a… Read More »Accidental Technology
I had big plans for another insightful, deep, break-down-the-walls-of-the-corporate-culture-that-diminishes-use-of-technology post today, but I think I’m gonna save it for a rainy day and write something a bit more useful, instead. I have a big nonprofit technology conference coming up this weekend, as you might, as well, and I think we should all be resting up for it.
Non Profit social media maven Beth Kanter blogged recently about starting up a residency at a large foundation, and finding herself in a stark transition from a consultant’s home office to a corporate network. This sounds like a great opportunity for corporate culture shock. When your job is to download many of the latest tools and try new things on the web that might inform your strategy or make a good topic for your blog, encountering locked-down desktops and web filtering can be, well, annoying is probably way to soft a word. Beth reports that the IT Team was ready for her, guessing that they’d be installing at least 72 things for her during her nine month stay. My question to Beth was, “That’s great – but are they just as accommodating to their full-time staff, or is flexibility reserved for visiting nptech dignitaries?”
If you’re in a job that involves supporting technology in any fashion, from web designer to CIO, then the odds are that you do help desk. Formally or not, people come to you with the questions, the “how do I attach a file to my email?”, the “what can I do? My screen is frozen”, the “I saved my document but I don’t know where”. Rank doesn’t spare you; openly admitting that you can do anything well with computers is equivalent to lifetime membership in the tech support club.
This article was originally published on the Idealware Blog in October of 2008. This is the final post in a three part series on Microsoft. Be sure to read Part 1, on the history/state of the Windows operating system, and Part 2, on developing for the Microsoft platform. Two More Stories – A Vicious Exchange In late 2006, I moved an organization of about 500 people from Novell Groupwise to Microsoft Exchange 2007. After evaluating the needs, I bought the standard edition, which supported message storageup to 16GB (Our Groupwise message base took up about 4GB). A few days after we completed the migration, which… Read More »Biting The Hand – Conclusion
Everybody who enjoys calling tech support, raise your hand. No one? As a long-time IT Director, who came up through the system administration ranks, I dread those situations where the deadline is near, the answer is far, and the only option is to call the company’s support line. Mind you, it’s never my first option – a well-phrased Google query, first sent to the web, then to Google Groups, is far more likely to get an answer quickly. And there are those application manuals, gathering dust – the best ones will have good indexes. Also, decent applications have online support forums, and the best ones… Read More »The $10/hr Dilemma