Infrastructure and technology needs assessments
Understanding the technologies and telecommunications infrastructure that are needed to support staff and patrons is a critical piece of crafting a technology plan. These needs help to define the goals and objectives of the plan and every organization should understand what resources will be needed to fill the expectations of patrons and staff.
An important step in defining an organization’s technology needs is a review of the overall vision for the organization’s technology. This is often best accomplished by referring to the organization’s technology needs analysis survey. (If a Technology Plan has not yet been developed, then it should be!) The technology needs analysis will detail what resources already exist and what is planned for the future. Planners can then coordinate all decision-making with other long range planning, generally leading to results that provide far more benefits to the organization than a series of independent functional needs assessment plans.
One common needs assessment error is the assumption that only a technology expert can conduct a thorough needs assessment. On the contrary, the needs assessment isn’t about technology; it is about what the organization does, what more it needs to do, and how additional or newer technology can help to achieve its goals. It’s really a business needs analysis. As such, individuals involved in the daily operations of an organization are the only ones who can define task requirements—after all, they are the ones who are most familiar with their organization’s functions, current needs, and future goals.
However, to enrich the staff’s perspective, it makes sense to involve a technology expert during the needs assessment process, but the role of this team member is not to guide decision-making. Rather, the expert should serve as a resource who can explain the possibilities and limitations of technology as they become relevant to discussions. They also act as a impartial party in keeping focus on the needs of the business, eliminating disputes or keeping focus on the processes and technology available within the scope of the business.
Once information has been gathered, it must be reviewed to identify specific needs and determine which are most important for the technology initiative or a functional needs assessment. First, planners must extract the key nuggets-those statements of discrete, separate needs, a needs gap analysis, each of which can be assessed and addressed. Ideally, multiple participants will cite the same or similar needs. Remember, at this point there is no need to think about how the technology solution actually will work; instead focusing on what the participants need and want to be able to do. This would be the user needs analysis.
Identifying the necessary technology needs to meet customer business and technology requirements is only half the battle. To successfully capitalize on the work completed in the Technology Needs Analysis , it must be implemented successfully. Praecom Consulting is uniquely qualified to assist a client in this endeavor. We have documented success in not only identifying needs, but in managing the procurement and implementing the systems and procedures to address those needs.
To have us begin your information technology needs analysis Contact us today!