Nonprofit Digital Transformation Is a Team Sport
Digital transformation is radically changing the way we work and live. Every day, each of us is using digital capabilities that wouldn’t have been possible a decade, or even five years ago, whether it’s managing our money through mobile banking or accessing and acting on information with our smartphones. These new innovations are dramatically transforming how we work, which, in turn, is transforming the outcomes that are possible.
An example from my own organization: When I first came on board as president and CEO of Blackbaud, I would ask our head of human resources for the current organization chart for a part of the company.
He would assign this task to someone who would update an organization chart or create a new one, sifting through lots of data to build it. And, as soon as that organization chart was handed to me, it was already outdated because somebody joined the company, got promoted or changed jobs.
But today, our entire organization is on one HR system, and I can access all of it from my phone. The real power here is how this helps us take down silos and move more quickly. This digital access means that my team and I are able to spend our time on higher value activities, rather than updating versions of an organization chart, which, ultimately, helps us better serve our customers.
So much manual work has been eliminated by this kind of technology — freeing employees’ time up to focus on the most critical aspects of their work, which enables higher value outcomes and greater scale of impact.
And there’s no other community where higher value outcomes and greater scale of impact matter more than the social good community. Your organization is likely responding to increasing demand for transparency, growing needs for your services, new stakeholder expectations and the need to deliver at scale — all challenges that digital transformation can help you address.
But an organization’s successful digital transformation requires more than just new technology. True digital transformation needs to be about moving the entire organization in a different direction. That might sound overwhelming — where do you begin and whose job is it, anyway?
Many organizations get caught in the trap of thinking it’s the IT department’s job to drive this type of digital transformation — it’s all about the technology, right? While IT has a very important role in creating digital transformation, the driving force needs to be executive leadership — all executive leadership — starting with your chief executive.
In order to truly achieve transformation, you have to change the entire organization. This requires reexamining the ways in which things are done from the highest level. The ability to look at the entire organization and realign it to the mission is critical. Leaders must take ownership of this process and embed it through their organization. People, process and culture are all necessary parts of a successful digital transformation.
Getting back to the technology part of achieving digital transformation — the IT team plays a really important role in helping the organization think about what’s possible using technology. And, through the transformation process, they now have the time to do so. With less time required for managing hardware and older technology, the IT team is freed up to be a strong partner for the rest of the organization. They can bridge the gap between technology and the actual business, which, in turn, helps to drive the mission forward.
Digital transformation must be an organization-
wide priority, with all teams sharing goals and partnering to take the organization to the next level.
As your organization is considering your next steps in digitally transforming, consider the following questions:
- How can you use technology to catalyze the impact of each individual at your organization? How can you decrease manual steps so that time can be spent on the highest value activities?
- How can you use technology to drive radical collaboration — whether that’s removing internal silos, taking down feedback barriers or more effectively working alongside others.
- How can you use technology to unleash the power of data? Are you putting information in the hands of those who need it? Do you have the tools and process to transform information into insight?
Your answers to these questions can provide a guide to your leadership team on what your organization’s digital transformation priorities should be. It will take all of you!
Editor's Note: This Techtalk column was originally published in the November/December issue of NonProfit PRO. Click here to read the full article.
As president and CEO of Blackbaud, a Fortune Change the World company and repeat Forbes Most Innovative Growth Company, Mike Gianoni focuses on delivering unmatched value and cloud innovation to organizations that make the world a better place. Under his leadership as a top 50 SaaS CEO, Blackbaud is now the 18th largest vendor worldwide in SaaS applications revenue, as ranked by IDC, and is building a new legacy that reaches far beyond its position as the leading cloud software company powering social good—a legacy that puts customers first every time, connects them in unique ways, and puts information and innovation in their hands at a level of quality and speed that no other vendor can provide.
An experienced IT services executive, Mike’s interest in technology was sparked in high school when he took his first engineering class. Today, with degrees in both engineering and business—as well as an MBA and Honorary Doctorate from the University of New Haven—Mike has a successful track record of strong operational management of IT businesses that deliver value for customers, shareholders and employees, and is an advocate for corporate cultures that encourage employees to thrive professionally and personally while accomplishing strong top-line growth.
Mike joined Blackbaud from Fiserv, Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions, where he was executive vice president and group president of the Financial Institutions Group. Previously, he was president of Fiserv’s Investment Services division, executive vice president and general manager of CheckFree Investment Services, and the leader of numerous divisions at DST, where he focused on developing new platforms and ensuring stronger operational controls.
A first-generation American with a passion for veterans’ initiatives, animal welfare (especially dogs), and exploring the U.S. coastline either by sailboat or motorcycle, Mike currently serves on the board of directors for Teradata as well as the International African American Museum and is a former member of the board of directors for LibertyHealth System (New Jersey), the American Red Cross Southeast County (Massachusetts) and the University of New Haven.