Do you need a CIO?

(Hint: YES!)

What is the job of a CIO, exactly? Chief Information Officer. Isn’t that just IT?

Well, yes. And, no.

A CIO has many roles in an organization. IT is one role— understanding computer systems, networking, SaaS, security, standards, etc., has to be in a CIO’s wheelhouse. However, a CIO has to be able to understand and articulate the context of these systems. What do they do for our organization? How are they used? And most importantly, why are we using them?

CIOs manage IT resources and IT-related business resources. Policy preparation, strategic business planning, budgeting, resourcing, training, security, expenditures, damage control, project management— all come under the purview of a CIO, and that CIO has to be able to communicate in a human language to all sorts of people, technical and non-technical, staff, Board, vendors, executives, and members.

In essence, the CIO is the bridge between the technical and business aspects of an organization’s IT requirements. And, yes, you need one!

Well, I don’t have anyone on staff who can fill that position,” you might say.  There are alternatives to hiring an FTE CIO. Outsourcing the CIO function is a popular option.  designDATA offers “fractional” CIO consulting services, bringing our consultants’ expertise and years of association management to the task on an ongoing retainer basis. We work with your organization to identify your IT-related business needs. Big IT questions and small ones, we can help you make decisions around how best to achieve the best results.

Contact for more info.

Why Look for Trouble? Doing a Technology Gap Review

“But I’ve got managed IT services, a great help desk, and my servers are safely in the private cloud. Why would I need to do a Technology Gap Review?”

It’s a good question.  And the answer is another question:  Now that you’ve got your infrastructure all taken care of with designDATA’s help, what about the 43 other pieces of software you’re using to manage your organization? Are they all serving your mission and supporting your goals?

A Technology Gap Review takes a look at how you do business using technology. Not which buttons you push, but what pieces of software you use and how you use them.  Typically, after a review, you see surprises (or not!) such as:

  • Staff are not using the Association Management System (AMS) or CRM to its full functionality— probably because they haven’t been properly trained or retrained.
  • A lot of people have data important to the organization stored in spreadsheets—only.
  • Different departments are using different software to complete the same function, i.e., Constant Contact, Real Magnet, and MailChimp for broadcast emails— and you’re paying for all three.
  • Everybody has their own place to store documents outside the system, like DropBox, or, OneDrive, etc.— which means the organization has no control over them.
  • Someone is manually creating invoices in Word because they can’t get what they need out of a system— and these are not tracked in any automated system until payment is received.

You may suspect all of the above and more. A Technology Gap Review gives you an opportunity to confirm this and discover other gaps.  Steps in a review should include:

  • Interviews with staff in all functional areas of the organization.
  • Documentation of how business is conducted and what is being used to get the job done.
  • Documented full system inventory of what software the organization is using, how and why.

Once you know what you’re dealing with, you are in a better place to decide how to improve performance and function to support your organization’s mission.


designDATA offers Technology Gap Review and CIO Consulting to help your organization with this truly useful exercise. The designDATA Consulting Team is made up of former association/non-profit executives and managers who have been “in the trenches” and understand the unique challenges faced in the industry. We can help you with the process and documentation, and together we can construct a set of recommendations for your organization to move ahead with improvements to functionality.

Contact today for more information, and be sure to ask about how else your designDATA Consulting Team can help you with business management IT issues.