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(2003) The Puzzle of Technology: Closing the Gap between Promise and Reality

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(April 2003) Presentation on how one can successfully plan and implement new processes and organizational change. Northwest College (Wyoming) and its experience of researching an institutional Web identity served as a backdrop for this presentation.

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(2003) The Puzzle of Technology: Closing the Gap between Promise and Reality

  1. 1. The Puzzle of Technology: Closing the Gap Between Promise and Reality Devendra Shrikhande Web Manager Northwest College
  2. 2. Discuss opinions gleaned from Northwest College’s experience in Web presence redesign The nuts and bolts of delivering change
  3. 3. The small type i.e. disclaimer For a complex issue not all solutions are universal Universal Rule: Edit and Adapt! Apples, Oranges and Shoes
  4. 4. Name the 800 lb. invisible gorilla in every organization
  5. 5. Organizational Culture Written and unwritten rules that shape and reflect the way an organization operates. Invisible: No one addresses it directly Gorilla : Shapes processes and therefore results   The Nonprofit Good Practice Guide http://www.nonprofitbasics.org/
  6. 6. Northwest College <ul><li>2-year school with a residential campus </li></ul><ul><li>Student body of around 1,700 (FTE 1100) </li></ul><ul><li>Located in Northwest Wyoming (rural area) </li></ul><ul><li>Strong tradition of transferring students to 4-year schools </li></ul><ul><li>Advantage: NWC can shape itself </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage: Stagnancy </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Web Site <ul><li>1999 First version. Outsourced to a vendor </li></ul><ul><li>2001 Moved in-house with faculty as developer </li></ul><ul><li>Many parties involved in the Web presence </li></ul><ul><li>WebCT, Datatel, individual program servers </li></ul>
  8. 8. Develop and maintain a Web presence that accurately represents the institution and helps deliver institutional goals. All this by an Army of one.
  9. 9. The Candidate Background in Engineering-Communications-Business
  10. 10. Suggested Solution Go dynamic! Introduce database driven applications
  11. 11. Organizational Culture Written and unwritten rules that shape and reflect the way an organization really operates. Important to understand to audit current processes.
  12. 12. Northwest Site Survey <ul><li>The Good </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient informational breadth - no obvious gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Some staff had developed basic familiarity with Web processes </li></ul><ul><li>The Bad </li></ul><ul><li>With processes in place established culture </li></ul><ul><li>And therefore habits would need to change </li></ul><ul><li>Web site is the caboose in the communication chain </li></ul><ul><li>The Ugly </li></ul><ul><li>Static = a monster to maintain </li></ul><ul><li>Site Structure, content replicated the institutional approach </li></ul><ul><li>Old URL: </li></ul><ul><li>http://nwc.cc.wy.us/general/welcome.htm </li></ul>
  13. 13. Importance of culture and self-understanding. Web presence is not a static identity but a culmination of organizational processes. Your background shapes your approach.
  14. 14. No comprehensive presence of database-driven applications Therefore college needs to understand it faces wholesale change and a learning curve
  15. 15. Useful Principles <ul><li>Successful participation across organizational layers </li></ul><ul><li>Fit </li></ul><ul><li>Project Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a process structure- Policy </li></ul><ul><li>(Some) resistance is inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship Development </li></ul><ul><li>Project Implementation (Multi-task) </li></ul><ul><li>Split focus </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Follow Up </li></ul><ul><li>Change Indicators </li></ul>
  16. 16. 1- The cross-currents of success Strategic Success starts from the top down Operational Success flows the other way NWC: Administration participates in policy, frontline assists application design
  17. 17. 2- Fit is important. “If it doesn’t fit – they will quit!” Applications that do not fit institutional operational processes are ignored If unused, resource value is lost Monday Morning/Friday Afternoon rule: easy to use. NWC: Online Staff Directory: Adjunct Faculty and Instruction office will be introduced in Staff Directory version 2.0
  18. 18. 3- Project Planning Audience Focus vs. Organizational structure Result  Audience focus Process for Result  Respect Institutional structure NWC: Check with Divisions to determine who is responsible before assigning tasks. Keep appropriate levels within the Division informed of task assignments.
  19. 19. 4- Web Management Policies & Processes More than a do’s & don’ts document Understand Relationships and Engage Administration NWC: 3 Sections- 1- Web Components 2- Web Participants 3- Web Processes http://www.northwestcollege.edu/Intranet/admin.cfm
  20. 20. 5- Resistance might not be futile But neither is it totally avoidable The Borg can dominate and force change, we cannot The enemy is Resistance not the people. Resistance is usually based on: 1- Adding to the work load 2- Need to learn something new 3- Attitude
  21. 21. Understand the real process Learn the what, how and why of their activity Bring them into the development process NWC: Met with the phone operator for the directory, applications assistant for the online application process 6- Building Relationships Engaging Frontline Staff reduces resistance Photography: Identify with the subjects Same with the Web.
  22. 22. 7- Implementing your projects Multi-task across priorities/institution People-Projects move at different speeds. NWC: Started discussions and parameter alignments for online applications well before the staff directory was launched. At that time started relationship development within Instructional area. Now onto scholarship staff and residential life…
  23. 23. 8- Maintain a split-focus Address the immediate with an eye on the future Sequence projects to build on each other NWC: Delivered online staff directory, foundation for intranet administration Will introduce adjunct faculty listing now that online directory is a part of the process
  24. 24. 9- Build ownership on the site Creating owners delivers champions Consider this internal viral marketing NWC: Recognize cross-functional participation and always mention others involved and future administrators within internal launch alerts
  25. 25. 10- Training Tough as we are not professional trainers Project is “completed”, focus is on next project Training important as it instills confidence Starts when you involve them in the design process NWC: Conduct the training at their station. If appropriate also deliver some helpful tips that help make it even easier using the web (bookmark, opening another window, etc.)
  26. 26. 11- Follow up Maintain communication after launch, fix bugs and develop upgrade list Follow up exemplifies commitment NWC: Modified email alert of the online application to deliver additional information and additional staff accommodate for change.
  27. 27. 12- Change Indicators Tools that send subtle signals of change They help people adjust thought processes, change habits and adapt NWC: Creating a Lexicon http://www.northwestcollege.edu/lexicon/
  28. 28. In Summation <ul><li>Understand Yourself- Organizational Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Fit is important and delivers true value for change </li></ul><ul><li>Seek to understand processes before you change them </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships, involve across the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Balance short term needs with long term priorities </li></ul>
  29. 29. Thank You! & ????? [email_address] www.hasth.com/dss

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