Doing A Quick Tech Plan

Many libraries have part time or accidental techies taking care of their technology. Is it any wonder that proper technology planning is something we have a hard time getting to? The problem is that it takes some tech planning to come up with a budget for the New Year. Here’s some resources for doing quick tech planning so you’ll have some money to work with in 2014.

Proper Tech Planning

By proper tech planning I mean the things that TechSoup for Libraries Technology Planning Cookbook talks about:

  • Pulling together a committee of stakeholders to serve on a planning committee  
  • Conducting a technology assessment and inventory of current software and hardware assets
  • Doing a draft technology plan or roadmap that integrates with your organization’s larger strategic plans
  • Conducting some total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis on projected new acquisitions
  • Finalize the technology plan with benefits and outcomes metrics
  • Based on your technology plan do technology budgeting for the coming year

This process takes months to do it well. But what if you don’t have a technology plan and have a just a couple weeks to come up with a technology budget?

Pressing Needs That Require Immediate Attention

You may well have pressing needs to budget for like upgrading from Windows XP and Office 2003 before April 2014 and getting newer IT equipment, for instance from TechSoup’s Refurbished Computer Initiative, that already has Windows 7 and Office 2010 installed.

Definitely, if you have the time, I recommend having a look at TechSoup for Library’s Six-Step Technology Planning Tool. If you don’t have much time, you might check out TechSoup donation partner, Mobile Beacon’s What's Involved in Technology Planning, which boils things down to three questions:

  1. What does your group plan to do with computers in the next few months?
  2. What can technology do for your organization now, six months from now, and a year from now?
  3. How do you currently use technology? Dig into all the details: does everyone have access to the information they need, when they need it? What type of device is most practical — computer, tablet, or smartphone?

How to Conduct a Quick Tech Plan

Mobile Beacon’s second post in this series How to Conduct a Technology Assessment is equally to-the-point. The really essential things to do are to:

  1. Create a Technology Asset Inventory to figure out what technology you already have
  2. Determine Your Organization’s Future Needs
  3. Estimate how much money you have to meet future needs especially in the immediate future

Mobile Beacon’s final post in the series, Preparing for Disaster talks about how to integrate your technology plan into a disaster preparation strategy. That’s certainly a seriously useful thing to do but additional to the budgeting process. TechSoup also offers a free eBook, The Resilient Organization: A Guide for Disaster Planning and Recovery when you need to take this additional step.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that include templates and examples of inventories, tech budget worksheets and other essentials:

Images: Mobile Beacon