Friday, May 26, 2017

Grow Your Business While Avoiding Technology Takeover

Whether you’re doing a complete overhaul or minor tweaks, improving your business performance is rarely a simple task. You have to consider how people, process, budget, strategy, and technology fit together. In this day and age there are a lot of software options that can perform the tasks you need completed, but the approach you take to find the solution that truly fits with your business and unique process is critical. It’s easy to let technology define your business strategy and performance, but don’t let it take over!

At DPT, we believe that people and process should always come first in improving performance. Technology selection and implementation should follow. That sounds simple, but how do you get started?

Our five part series, Grow Your Business While Avoiding Technology Takeover, will walk you through the common pitfalls businesses experience while implementing technology and driving business performance. We’ll also provide strategies to avoid them. It’s obvious that technology will always be a part of your business, and we’ll help you find an ideal way to integrate it.

 

One Size Fits All: Standardize Your Business Process to Grow the Top Line

 

If you’re ready to grow your business and improve performance while avoiding tech takeover, contact us. We’re always happy to have a conversation.

Published in News
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 00:00

Getting More Bang for Your Donation Buck!

Invest in Nonprofit Capacity Building & Technical Assistance.

Everyone wants their donation to make a big impact when they give to a nonprofit. They want as much of it as possible to go to the cause the nonprofit is championing, but a lot of people overlook the daily operational costs that need to be offset. In an attempt to better serve their cause, many nonprofits delay investing in internal process automation improvements, and they end up working with slow, outdated systems.

Thankfully, Kent County’s Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund (NPTA) is trying to change that. Four times a year, they provide grants to qualified nonprofits around the Grand Rapids area so they can invest in capacity building and technical assistance.

As an approved supplier, we’ve worked with several recipients before and have seen the transformative effect these investments can have. For example, digitizing and consolidating a team’s paper files and multitudes of spreadsheets to a single data source of truth is a huge undertaking. It’s easy to put off again and again because of its expense and time commitment, but, in the long run, having a modern yet flexible solution like CRM will make it easier to serve more people and extend outreach.

To put it simply: improving a nonprofit’s process and technology will save them a lot of time and money that can be reinvested into the people they’re serving. Access to community funds is a huge help in jump-starting the process. If that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is.

So congratulations to this year’s recipients! We wish you the best.

If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your nonprofit, don’t hesitate to contact us. Or get more details on how to apply for a NPTA grant by checking out our blog post How to Get Community Funds to Help Nonprofits Leverage New Technology.

Published in News

Spring cleaning can be a springboard for the rest of the year.

It’s that time of year again! Dust off the strategic plan, sharpen the tools, oil the machine!

Haven’t we all seen so many plans and spring cleaning initiatives for businesses and organizations fall into the same pattern? It’s like going to the garage to plan and prepare for the growing season. “This should only take a couple hours.” But it doesn’t. It always takes longer and doesn’t always produce the best results.

But not this year! Not in 2017!

Let’s make it happen every day, every week, and every month this spring and all year long. By implementing consistent and constant Project Leadership, we can.

What would the outcome be if our spring cleaning had a charter to help us manage factors like integration, risk, and quality? It could include the cost of cleaning supplies, the time demanded for each task, and the scope of what needs to be cleared out, cleaned, or repaired. What would we end up with?

A project -- complete with the framework, processes, and project management expertise necessary for success. Maybe by turning our spring cleaning into projects we could clear the way and provide our people with all the tools--and Project Leadership--needed to drive our efforts to realities. Project Leadership is not the equivalent of Project Management. Project Management focuses on four areas when managing complex projects:

  • Managing the Technical aspects of the project
  • Managing all the Resources of the project
  • Managing the Project Framework and Project Lifecycle in its entirety
  • Managing to meet the Business Requirements for Leadership and Project Sponsors

Project Leadership focuses on creating the environment to keep all these in balance, enabling Project Managers to be successful in delivering a successful project.

 

The Role and Skills of the Project Leader

We’re living in the Knowledge Age where ideas are the new capital and massive amounts of information are hitting us at light-speed. Distraction is almost inevitable. Project Leaders work around this by guiding conversation to keep the focus on broad situations, not individual tasks. They help specify the “What” while empowering the team to identify and manage the “How.”

  • Project Leaders write the vision by setting the “Why” and the “What” in order to establish the strategy, goals, and milestones.
  • Project Leaders support the project team as they set the “How” in order to establish the most effective path to deliver the project.
  • Project Leaders engage their teams in conversation to internalize a story, enabling them to implement and adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

 

Getting Started with Project Leadership

One of the founding fathers of Total Quality Management, W. Edwards Deming, brought us the System of Profound Knowledge® with the belief that profound knowledge generally comes from outside the system--that the system cannot see itself in whole. Project Leadership is often enhanced, improved, and sometimes accelerated with capable talent and resources from outside the department or organization. Outside experts can help ensure:

  • Complex projects and programs are guided to success
  • The right people are doing the right work
  • Focus and vision are clear the whole way

 

Start Today

Start making your plan for spring cleaning today while you’re in the mood. This will be sure to set the stage for transforming your Cleaning into Projects and establishing the vision and the framework. Start building your awesome and highly capable project teams now to start the process of writing the charter to kick off the season and transform your Projects into Realities.

 

In Conclusion

Schedule a Reality Celebration for one year from today and repeat!

Check out our Twitter and LinkedIn for more information. You can also contact us. We’d love to have a conversation.

Published in News

Plandocheckadjust

The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take… strategy eats technology for breakfast.

Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions. To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.

Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While resolving that need may be important, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations.

In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.

If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.

When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.

Below are just some of the key elements to a foundational approach in building sustainable technology applications to help drive your strategic business initiatives.

 

  • Slow down. Don’t make impulse decisions. Take the time to understand the strategic business initiatives. Interview key shareholders and stakeholders throughout the organization to increase visibility and alignment between each area of the business. Listen to the unique requirements and pain-points they have. Key stakeholders will appreciate being involved in the chartering process.
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  • Review Recommendations. Once you have put a high-level framework around the solution requirements, reconvene with the key stakeholders to discuss recommendations. These recommendations should be ranked and prioritized based on critical success factors to achieving your business goals. Ensure a solution is tailored to your business and workflow by focusing the discussion around people, process, and technology applications.
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  • Create a Detailed Project Plan. Once the requirements and goals are firmly documented, understood, and signed-off on, proceed with a detailed project plan. If possible, it is always wise to involve Project Management Professionals (PMP) to guide the entire process. While key team members often hold intimate knowledge in key areas, a project manager will help ensure these subject matter experts are pulling the rope in the same direction.

 

The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid problems down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives. We’d be happy to help.

Check out our Twitter and LinkedIn for more information. You can also contact us. We’d love to have a conversation.

Published in News

 

Want to leverage new technology in 2016 but can’t find the cash in your budget to make it happen? Whether its organizing all of your “siloed” databases, or better coordination of communication to all of your constituents, this is a common struggle for nonprofits. Fortunately, Kent County-based nonprofits have a great option to help.

How to get community funds to help nonprofits leverage new technology

DPT is proud to be an approved supplier for the Kent County Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund (NPTA) to help nonprofits grow through constituent relationship management, streamlining processes, and project leadership. We have worked with many West Michigan nonprofits to help them serve more people, expand their outreach, and better manage all of their key relationships instead of just with donors. We do this by implementing the right strategies to help them gain efficiencies and become more effective at how they serve – click here to read more about our work with nonprofits.

What NPTA does

The NPTA is a collaborative program designed to address the need for capacity building and technical assistance among nonprofits in Kent County. Grants of up to $10,000 are available from the NPTA Fund to help pay for consulting services. It is expected that the improvements funded by the NPTA Fund will result in a higher level of capacity, which will, in turn, contribute to a higher, sustainable level of community service to residents of Kent County.

Who can apply

Nonprofits based in and serving Kent County with a budget between $50k-$2M that have been operating for a minimum of two years can apply to the NPTA fund. To see a more detailed list of eligibility requirements, please visit the NPTA website.

How it works

  1. Nonprofits define their scope of work and solicit two quotes/estimates from NPTA approved consultants
  2. Nonprofits apply to receive funds with a specific NPTA approved consultant and scope of work
  3. Applications are reviewed and approved quarterly, including options for full or partial funding

As an experienced nonprofit services provider we can assist you with leveraging technology to improve your performance and ultimately, further your mission. While we have many clients we can reference, click here to view video case studies from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Baxter Community Center.  We are also an approved NPTA vendor and can provide guidance for you regarding the NPTA process.

Whether you’d like to know more about how you can improve your nonprofit, or how to apply for a grant, contact us to get started.

 

Published in News