Projects – should we roll up our sleeves and carry on?

27 Aug 2020

By: David Hart

Change / COVID-19 / CRM / Data / Membership Associations / Procurement / Professional Membership Sector / Project Management / Transformation / Transformation Reality Check / Uncategorised

Digital Transformation Post-Covid – What Projects Should Organisations Be Doing Now?

What projects are membership organisations going to be doing over the next year as we adjust to the post-Covid paradigm?  So far this year we haven’t seen a significant drop in IT projects.  Those that were initiated before Covid-19 hit have continued, sometimes we’ve slowed down or changed focus, but largely people have carried on with what they’ve started.

I suspect we are likely to see a big change very soon though.  Thus far organisations have been spending capital budgets that were approved last year, long before Covid was on the horizon.  Looking at the deepest recession in recent history – the UK is currently forecast to lose 10% of GDP – the impact on membership organisations, particularly trade associations, is likely to be significant, far more than we saw in the last recession some 12 years ago.

With falling income and the challenges of responding to what might need to be a new operating model means organisations probably aren’t going to have the money to invest in big IT projects, certainly not at the level we’ve seen in recent years.

Does this mean that change will slow down as organisations no longer have the money to invest?   I would suggest not necessarily.  Perhaps, as has happened in previous recessions, not having cash to spend will make us think about things differently.   Not every membership engagement or business challenge is solved by buying a new CRM.  Perhaps we will start to think differently about what the real issues are for our members and the sector we represent, what the role of our organisation needs to be in the future, and how we use the assets we have (people, systems and data) to add real value and benefit.  Not doing that planned IT project will free up resources to use in other ways.

Areas organisations should perhaps be thinking about focusing on include:

  1. Where will our sector/profession/industry be in the new post-Covid paradigm?
  2. What is the role of our organisation in supporting members in the new paradigm?
  3. What is the data we have telling us?
  4. What should we change to be more relevant now, next year, in 3 years?

ICT projects we are doing now should probably be shorter, and focused on delivering specific outcomes and benefits related to these areas.

We need to be looking at how we can use what we have more effectively, for example ensuring we are seeing the benefits from our CRM that we’d always intended.

Can we take this opportunity to introduce more of a culture of incremental change based on both maintaining a strategic view and an honest reflection of our current strengths, weaknesses and capacity?

If we do all of these things, we will have a much stronger organisation, better placed to come out of the recession in a strong position and ready to go.

David Hart – Director, E AND H

August 2020