Technology strategy needs to be aligned with and suppor the agency’s strategic plan. To support this integration, technology staff
need to be part of the agency strategic planning process.
Overarching Strategic Issues
Technology is one of the components of the infrastructure that enables all other agency operations to work effectively. An agency’s expectations of technology should be clear. The agency should create a technology-specific management process that allows changes to be planfully implemented and tracked. Technology staff should be clear about what technology can accomplish and what it will cost to obtain and maintain. To get the most out of its technology, agency teams comprised of staff at all levels and external stakeholders should be included in discussions that identify problems and needs and participate in the selection of the technology solutions. The bottom line is that technology and information management strategies should contribute to meeting
program needs and agencies need to check frequently to be sure that this remains the case over time.
Technology planning and investments should be driven by the agency’s strategic plan and priorities. In constructing the agency’s overall plan, one can think of technology as a support function for the other components of public child welfare. The plan should clearly define from the beginning what the problems are that it is trying to address and produce step-by-step procedures for executing the technology strategy. At each step, the impact on end users and children, youth and families served should be considered.
Cost-effectiveness must also guide the design, procurement and implementation of technology. What will be achieved should be clearly outlined. This often determines the political will of funders to support innovation.
Thorough technology planning requires five steps. The first three address contextual issues. The fourth aligns technology with the agency’s goals. The fifth looks at monitoring results and continuous improvement.
1. Aligning Technology with the Agency Vision, Mission and Values
2. Reviewing Agency Capacity
3. Conducting an Environmental Scan (External Stakeholder Context)
4. Establishing Goals and Objectives for the Use of Technology
5. Monitoring for Benefits and Adjusting for Continuous Improvement