The initial systems to functions heatmap tool concept was really brought to me in an engagement with Rippleworks and the amazing Anisha Vaswani. I took the initial concept Anisha modeled for me and ran with it a bit for nonprofits. The concept is actually pretty simple. You isolate the departmental functions of the organization, connect with the stakeholders of those areas for clarification, then build-out the functions these different areas need and render RYG against how viable they are for the organization. The working model provides some operational value in pain areas and will help guide future investment needs around technology if you are doing it correctly.
If you do this, you will find that connecting with the functional areas will educate IT leadership on what each area really needs to accomplish, how existing systems and processes are truly functioning, and you will start to see some patterns across the organization around needs. In doing this with my organization and refining the model to something much more detailed and complex then the sample embedded in this post, you can have great discussions with stakeholder across the organization about their needs, how IT can possibly assist, and, hopefully, have some accessible digestible context with the executive and Board on real needs going into next budget year. Modelling this type of heatmap, you will find, provides a dialogue with other areas of the organization around IT needs in a space and context that is relevant and connected to what the key departments and functions need vs. trying to assume or buy a solution and back into solving problems and pain points.
I’m hoping to speak more to this model over the next year as it seems to really resonate with people in the sector across all functional areas as a means to connect IT leadership and a strategic mindset around technology in the nonprofit space.
Stay tuned for more on this in the coming weeks and months. I hope to have some sessions around this with IT leaders, vendors, and organizations across the nonprofit sector in order to help elevate IT leadership and collaboration.