There has been a lot of take about digital transformation recently and the charities sector is not excluded from this trend. This is underpinned by new roles emerging with titles such as Digital Transformation Director, with Julie Dodd recently taking up this position for Parkinson’s UK.
But what does digital transformation mean, and what does it mean for charities specifically? With the term being so ambiguous, it is first important to be clear about what the initiative is setting out to achieve in order to ensure that stakeholders’ expectations and the organization’s goals are met.
The key topic we encounter when working with the third sector is one of driving collaboration and engagement across very disparate organizations. For example, some organizations may be made up of several national partners that operate their own infrastructure and services. This coupled with a diverse and transient user community makes effective collaboration extremely challenging.
But what needs to be put in place to improve collaboration in this type of setting is not the purpose of this article. What I am sure of is that the solution will be diverse, with some tools trying to address big organizational issues and others targeting more niche services, such as a mobile app that aims to reach out to a specific set of constituents with a particular need.
Organisations will be challenged in how they provide access to the services that will be rolled out. If we think about Facebook or Google Mail for a moment – many services that have no direct connection to these organizations take advantage of their security processes in order to grant access to their applications. In many ways charities need to deliver a similar experience for their constituents also, allowing secure, ad hoc access with the minimum of delay or administrative overhead. For individuals who need greater levels of access, potentially in a short time frame, then the complexity of this becomes much greater and the solutions more sophisticated.
As charities develop digital transformation initiatives, it is going to be really important to consider not only the services that they wish to deliver, but also the infrastructure that will need to be put in place to support these types of operations at scale. There is a fine balance between providing the right access to services, ensuring that IT is not a barrier to the various initiatives that will be undertaken whilst at the same time ensuring security is not compromised.
The implementation of a scalable, trusted and rapidly deployed identity and access management service is a cornerstone of any large scale digital transformation initiative. Implementing a central service for authentication and authorization gives an organization the confidence for online services to be rolled out in the knowledge that the security and governance that they rely on can be trusted.