Managing the transition to digital: upskilling and training that begins from the top

15 September 2015

Being digitally adept is synonymous with business operations in today’s world but integrating the latest technologies into the workplace can sometimes prove challenging for non-profits.

Dale Jennings Associates is a consulting business that develops practical, affordable business solutions that use technology. Dale Jennings doesn’t write software, resell hardware or take commission so advice is independent of the vendors. The consultancy specialises in assisting non-profits of all shapes and sizes meet the challenge of integrating technology with existing business models.  Its services are specifically tailored towards NGOs, charities and non-profit organisations which allows for a business model that can be be implemented in step by step phases as funds dictate. The model is complemented by an unpaid intern programme that provides real work experience to supervised students, keeping costs down for Dale Jennings’ clients.

The Dale Jennings approach starts with an investigation into the organisation’s issues, any related technology issues and the client’s business objectives. This provides the foundation for a plan that builds workforce capability alongside any technology changes recommended.

Hazel Jennings, founder of Dale Jennings Associates says, “We help organisations go digital by focussing on the people development issues as much, if not more than, the technology and being very honest about the culture change needed.  

“Going digital is a bit like changing to a healthy lifestyle. It needs habits to be broken and behaviour to be modified so people change the way they have done things for years.”

A lot of time is spent coaching non-technical managers to manage their technology effectively. Dale Jennings Associates provides this through one-on-one mentoring for individuals or training workshops for teams.

 “There are some overseas non-profits working in this space where the market is bigger, but very few people have the combination of IT product development, technology management, organisational development and non-profit sector knowledge that we do,says Hazel.

Looking to the future, Hazel sees the need for digital governance growing with it becoming an integral part of boardroom considerations, not just an operation matter. Dale Jennings Associates launched technical board training earlier this year and the initial uptake is promising. With technology developing at an exponential rate, she understands that success will come from continuing to listen to customers’ needs.