We are all technology companies now, whether we embrace it or not.
Too often technology decisions are made to address a single issue or departmental need within companies, and these choices rarely align. This is especially true in the communications and outreach space, where those handling donations or sales aren’t the same people handling audience acquisition or customer service.
Investing in technology has significant costs in departmental budgets and staff time, not to mention the potential disruptions system changes can have on interacting with your audiences. Technology choices, lifecycle planning, tool and system implementation, training, data integration, and interoperability need to be managed holistically as a portfolio. Most organizations don’t have a CTO focused on their organization’s outreach platform, which can make it difficult for technology systems to be aligned and integrated across departments, and across audiences.
ParsonsTKO believes in right-fit solutions that focus on the existing investments, staff expertise, and cumulative planning to iteratively evolve your engagement platform into a highly effective future state. Technology is a tool and should enhance your work, not add to your burdens. We help your organization make investments in technology and custom software development that are guided by a holistic plan that ensures every dollar spent advances your organizational goals, rather than just creating temporary showpieces.
Our Technology & Automation Services
Application & Website Development
What is the last technical project you survived? Was it built and designed specifically to your needs, or built and developed from the lowest price bidder’s software development knowledge? Did you get something exceptional, or something adequate? While technologies continue to change at a breakneck pace, consumer behaviors and needs adapt more slowly and your users are rarely excited to have to learn “one more new thing.” How can you offer the best experiences and modernize efficiently while avoiding technologies that promise more impact but just deliver more maintenance headaches? The key is to ensure the humans who are expected to use the tools are front and center as the stakeholders of the design and build of your technology efforts.
Smart technology investments work in harmony with your existing business workflows, staff time allocations, and staff expertise. Too many organizations are convinced to adopt “best in class” solutions that are terrible fits for their teams, have many extraneous confusing features, and require major investments by staff to use effectively.
Our team has designed, developed, delivered and supported unique business applications for over 20 years. This experience led us to the fundamental truth that technology is easy and people are hard. We work with clients that are ready to have assumptions challenged and break out of a less effective status quo. We will work with you to design and select technology solutions that are “right fit” to your need, not an idealized “industry” standard. We navigate through the technical landscape, focused on your staff, technical, and goal ecosystem. We have a road-tested process for mitigating risk, managing the cost of ownership, and delivering useful, valuable technology to help you bring new capabilities to your team.
Let us help you:
- Diagnose and determine a clear, achievable plan for the why, what, and how of your next technical project
- Guide technology projects using our expert processes for risk mitigation, organizational buy-in, and practical technical design
- Determine the most effective architectures and approaches for delivering value quickly and launching iterative improvements informed by audience feedback
- Create a robust and sustainable engagement platform for your organization
Wonderful user experiences with technology rarely occur by accident, and just as rarely do technologies age like fine wine. Most organizations don’t have the luxury to solve both their acute current needs as well as to consider how their organization’s mid-term plans will intersect with the likely trajectory of technical innovation or future technologies.
We architect all of our solutions to provide value to your organization as quickly as possible, while at the same time allowing for iterative improvement based on real-world feedback. It’s been our experience that most organizations learn what their real requirements and needs are through the use of the technologies they have, and that the best technical designs take this into account.
Technical architecture that stands the test of time is flexible, modular, adaptable, and designed to allow iterative improvements. We incorporate community standards for structuring data, integrating systems, and delivering content wherever possible to maximize the interoperability of out of the box systems, and focus on the use of open source solutions when designing custom software to ensure that solutions can be evolved or adapted in the future.
Let us help you:
- Collaboratively design a technical approach for your next project that maximizes the value you receive while minimizing the budget and timeline for delivery
- Design integration plans for existing systems and technology infrastructure to share content, data, and support great audience experiences
- Ensure your technical architecture is designed in concert with your staff model and planned business workflows
Systems Lifecycle Management
Every bit of technology deployed across your organization will deprecate. Can you pinpoint the moment when squeezing a few more years out of a system will cost your organization more than replacing it? Does your organization budget for system recoveries, data breaches, and migrating old systems between servers? Do you analyze the cost of delaying a migration or operating a system that isn’t receiving software patches?
It’s ok if your answer is “no”; many organizations have a difficult time with these questions. Most organizations also don’t consider the lifecycle of the technologies they may be acquiring. Every year we work with organizations that are considering adopting technologies that are either nearing their own end-of-life period, or are not mature enough yet for adoption. That is why we help organizations understand the trade-offs and plan for future decisions that need to be made in order to address these issues and increase value.
Let us help you:
- Strategically manage your technology portfolio to update systems at the most advantageous time for your organization
- Plan technology costs more accurately into your budgets
- Avoid acquiring technologies at the wrong point in those technologies lifecycle
- Understand the return on investment that different technology investments or options might provide
Tool Evaluation and Selection
You have a clear need, and you may have identified a few solutions that could work, all the while every salesperson you talk with is confident that their particular solution is your best option. Your colleagues from other teams and departments want to have input and make sure you are not missing any single possible opportunity. A VP in another department wants you to justify using a different system than they are using. Does any of this sound familiar? You are not alone: navigating the wide variety of technology choices seems to always intersect with the internal politics of an organization.
Our team is software agnostic (although we prefer open source solutions if custom development will be required) and we can save time and sanity by helping you discover, evaluate, and “right fit” tools. Our evaluation processes take into account not just your existing systems, staff capacity, and budget, but also the internal pressures that can block consensus or adoption of particular tool choices.
Let us help you:
- Get a deep and organized view of possible new tools and systems
- Consider all possible options, scored and evaluated against your organization’s unique criteria
- Weigh the pros and cons of the best solutions, filtered and prioritized based on your needs
The truth is, the cheese does not stand alone. All of your systems have data and content that is made more valuable when juxtaposed or intersected with information from another system. Data sharing and syncing requires coordination and process definition to be reliable and effective. An expert in a given technology system will understand how to export data out or import data into that particular system, but rarely are they planning for or designing for organization-wide data sharing.
Our systems integration methodology looks across your entire suite of systems and data warehouses to create content-sharing and syncing maps that clearly identify the data we want to share, sync, and edit system to system. From these data maps we design unified content, taxonomy, and data structures. These standards allow us to minimize the cost of integration by allowing each system to map to a common standard, and to allow us to reuse integration plugins. In the most robust integration models we will also create a series of microservice APIs that facilitate data discovery, enforce content curation of shared content such as taxonomies, and allow systems integrations to register themselves as consuming external data.
We wrap all of our systems integration work with governance and business process planning that ensure that your staff are integrated and communicating clearly, in addition to your content and data.
Let us help you:
- Maximize the value you receive from every technical system you have deployed
- Create great audience experiences across engagement channels
- Nurture adoption of (or enforce) content and taxonomy standards across your organization
- Develop better business intelligence and insights by enabling data from multiple systems to be analyzed easily in one place