1. Audit your Digital Proficiency

PLAN//THINK//DISCOVER

Auditing your organisational digital proficiency

Traditionally, audits were mainly associated with gaining information about financial systems and the financial records of a company or a business. However, recent auditing has begun to include other information about the system, such as information about security risks, information systems performance. The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organisation, system, process, enterprise, project or product. Audits are performed to ascertain the validity and reliability of information, so right here at the beginning of the AmbITion process, be brutally honest with yourselves about where you are at now. By understanding the complete picture of your situation now, you’ll be able to see what your starting point is and so plan accordingly. Any digital development is not just about the technology. Its about enhancing the potential of your organisation to be more resilient to the only constant we can sure of – change. It’s about your artistic content and services, your audience development, your organisational and your business model development. If your digital development journey comes from the core passion and purpose of your organisation, then you’re starting on the right foot.

A digital native is anyone who has “grown-up digital”: they will be under the age of 30, and have a completely different understanding of IT and digital to anyone over that age! Over that age, you may have staff members who are technology early adopters, or digital enthusiasts. These staff are not to become your new IT/digital tsars: that’s not their job; but their enthusiasm, understanding and energy around digital may well help support your digital development journey.

What is your Capability?
Do you have experience of implementing change and introducing new systems before? (this experience doesn’t have to be digital/IT related – change and new systems tend to impact people and their ways of working, and this will need sensitive management).

What is your Expertise or Confidence?
The motivation and commitment to the digital development journey needs to be owned by the Chief Executive of the organisation and the board. You may have a digital native in-house though, or expert on the board, who can lead or support the process.

It might be useful to carry out a staff ICT skills audit: we used Survey Monkey with some AmbITion organisations to achieve this (it allowed people to complete the audit through an online questionnaire, which could be anonymous, and automatically aggregates responses into easy to read tables, etc. It also might be useful to gather staff assumptions about the organisation’s audiences’/customers’ digital competence – gather ideas through a brainstorm at a team meeting, or allow people to post them into an ideas box anonymously, specifying age and social demographic.
Take a look at our resource: How to... Recruit Staff for Digital Developments.

At this stage you can identify if you need to bring in an expert to facilitate your journey through the thinking and planning process. Seriously consider whether, if the project is big, complex, or involves technologies that are new, you might need to work with an appropriate consultant who understands digital development within a creative/cultural industries sector setting.

What is your Capacity?
What else have you got going on? Can you manage an IT implementation/and manage the impact of change on the organisation and staff at the same time as your ongoing activity and any other organisational developments currently on the go?

What is your Commitment?
Is the level of buy-in high throughout the whole organisation? Everyone needs to be involved in the thinking, so that the project ends up completely integrated across the whole organisation. That means your board should be involved, the Senior Management Team, the digital natives in your team and everyone else!

If your board is a bit risk-averse on the subject of digital development; or if you’re the digital expert in the organisation needing to influence your SMT/board, then AmbITion’s How To… Help Your Board and SMT Get Digital will be useful.

What’s next?
You might want to additionally audit your digital technology, your digital assets, your digital engagement, and your business model to see where digital technologies play a part/are business critical. You might also want to gauge where your customers and stakeholders are at digitally, to see how they respond to your current digital set-up, and what they would like to see.

At this stage you might feel a bit overwhelmed! It’s normal for cultural organizations to get a fright at this stage, particularly if the IT set up and digital developments have previously been ad hoc or piecemeal. But you know where you are at, now. The next stage of The AmbITion Approach is the uplifting and exciting part: brainstorming and thinking about where you would like to be! You will also be diagnosing what IT and digital developments you will need to implement to get to where you want to be, from where you are now.