My recent IT and online communications work with small nonprofit organizations placed me squarely in the position of needing to do the best that I could at being what I like to call a “SuperTech.” The SuperTech goes by many others names as well – “tech savior,” “web guru,” and “IT guy/gal,” among others. Simply put, a SuperTech is one person who is sought after or hired by a small nonprofit or other small organization, often with an unclear grasp of the scope of their present or future IT or online communications needs. The SuperTech is often recruited with the idea that that person will be able to handle myriad technology-related tasks, some of which require completely different skill sets.
Does the company server need to be reconfigured or rebuilt? The SuperTech can do it! Do you need to deploy Google Apps and make sure all email and calendars can get transferred from Microsoft Exchange into the new client seamlessly? The SuperTech can do it over the weekend! Does the organization need a dynamic, interactive website with several specialized modules and plugins that work seamlessly with existing databases? Is there a need for new content, pictures, videos and social networking updates on a daily basis? The SuperTech can do that in between troubleshooting 10 client workstations, fixing the office’s cloud storage solution and preparing reports on the work done to the leadership team!
As you can see, it is difficult to see how one person can be fully capable of attending to all of these needs, and many others, on his/her own. The SuperTech is a myth, and for cash-strapped nonprofits and small organizations, it is an enticing one, but one that can sometimes lead to lost potential for the organization.
While I certainly could garner those skills over time, as can any other person in an organizational technology role, when dealing with the restricted budget for nonprofits and small organizations, as well as my limited time, that was not an option that I could reasonably pursue. I often relied on outside organizations and third-party providers to make sure the work got done in a completely professional manner, and some of my work hours were coordinating with these providers and liaising between them and the leadership/staff of the organization.
Again, I have no doubt that there are organizations out there for whom their SuperTech is doing a fantastic job, but these seem to be exceptions that prove the rule. For many small organizations, providing for existing staff members to interface with a third-party collaborator to handle various technology needs may be a helpful solution from both a strategic, and a budget, standpoint. For these smaller entities, investing in a relationship with a technology provider which can provide a wide variety of expertise and experience for specific technological needs, and which can grow and adapt as your organization does, may be the more effective and efficient option.
Working with Perisphere Media, I know I have a strong team of collaborators who bring their own unique skill sets and capabilities to the table to meet the website and online communication needs of any of our clients. I also can draw upon their networks of colleagues in the field when we find we need additional help in addressing a unique client need. It allows me to speak to our clients with a confidence that Perisphere Media can find the right fit for them – a solution which will work the first time.
While it may have been fun trying to be a SuperTech, I am much happier being part of a super tech team, and I know our clients benefit from it.
Senior Digital Producer