From the President, Lonnie Emard
Since 2009, IT-oLogy has been based on a collaborative model whereby businesses, team up with academic institutions, economic development groups and media specialists to contribute to the non-profit organization’s mission of advancing information technology talent in this country. While there have been many learning moments during the last six years, one element stands out as the most difficult to fully enable. That is the role of the aggregator.
The aggregator, in this case is IT-oLogy who pulls it all together, takes on a sort of umbrella- like strategy to cover all the pieces that fall into the process of advancing IT talent. Wow, you might say, that is a pretty bold statement. I say it with the humble intentions that somehow the overall supply chain process needs to be captured in a meaningful way. In my last blog, I described the supply chain concept from the sources of talent, through development of talent to the access and application of IT talent, yielding economic development advantage.
The continuum of impact that a non-profit organization can have is based on the capacity to involve collaborators who have some level of interest and role in the process. These collaborators participate and contribute at various levels in the non-profit organization, while at the same time operate in their own enlightened self-interest. The role of the aggregator is to fulfill the combinatorial aspects of managing, directing, involving and influencing the pieces that no one entity would ever do on their own. The various ways the aggregator may work to ensure the process are as follows:
Managing – IT-oLogy manages programs and projects that have been funded by participating organizations. This is the most straight-forward approach and easiest to track results. This is narrow in the overall big picture but coverage continues to expand.
Directing – IT-oLogy teams up with other organizations of common purpose and IT-oLogy handles the budget but one or many organizations are completing efforts on related programs. This works reasonably well to capture a much greater of results and begins to provide better analysis of progress.
Involving – Joint efforts exist when IT-oLogy collaborators are involved or IT-oLogy represents them in programs, projects and advocacy efforts where some other organization has the budget and is the lead. The key part to this is the level of involvement and the request for the summary information that can be aggregated together with other similar data to provide more comprehensive findings.
Influencing – IT-oLogy speaks, on behalf of a collective voice, and tries to influence related efforts to create a consistent message and deal with the environment that advances IT talent impacts. This is clearly the toughest piece and requires time and attention. The part that requires focus here is the discretionary funds required to enable resources to act on behalf of the coalition of organizations that support the non-profit.
The role of the aggregator is to ensure that all four things happen in a balanced and cohesive way because there are numerous overlapping activities happening at the same time which are controlled by numerous organizations, which may or may not be part of the collaborative activities. Finding ways to track and aggregate the positive effects on the advancement of IT talent is the key to repeating success and cost effectively addressing this issue.
For example, IT-oLogy offers three initiatives called Promote IT focused on K-12, Teach IT focused on higher-ed and workforce development and Grow IT focused on existing professionals. Within the Teach IT initiative is the connection between talent and job opportunities using a process and tool called the IT-Gateway. All of the students and internships and entry level jobs can be tracked there. That doesn’t capture the magnitude of all students and opportunities in a city, region, state or the country because not everyone uses a single system. It would be great to add to the totals by including other company, university and organization data and aggregating the totals to get a more complete picture.
I would encourage more dialog on this topic, so please contact me or any of the IT-oLogy team.
You can also follow me @lonnieemard