Friday, 27 November 2009

It's all go on planet Socitm

Once again the week started off well due to being able to work ‘at the office’ (home). I was due to attend an event with one of our partners Jadu and, based on my experience of last year’s, would have really loved to, but there was just too much to do prior to our final board meeting of the year. Still, a number of my colleagues went along so I am sure I will get a full rundown. Our new channel Socitm TV went live over the weekend and as I write we have over 200 subscribers – great news. If you or your organisation has something that would be of wider interest to the membership why not consider an interview for Socitm TV? We also have a project at the moment with the LGC and wil;l be producing a series of podcasts over the coming months covering a broad range of relevant subjects. I will signpost then through the blog and the Socitm twitter stream as well as the Socitm website

After two days of sorting contracts, staff review material, board reports and commercial structures it’s back on the train to London to meet with IISP (Institute of Information Security Professionals) with whom we share many common interests and, potentially, activities. More later. I have just started the current round of staff reviews, which is always good because you tend to learn loads about what the organisation is really like as opposed to just what I think it’s like.

Earlier on Wednesday morning I was speaking at a local junior school about Fair trade (one of my interests ) and it struck me again how privileged most of us are in this country when it comes to education, health care, benefits and so on. However, realising that we are considerably better off than are many of our fellows won’t stop me complaining vociferously when ‘the next lot’ come into power and beta test their particular brand of half baked ideas on the rest of us.... (maybe a bit previous there but I do think people are probably going to vote for change rather than strongly for or against a particular party.)

We had a particularly interesting corporate services team meeting on Thursday, preceded by a conversation with Ellen, our Head of Membership. We are really beginning to get to grips with what it means to be a professional organisation and in developing a coherent and focussed membership strategy. Also, and I hardly dare say this, but I have actually got a project plan in my hands indicating a go live for the new Socitm website of...wait for it (I know, you have been, for ages)...December the 14th – I’ve taken a deep breath, and I’m holding it! We will be contacting a number of users very soon for some beta testing...which is always a challenge to ‘break it’!

We have had our CRM system up and running for a few months now and are beginning to see what it is capable of, but probably still only looking at about 10 – 15% of its real capability. We will be getting stuck into it over the next couple of months to see how we can begin to squeeze more value out of it for members.

Talking of members it is always interesting to hear stories of why people are, or are not, involved in the Society and particularly what their perception is of what we are about and what we offer. It’s amazing how easy it is (for all of us) to form an impression at a certain point in time...then freeze it, and that is our opinion, irrespective of any future changes or developments. When that does happen I tend to think it is our fault for somehow not getting our engagement and communications right. Over the next few months we will be making real efforts to get out and talk to members and regions and partners asking, among other things 3 key questions:

• Are there thing we do well that you would like to see more of?

• Are there things we do that you just wish we’d stop?

• Are there things we don’t do that you think we should?

We really want to know what you feel and there is no need to wait until we get around to your part of the country...let me know now either by replying to this post or visit and start a discussion. Sticking with the membership theme, Friday sees a meeting for the young ‘web community’ that is growing organically and reaches across central, local and third sectors. There are some great plans for personal and professional development in this and other Socitm communities. I will report any outputs from this meeting next week.

Our development plan for the Society is now really getting started having spent the previous year laying some foundations and establishing our business processes. We are looking at a three year (rolling) plan with some ambitious ideas for member engagement and development as well as new commercial opportunities to provide the resources and a range of initiatives around professionalism. This has already involved some significant investment decisions, in people and skills, and it’s now time to hold our nerve and believe in the Socitm people and potential. Ok, so it’s probably not going to be a great time for the faint hearted, but neither will it be a time for unmanaged or unplanned activity. It’s not so much a case of ‘hold on and enjoy the ride’ as it is ‘all hands to deck and make this work’ .

Well, I'm heading north again - possibly snow on the hills according to the beeb :-) and looking forward to the weekend when I'm off to the Leeds Carling Academy to see Delirious? I love my music and it's always good to discover someone new...I was 'surfing' around iTunes this week and came across a guy called Jason Mraz - top chap.

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