This musing post will be a tad more technical than past musing, so bear with me. We have been discussing technologies of the fourth and fifth industrial evolutions, and the tools that support reinventing your mission and church in the new world of Web 3.0.
There are two critical concerns about the new technological developments and today’s technology solutions you should be aware of, as well as what to expect in the future:
I say to you: Don’t Worry! With the growing concerns over safety and especially privacy every major technology company with an ounce of research is teaming up with major universities and private research centers focusing on cybersecurity and privacy. Solutions will present themselves.
When looking at technology always remember “Buyer Beware,” is an adage that is so relevant today. If you remember, back in the mid-nineties when ERP systems were being introduced to “solve” the problem of Y2K these systems were sold as reality, but you were really buying “futures.” Many features back then as today are being described in the sale as if they are functional now, but in reality, they will be soon. Make sure you drill your vendor on this topic.
To the pastor, church leader, and team responsible for technology you might feel uncomfortable both knowledge, experience wise or emotionally, with the issues of security and privacy and the relationship between the two, in the context of the new world, there are frameworks for you to follow that will give you an immediate advantage of the situation. You need to get your arms around the issues if you are going to survive through the evolution of these two industrial changes.
• Start by using “standards’ such as NIST (National Institute Standards and Technology) NIST is a free download. Look at other cyber and privacy standards within your reach that are pertinent in a global sense but not necessarily standards in the US such as General Data Protection Regulation of Europe better known as GDPR. GDPR is the standard the new California Privacy Law is modeled after.
Look at performing a risk assessment:
• Use risk assessments to benchmark your data access of sensitive and non-sensitive information. Use risk assessments to discover your vulnerabilities within your infrastructure.
• Build/assemble your internet and intranet applications, so they remain separate from the internet containing no confidential information. Your technology gurus in your church will understand this as “walling off the data.”
• Realize in the fourth and fifth technology revolutions the internet and intranet are becoming symbiotic. Therefore, you must apply the same criteria for security to the intranet as you do the internet.
• The ‘Achilles heel’for most churches and especially judicatories who have significant legacy systems of days gone by are:
o Authentication of the user
o the integrity of the transactions throughout the entire network and batch updating
o Authentication of the target website
o Safety from intrusion into the financial systems and the systems that store all data that would present a privacy concern
Keep in mind the old adage “Find your Achilles heel before a trojan does.”
Where do I begin to figure all this out if I want to incorporate the new technologies in my church so we can expand our mission?
There is a simple framework you can use to do your analysis and building out your solutions.
Here is a simple structure that you can use internally within your teams:
Start by asking questions:
1. What is the current situation you have? What is the opportunity? Describe these regarding measurements and results. What are the performance issues with the technology? At what vectors do I face a security issue? At what layer of the NIST framework am I most vulnerable? (download the NIST framework it is free)
2. What is the problem we are facing with expanding our mission with technology? What are the GAPS that are impeding our success? What is the cause of our technology issues?
3. Next, uncover potential enablers that will fix the problem and close the GAP using the technologies of the fourth and fifth industrial evolution.
4. Describe the solution impact and benefits. Use measurements and show evidence. Integrate the solution impact into your security framework, showing all the touch points.
This process should include your validation of the current operational/technology strategy you will need to perform in better understand the GAPS you will uncover. Validation is more than a risk assessment, even though you can incorporate the risk assessment as part of the validation process. The strategic assessment will also necessitate an organizational change self-assessment.
Next step is to develop a value assessment and architecture assessment based on the validation of the strategic assessment. Think of evaluations as the art of performing self-diagnostics. Based on what you discover it is imperative that you build your vision demonstrating what the future will be and this means you need to develop a working prototype.
Your organizational change management assessment then incorporates how you define the solution, design the solution, develop the solution and deploy the solution. You will want to integrate business digitized workflows and build a shared service model that incorporate change.
The reinvention of your church to keep pace with the fourth and fifth technological revolutions is all about change! The reinvention of your church will result in a drastic set of changes such as:
• A different IT organization and missional model for Discipleship
• New and evolving ministerial job functions
• Expand your congregational base and new models of interacting with new people who want to join
Will anyone in your organization resist these changes? YES! And that is why it is so important to go through the simple framework outlined above and produce the metrics and the prototype. What you have built becomes evidence-based.