The Future of Membership in a World Driven by Technology

Membership is about people; people sharing ideas to improve their personal and professional lives, opining on the latest issues, building personal and company brands, and yes, utilizing technology.

My goal here is to listen to the "world" on where membership fits in these fast changing times, and deliver the services needed to get people to "buy" into membership organizations.

Membership is deeper than community. Membership is more personal and takes more effort. It is built on trust.

Stop by often and find out what's happening in the world of Membership... Thank you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Introduction to the STP Collaborative...

Dear IT Software Professional:

I consider it an honor and privilege to serve the membership organization for STP Collaborative as your new membership director. It is an exciting and challenging endeavor for me to join this new organization after spending the last seven years building and managing a very “mature” membership organization focused on help desk and IT service and support professionals. When I joined that organization, we were determined to lead the industry to a more respected position within IT, and I believe with the help of the membership, we did that with great success.

Membership organizations thrive on participation from professionals that believe they can make a difference in the future of an industry. The most rewarding part of working within a membership organization is working with professionals who want to make a difference. Through traditional and online communications and new social channels, live local events and industry conferences, we have the opportunity to have a positive impact and influence on our industry. Many great ideas have changed entire industries, and often are the result of small groups of individuals working together and sharing common practices.

It is this idea of individual collaboration, working together to improve organizational and personal efficiency, and the willingness to share, that I hope to foster here. Content is everywhere, but the implementation, validation, and continuous improvements through the collaboration of people, is the key differentiator in a membership organization.

With the advent of social media platforms that enable people to work together virtually, many have questioned the viability of membership organizations as a whole. I believe that there has never been a greater need for human collaboration than we face today. Technology provides a great introduction to common interests, and allows us to extend that all-important experience of looking someone in the eye, shaking hands, and building a relationship.

Technology will be a key approach of this membership model, but it will be driven by advisory boards made up of human beings. As membership director, I plan to focus on managing a strong strategic advisory board and conference planning board. This year we will also introduce a new executive roundtable level of membership that will bring professionals together at forum meetings, including admission to our annual conference, STPCon. We are working to enhance our partnership with other organizations to support a local roundtable series throughout the country so that professionals in common geographic areas can learn and network together. We’ve introduced a robust professional development offering consisting of quarterly public training events, and plan on increasing our webinar offerings, and will be looking to practitioners to host and highlight the great things they are achieving in their organizations through case study style presentations and articles in the STP magazine.

Software applications are produced by developers based on the business requirements, and include testing and quality professionals, business analysts, project managers, and ultimately result in a product or service that supports the overall business objective. It is a complex maze of individuals, communicating and working together, and is most effective when the team has a common vision and goal. It is an international effort at many organizations, including many teams of professionals working together virtually. If we think about how difficult it is to work with someone two cubicles down, we start to appreciate the issues when we are separated from team member’s two time zones away.

It is our vision and goal to get the members of software teams to effectively communicate and collaborate to improve the reputation of all of the IT units responsible for business success.

We invite you to join us and share your ideas and goals for STP Collaborative. Ultimately you will be the testers of our success. We will do our best to deliver valuable news and information, education and training, and opportunities for professional networking and knowledge sharing to serve this community.

We are here to help you achieve the recognition you deserve by delivering your IT software and applications with the highest possible level of quality, on time and within budget.

Let the journey begin…

Rich Hand
Director of Membership

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