Last week I went to my first ever Socitm MAC, that is the Society of Information Technology Managers Members’ Advisory Committee in case you were in any doubt. Sometimes acronyms do help. Although I have been chairing the regional meetings for a year now, this is the first national event I have attended, apart from the launch of the Women in IT programme but that was different. I was more of an observer than a participant on that occasion.
Of course it was in London and I went with Graham. He knows what goes on.
To be honest we went down because we were concerned about the relationship between the centre and our local branch. We felt that there was a degree of misunderstanding between us and it would be best addressed in person. It is common problem between head offices and branches where each side always blames the other. I have heard similar stories played out in every organisation I have worked in and so I feel that if we wanted to influence direction then we should play our part.
I was up for a bit of a fight, just in case, but started off by watching and listening. I mixed my metaphors by keeping my powder dry and seeing the lay of the land. I needn’t have worried. Very quickly into the meeting it became clear that all of us were in similar positions.
About half of the regions were represented and each of us had our problems to address. Some had too many representatives from the private sector and their meetings were skewed, while others were the other way round. Some had more members that you could shake a stick at while others didn’t have enough to meet in a phone box. Some regions wanted to focus on technical or operational opportunities whereas others were thinking more about strategy and the future.
So, just like the council, it turns out that Socitm is a broad and complex church. Its members have differing needs, issues and aspirations. Having a single organisation to represent the needs of such a diverse industry is always going to be a challenge yet, having been to the MAC, I am more confident that it is something it (we) will rise to.
The issues Socitm faces are the same as us all: a definition of purpose; a narrative that appeals to its target audiences; a balance between objectives and financial survival.
At our next regional meeting we are going to have a slot to identify what it is that we want from the organisation and consider how we can be better members.