Necessity has driven an enormous amount of change in the past year as we all continue to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Agile local governments and public housing authorities were able to gather resources, execute shovel-ready projects, and take advantage of the CARES Act funding following the initial December 2020 deadline. However, some organizations were left behind, and as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, there is still a need for funding in many organizations across the nation.

The federal government has extended the CARES funding deadline from December 2020 through December 2021. You may be asking yourself, what does that mean for my organization? Is it too late to receive funding? 

It’s not too late – funding is still available, and this article will share tips on how to plan and use CARES funding to make your organization COVID resilient.

Make a list and create a strategic plan

As we began conversations with our clients and internal teams, the following questions continued to arise about funding:

  • What will CARES funding cover? What are the parameters?
  • What is a shovel-ready project?
  • How do we execute projects quickly if we don’t have a plan?
  • How do you match dollars to these projects?

The first step is to start with a strategic planning project to think about what is possible. 

What has been on your technology project list for three years? Take those projects and start by creating a list of shovel-ready projects that can impact your organization. A shovel-ready project is one that was included in the last fiscal year’s budget cycle. A shovel-ready project is more than buying staff computers or installing new HVAC systems. They are about creating change and improvements that set your organization up for success in years to come.

Don’t stop at a list of projects. The most critical step in this process is taking the time to create a plan. The project list will start the conversations that will lead to an IT Strategic Plan. With the help of a consulting partner, assess your list of projects and develop an IT Strategic Plan that will outline a detailed roadmap with strategies to achieve your desired outcomes creatively.

How Pittsylvania County (VA) created its IT Strategic Plan

In August 2020, Pittsylvania County partnered with Avèro to conduct a thorough analysis of strengths and weaknesses within their current IT environment, including infrastructure & technologies, funding processes, staffing levels, and service delivery model.

“Avèro is a knowledgeable, agile, and energetic partner who blends experience with teamwork to help develop solutions. They gave the county a very clear understanding of our strengths and weaknesses through an IT Strategic Plan. Also, a strong list of solutions across both the time required to implement and cost to implement spectrums. Avèro is a comfortable and trusted partner in this large endeavor that crosses many departments and stakeholders” — N. MORRIS, PROJECT MANAGER

Start with the basics, develop a foundation

You must do the basics before you can make any improvements. Start a conversation with your purchasing department. This will help you understand what funds are available, what processes are in place for emergency funding, and how you can move quickly, all while not cutting corners.

There isn’t time to take a project through the months-long procurement processes. So, you must think outside the box. This could mean searching or partnering with surrounding organizations to be included within RFP solicitations relevant to your initiatives. Utilizing existing frameworks or vendors to create an iterative approach to developing a solution. Develop a foundation for your organization that will maximize the impact of your funding opportunity.Communication is more important than ever

Many organizations assume that you have to go all-in with the answer or solution to utilize the funds or believe that you do not have time to prototype or test a solution because of the quick timelines. 

When it comes to executing projects quickly, you can’t assume an outcome is off-limits. If you take an iterative approach to a solution, it will give you the ability to prototype, test, improve performance over time, and expand, all while providing the services you need for your employees and community.

Communication is key when you’re quickly executing a project. A challenge that has been highlighted during the pandemic is communicating change. Do not assume that change has been communicated internally or externally. When you’re crafting solutions for services or internal processes, there is a level of change management that is vitally important to the end-user. 

You must keep your team and community informed to ensure your initiative’s success and adoption for a successful implementation. Governments and housing agencies must be deliberate and stewards of taxpayer’s money, working on shorter timelines can be difficult. However, it’s essential to consider all options, find creative solutions, and continue optimal service for your employees and community.

How Blount County Circuit Court (TN) quickly adapted to social distancing

After the Supreme Court ruled social distancing in all courtrooms in March 2020, a Blount County Circuit Court Clerk contacted Avèro Advisors. We worked through the weekend, buying local components to create a virtual courtroom experience. By Monday morning, the county’s court system was operating under the ruling the Supreme Court had issued just two and a half days earlier. 

The solution was further refined, and the paper processes were modified to be more effective.

“With the help of Avèro, we were able to quickly find a solution and build on what we already had to create virtual capabilities in our courtroom.” — T. HATCHER, CIRCUIT COURT CLERK

Creativity and flexibility is key

With a prioritized list of projects, a strategic plan, and CARES funding, your organization is prepared to build resilience to unexpected events and continue to provide high-quality services to your community. 

With the help of a partner like Avèro, your organization can utilize resources and brainstorm ideas for creative solutions that you may believe are impossible in your organization. By working with a partner like Avèro, we can help you do the basics, not cut corners, help your organization create the list, do the basics, and create the strategies.

Request Information

Contact us to discuss your current workflow
and infrastructure needs.