#IT: Road Block or Lap Dog?

Posted on June 20, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Technology | Tags: , |

IT communicationby Sheree Van Vreede(@rezlady)

The IT department doesn’t have it easy these days. No longer are its members perceived as the geniuses in the corner cube, holding the key to the organization’s technological future (even if no one understands what they are talking about).

Today they still might be the geniuses in the corner, but the perception that they hold the keys is waning. And in many cases, the department ends up badly in need of a new PR campaign.

Either it is considered the “department of NO,” putting up road block after road block (most often for good reason) that makes other departments, like sales and marketing, feel hog-tied. Or it is the company lap dog, running around “fixing” things at everyone’s beck and call, a unit that is considered more reactive than proactive.

Last week (6/13) at #TCFchat on Twitter (hosted by the Tech Career Forum on Wednesdays at 3pm), the discussion topic was the challenge of effective communication by tech pros across any organization–client organization, small/medium business, Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits, professional services firms, etc.

The questions for the chat were as follows:

1. In what ways does effective communication help and ineffective communication hurt the IT organization? The company? 2. What are some of the main issues tech pros face when communicating to different company groups? 3. How can a tech pro speak so that a user or business stakeholder hears what you’re saying? 4. Does senior leadership have a role in fostering this communication? If so, what is it?

It was an insightful discussion full of great tips. Some of the main nuggets of advice included:

  • “Technology companies need to convey what business solutions they deliver with their tech portfolio.” @ValaAfshar
  • “I’ve heard this a lot in the past: “we gave them what they asked for but not what they wanted”.  Communication is critical” @MichaelKeen
  • “My other favorite, “We went above and beyond, but they didn’t understand how.” @AndrewGrossman
  • “I recently heard the term P2P (people to people) mktg. You have to collaborate/connect internally & w/your customers to succeed.” @anitaloomba

To see more great responses from the participants and to get more effective advice, check out the recap on Storify: “Organizational Communications: Challenges and Solutions for Tech Professionals“.

This week on 6/20 (3pm EAST), we will be following up last week’s discussion with “The IT Organization: Road block or true business enabler?” Is your department the party of “NO” or is it perceived as an enabler?

We hope you can join us for this discussion! If you miss it, check back later in the week as we will be posting the recap.

Another add-on to check out for this discussion is through the Enterprise CIO Forum. CIO Ben Haines from Pabst Brewing Co. answers questions about why IT is often called “Mr. No“.

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