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this page is part of the Educause wiki: IT Communications: Virtual Coffee Shop

Tentative topics:

  • Do our CIOs think we have a problem with communications - is communication everyone's responsibility?

Melanie Thomas (University of Texas at El Paso) had great ideas for how to inform customers - and other IT teams - what is available.  She also talked about how some of her low-budget, no-budget awareness initiatives paid dividends such that her zero budget was given a much needed boost.

Read archives of our list discussions to see Suzie Medders (Clemson) comments on what happens when other IT team want to send out communications without going through a central communications team.

Melanie talked a bit about a change in leadership and how that affected centralized communications from IT.

Stan Martin (NC State) is in a similar position, working to educate other IT communicators in their division (OE515 is down...okay so what does that mean?  Oh, that runs printing services?  then say Printing is down.)

Carlyn reinforced the idea that your VP/CIO has to be on board.  If they are mandating that centralized communications is the only option, that same VP/CIO has to enforce it if his/her own leadership team circumvents the centralized communications channel.

 

  • Improving communication across IT units

 

Does anyone currently have problems with communications across IT units?

Allison Oslund (Texas A&M) talked about a quality of life survey that "not communicating" created loss of trust.  No one likes to be surprised, especially with bad surprises.  Some teams can perceive other teams as competition for recognition or budget and communication (or lack of) can be used as a weapon.

 Things to try:

  • Weekly at-large meetings
  • Joint-operations team meetings (share what you are working on, what you are doing)
  • Casual versus organized: organic or grass-roots level initiative can be more compelling for cooperation than top-down mandate
  • Customer satisfaction can drive desire for improved communications
  • State of the Union newsletter (collect briefs from various units, publish to all IT)
  • Lunch-and-Learn sessions where one group talks about things going on around campus, start with IT-related, expand to other initiatives like how to buy a digital camera (right before holidays) or "My Favorite phone Apps"
  • If you get a meeting going, take the temperature of the members every 2-3 years to see if the joint meeting is still working and if not, what changes need to occur.

 

 

Pain points: Re-orgs can both change and strain internal IT unit communications - as hard as it is to keep communications flowing when previous silos are merged, it is even more difficult to keep communications flowing when a former single entity is split into two or three divisions.

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