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Recap of Gartner Article - Marketing IT: Avoiding the Road to Disenfranchisement and Disempowerment
Many thanks to David Stack, Deputy CIO at University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, for bringing this article to our attention and summarizing the high points. Check out the article for the details (try your CIO, who may be able to access it, or try accessing it via the Educause-Gartner partnership).
David kicked off with a introduction of Gartner, not to advertise the service but to just make us aware of the group responsible for the topic research in today's coffee shop.
Gartner has multiple VPs researching and publishing articles. Pretty expensive to subscribe, but EDUCAUSE and Gartner have partnered before, check in to www.educause.edu/research#gartner to see if you can access any of their resources (may be limited).
If you are also an ECAR subscriber, you get access to webinars, and four reports per year, plus your CIO or VP may have access to the 500+ Gartner-selected research reports each year.
A May 30 webinar explores today's topic further, one of the panel participants is the author of the article David is discussing today.
Check out free accounts, and also the custom Gartner Alerts - which keep you informed on topics of your choice.
Different accounts may have different levels of access to the channels. For example, Texas A&M and University of Miami at Ohio have Gartner accounts but couldn't see today's article, although the Miami CIO could see the article. Check your level of spending - maybe your library has an account?
On this particular topic - and David read the copyright legalese to determine what he could say or recap - two definitions are important:
- Disenfranchisement - example, they treat us like we're invisible
- Disempowerment - example, that's not my job
Are we being treated as invisible because we've tried to become invisible?
- Cathy from Miami - curios that this is coming up now, recent meeting with faculty wanting to know why we don't get their input and IT asking why faculty don't ever offer input when IT asks.
- Sherri from LSU - work through your faculty Senate, particularly a faculty based IT Council - really a concerted effort to engage faculty have strengthened the partnership with IT.
- Cathy: we do have that here at Miami, but their schedules are difficult to work with. Also, our faculty senate is more reactive than proactive and we're trying to change that around. Have to remember, "The Faculty" are not a homogenous group with a single opinion about anything.
- Sherry - each institution's faculty senate appears to work differently.
- Carlyn - so true, we're trying to go Google...
segue back to David, it's all about perception.
So what is Marketing - so many people think it is about sales and we aren't always "proud" of marketing IT.
There is a slide (look for the triangles) and we see a new service as having great potential, but there is a gap in perception.
Then there is a concept of "What is IT" and you think we've defined ourselves well but are we a service? Think a non-participant - like the waiter is not actually part of the dinner conversation. Are we a necessary evil? Are we a useful and critical part of the enterprise? These institutions are the most successful.
- The academy versus academic services (Rice from SUNY-Buffalo).
- We don't really market IT (dePaul), but we try to get to the deans, try to influence people who are forming opinions.
- We market specific services (LSU) but not LSU ITS as a whole.
- We are similar at Georgia State. We market out specific services, like Office 365 in the cloud, moving out a specific LMS.
- Moody does the same thing. We don't market ourselves, but we market our services, working with faculty to get their opinion. Faculty-chaired committee on information technology includes our CIO as a participant but not the leader. Tell faculty if they have an idea or issue, to go to the committee.
- At Miami, we are also promoting services, but we do try to have a common tag to market IT wrapped up in our service messages (Help Desk contact info, for example).
Back to David,
How do we Market? You come to work here, you come to school here, how do you get the services you need? That's a big communication/marketing job already. But you get the whole thing now that people find services other than ours and often bring those services with them. We fall back on our web file system, which is hardly used - it is a "so what" because of Dropbox and similar services. And the article says TELL STORIES! to sell benefits, instead of just listing the service.
You can't ignore social media either - example of our "improved" WIFI - except it was not an improvement in the middle of the day and we were hearing about this via social media.
The Marketing staff in an IT division can be good or bad - unintended consequences: "That's Wendy's job, she handles communications" when the marketing person is a tweener - between IT and the campus.
Takeaway: Make decisions that are institution-centric rather than IT-centric.
- Jerry at Georgia State: the moment you say IT is making a change, it is perceived as we are doing something to everyone else instead of having faculty do the release since they are the ones that instigated the change. A bitter pill, like LMS change, may be swallowed with a grimace if peer faculty are the ones that are driving the switch.
- David: how do you make that happen?
- Jerry: if you engage early and often, it seems to make things change more easily. Last year, when we went with Office 360, we were the first university to go there: we didn't just move their cheese, we changed the flavor and texture, too. The faculty was critical for this switch to be adopted. It appeared to come from them and they had to take ownership of the messages.
- David: what do you think of the idea that just being there (the IT marketing person) means everyone else can forget about communicating.
- Cathy: that does happen at some extent at Miami, but because we've had several large projects that went well and communications was credited with some or a lot of that success, it helped us create the awareness that the team had to help the communications group/person.
- Rick from Buffalo: we've also had that experience - the team idea (blocker helps the quarterback, QB can't win the game alone). We have three different leaders for projects, functional and technical leads as well. The functional lead is not an IT person, could be the registrar. It also gets IT off the hook as the bad guy. To pull in the other offices, have to ensure the people making policies understand their role. Have to have two-way conversations between the leadership.
- Stan at NC State: intrigued with this idea of functional lead. How do you find the functional lead for something like changing email or the identity management program, which are usually purely IT projects?
- Rick: we have to work with the Provost, make sure he/she understands why we are doing this for the university and get them on board. That's tough. Your CIO has to build and keep those relationships.
- Jerry: we find the CIO spends a lot of time in the President's Council, finding those sponsors and building those relationships. Yes, it may be an IT project but this is why it is important to you. Find someone who is engaged, and will/wants to drive the project.
- Rick: there is a difference in giving people an opportunity to be heard. That is why you have a Town Hall meeting, give everyone a chance to be heard.
- Jerry: yes! we had 15 Town Hall meetings as we were considering the change to Office 360; we video-taped them, put up a web site with answers...you are right, it isn't the decision, it's that I had no chance to participate or say my piece.
- Sherry: I agree completely. Town Halls give people a chance to say their piece. But I want to back up and talk about marketing a service versus a campus-wide change. Reference the book, Leading Change John Kotter, and we have to be conscious of leading change.
- Jerry: we did a full re-org of IT at Georgia State and that book was required reading.
Also see the article in Harvard Review on what not to do by the same author.
- Rick - our CIO specifically asked us to improve our marketing. This was good to learn that marketing is not a bad word.
- Cathy - well, even though I have a marketing background, I've learned it never hurts to revisit the basics.
- Carlyn - Rice: Hi David, thanks for presenting today!
- Carlyn - Rice: Carlyn and David are on the phone, anyone else connected yet? We're testing the audio.
- Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: I am
- Carlyn - Rice: I'm talking but not getting a response...
- Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: I don;t hear anythinig - if anyone is talking
- Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: I'll hang up and try again
- Carlyn - Rice: end the call and redial in, check the participant code...someone else's code was published when we first came in to the room
- Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: Carolyn, do you hear us?
- Carlyn - Rice: SORRY! 99281 IS THE CODE.
- Rick - SUNY Buffalo: Yes!
- Carlyn - Rice: I just muted all phones except David's so we won't have any audio interruptions. I will unmute everyone when we have a discussion time
- Debbie - Moody: Thanks, Carlyn. I don't have a mute on my cell phone, which I am using today.
- Rick - SUNY Buffalo: We use Gartner for their IT Compensation Market report each year. Answers the question: how much is a Webmaster worth with 3 years experience, etc.
- Stan - NC State: That has to do withthe level of service you have.
- Sherri @ Lehigh: love to hear more info on specifics on setting up that google alert
- Carlyn - Rice: I wonder if our university libraries handle this subscription?
- Stan - NC State: Gartner provides the alert service as part of their service.
- Rick - SUNY Buffalo: Maybe we should be saying "IT-consulting-firm-that-should-not-be-named"?
- Cathy - Miami: I would say people in academia see marketing as evil - not just IT!
- Lynn-UGA: Is the article available through the EDUCAUSE-GARTNER partnership
- Carlyn - Rice: love getting the techies to tell stories!
- University of Manitoba/Gabrielle: At the University of Manitoba we're just working on our service catalogue as part of marketing/selling
- Carlyn - Rice: I remember a radio station that used to say "we're the only radio station in Houston with color weather radar" and I was like "duh - it's radio, we can't see color." They were talking about the service, not what value it was to their listeners
- Sheri Thompson - LSU: Leading Change John Kotter
- Rick - SUNY Buffalo: HBS Press, ISBN 0-87584-747-1
- Stan - NC State: Tjhanks Carylnn and David
- University of Manitoba/Gabrielle: This was really beneficial, thanks
- Dawn Sadler: Very beneficial!
- Amy - Trinity University: This was great. Thank you!
- Gregory Stauffer 2: Thank you, Carlynn.
- Alison Cruess - Univ of North Fla: Thank you, Carlyn, for making these coffee shops happen!