Do IT departments need to start hiring PR reps?
It’s no secret that there is a communication and sometimes a social gap between the folks in the IT department and the executive team and end users. The reason for the gap exists is due to many reasons of which some included the inability to properly describe issues to non technical people.
This gap has always existed but seems to be widening in recent years. I think as people continue to adopt cloud services and the app store model they find it harder to understand why IT teams still operate in the way they do. The business and end users will continue to demand services with short turnaround times and will want to be offered more choices than they had in the past.
To deal with this I think that the IT staff needs to learn new skills and become more adapt in messaging their services and describing outages to the business and users. This will help with how they are perceived and allow them to become the people there to help people work more efficiently rather than be seen as the creepy bunch of people locked away in the basement cubicles.
How to fix?
One option would be to send IT managers and team members to some type of communication workshop to try and improve their methods. I think this option would just fail 99% of the time. So the option most likely to succeed would be for the IT department to hire a PR rep. The IT PR person would work closely with the CIO and directors to craft the mission statement for the department and what their services are. Here are some things that would help with the perception of the IT staff.
- Communicate what services are available to the business and how they can and should be used.
- Properly communicate status of operations during service interruptions to the business.
- When root cause is identified communicate to leadership what the cause was and what steps were taken to mitigate the issue. (Example would be an Microsoft OS patch causes an issue with a number of servers. Did the team do testing in the lab ahead of deploying to production and such.)
- When the business is demanding some new cloud based type service. Help them understand what is available to them today and help with determining if the new solution is a valid option.
I know this is a radical idea and problem seems crazy to many. But I hear from a large number of questions that they experience these types of issues on a regular basis. During a recent project one of my teammates mentioned this idea and it really got me thinking. If you think I’m crazy or onto something drop a note in the comments.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design