The BSU Chapter Two

Des Walsh make a great point in response to my last post about IT departments being “Business Suppression Units.” He suggested that the solution “shouldn’t all be one way.” He’s right.

John Wonders, the guy who runs LinkedinMilwaukee and who’s also a crack IT guy who made the point that often it isn’t IT but upper management that’s the obstacle. Another good point.

Here’s what’s worked for me in getting things set up outside the usual bureaucracy:

  1. Learn what you’re talking about. You probably do already, but before you go charging to IT claiming that it will take only “5 minutes” to install that new blog that will save the department/company/etc, make sure you’re right. You’ll still be wrong, because good IT people will always build things to a higher standard than you or I will, but they’ll know you weren’t too wrong.
  2. Be realistic about your needs. I’ve started several blogs and wikis at QuadTech in the interest of solving various problems, only to discover I’d dramatically over estimated the desire and savvy of my user base. That’s why I just host things on my desktop until the usage justifies more hardware. The goal is to get something started, that can grow and demonstrate, not to build the perfect solution.
  3. Take responsibility for what you’re doing. Don’t be a pest, and don’t expect IT to pour time into supporting your bootstrap project when you could be supporting yourself.
  4. In general try not to be someone who needs a lot from IT. This means not being the person who let the virus in, and not storehousing gigabytes of mp3s on your desktop, and doing anything else to raise their ire.
  5. Be persistent.
  6. Don’t begin until you have a vision of what you want and can communicate it, and the benefits, clearly and concisely.
  7. Work to understand IT’s valid concerns about security and privacy, and take them into account.

A lot of this new technology is scary to people. Heck, the very idea of free open source software is still a mystery to most business people – they can’t understand how it can be sustainable – and that makes it even harder to buy into.

What’s needed are people who have the vision and persistence to help their company leverage these new tools. If you can be one of those people, so much the better.

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