Keep Talking

Stephanie Overby schreibt unter anderem für die US-Schwesterpublikation
Zu den Best-Practice-Regeln für CIOs gehört Kommunikation. Durch den Kontakt zur Geschäftsführung und den Anwendern wächst nicht nur das Verständnis für die IT, wie sich in der Umfrage "State of the CIO" der US-Ausgabe von CIO zeigt.

Quelle: CIO, USA

If you ask Becky Autry what she spends most of her time on as CIO of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), she'll tell you without question it's communication. And like many successful CIOs, she sees the benefit of communicating with users - from business leaders on down - outside the course of specific IT initiatives.

According to "The State of the CIO 2003" survey, 56 percent of best practices CIOs say that communication with the user population at large is indispensable. There are about as many ways to communicate with users as there are CIOs who do so, but some clear trends show up in the kinds of efforts that work best.

Show and Tell

For Autry, communication with her nearly 600 users - some working at the Colorado Springs headquarters, some located at training camps and others traveling all over the country - comes in a variety of forms. At the highest level, she issues a State of IT report each quarter on the USOC intranet, detailing what the technology team did in the previous quarter and what's coming next. Although the online report was far from a hit initially, Autry (a 29-year veteran of IT) knew she had to keep publishing. "The first time you put something out there, you might not get the response that you expect, but you can't just drop it. You have to keep at it," she says.

Since Autry deals with what amounts to several different businesses within the USOC - from training camps that operate much like hotels to a sports medicine facility that needs health-care-type applications - the report shows users who are vying for her services what's going on outside their own departments and why IT has said no to certain requests. The report also reveals work done by IT that's easily overlooked by users, such as antivirus projects.

In addition, Autry periodically holds an IT open house, where her team displays technology at work in various areas of the USOC. Often, an employee from one business department will see an application being used by another group and will think of how to make it work for himself. A hands-on supplement to the quarterly IT reports, these gatherings give users a clearer understanding of how IT works than they can get from just reading. "They'll see something and say, Hey, I could use that," says Autry. "And then you have a new project that is the users' idea, and they have a stake in it."

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