by Matt Villano

Communicating IT Goals

from the Make-It-Amusing-Not-Dull dept

Communicating data center priorities to non-technical managers can be challenging, especially when many of these non-technical folks don't usually concern themselves with day-to-day operations in the data center.

That's when branding like a consumer vendor (think Budweiser or Coke) can come in handy.

Here's a lesson from the world of higher education. Last year, after some identity theft incidents, the folks at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge rolled out an in-house credit monitoring system designed to raise awareness among users (read: students) about phishing and the dangers associated with it. Admittedly, these are pretty dry topics. But the IT department got the word out in a fun and catchy way.

Their strategy revolved around an on-campus advertising campaign around "Tad Ramey," a dolt who regularly did dumb stuff like reply to email with personal information from a public terminal and shout out his Social Security Number in an open quad. The message of the campaign, "Don't be a Tad," (warning:pdf link) went out on bus ads and banners across campus.

Users heeded these warnings almost immediately, signing up for the credit monitoring service in droves. Reports from the school's CIO indicate identity theft is down considerably (of course until the next big hack attack, but we digress).

Obviously, this example deals with security, not the data center. Still, the idea here is the same -- by livening up complicated (and, to some, dull) concepts and priorities, it's easy to build a consistent campaign that resonates with non-technical users. Once you've got the attention of these users, it's that much easier to communicate with them.

Inside an enterprise, particularly concerning the data center, this might mean flyers in a lunchroom about new strides in datacenter energy management, ads on the company Intranet touting a new commitment to virtualization, even a Microsite about the importance of changing passwords.

The bottom line: innovation in communication comes with approaching the everyday from a new perspective. Just because it's the data center doesn't mean it can't be sexy.

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  • icon
    Liquid (profile), 17 Dec 2009 @ 8:07am

    Basic User Education

    Great way to spin end user education.

    Just so long as you don't use it to scare your users. That way they don't get to freaked out that they start to block you on stuff that needs to happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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