Marketing might seem like an odd thing to include on TechNet but it’s actually a vital resource for a successful IT department..
Twenty years ago in a building far far away I led a small project team inside HM Customs & Excise (way before it merged into HMRC). Our application was designed to get investigators to share information previously held in locked cabinet and notebooks to improve intelligence gathering and ensure operations didn’t inadvertently overlap. The application development side was going fine the challenge we faced was getting our user base at the various entry points into the UK to use and that meant marketing. We did this by getting our best users to be ambassadors to evangelise to others and they also wrote the manual and online help in Customs speak.
Later on I worked on a number of business intelligence projects in the private sector and the challenge we faced here was that our new solution was actually more accurate than what it replaced. This meant that results seemed to fly in the face of what was expected and we had to build trust in the system as well as carefully train users as in a more powerful and flexible solution it can be easier to make a mistake and come up with the wrong result. The solution was again marketing coupled with education and training.
At Microsoft I am on the receiving end of marketing from the internal IT guys (MSIT). It might be they just want me to upgrade or patch my machine but increasingly they are promoting a self select model where I can not only choose my device but also which version of Office and Windows I need and I can sign up for Elite programs to be the an early adopter which helps them test deployments and get feedback as well as having a core of users to promote the next big thing. MSIT make use of Yammer to directly illicit the coffee point gossip and get feedback on things like fitting out meeting rooms with the latest unified comms gear and issues with certain devices.
This might still seem like unnecessary fluff to some but in a world of cloud and outsourcing we not only need to do a great job but we need to show that we are relevant to the success of the business. That’s why this sort of stuff is part of ITIL as Ed mentions in his article. Sadly there isn’t a Microsoft Virtual Academy course on this so why not pop round to the marketing/PR department and see how they do things and apply their expertise internally.
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