Lassos and Warren on “Bridging the Gap Between IT and Comms” Event Review

On Wednesday, April 30th, IABC Los Angeles hosted “Bridging the Gap Between IT and Comms” with featured speaker Alan Lewis, VP, Client Engagement for JCS Consulting.  The event produced heavy participation by attendees in a conversational Q&A and sharing of case stories throughout Alan’s presentation. (Audio files of Alan’s presentation will be available shortly.)

We’re delighted IABC-LA members and attendees Charlotte Lassos, President, Straight Up Communications, and Janie Warren, Sr. Communications Representative, Enterprise Systems Learning & Communications, The Walt Disney Company, each provided her own p.o.v. of the event:

Charlotte’s Wrap-Up:

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Charlotte Lassos

 As communicators, we look to technology to make our jobs easier. We want tools that help us work more efficiently, speed things along, and ultimately, facilitate collaboration. We usually know what we want, what outcome we want to achieve, and that the tools are probably available. However, working with IT in a corporate environment to make it happen can be a different story all together.

I had the pleasure of attending the recent IABC-LA event “Bridging the Gap Between IT and Comms” presented by Alan Lewis. I found the presentation to be very informative and highlighted by lively dialogue.   Alan’s presentation covered a brief psychological overview of the IT professional, how to work with IT, cloud-based solutions that can help communicators innovate, and Communication 2.0 within an organization. He provided case study highlights and examples of his recent work with DIRECTV to implement a cloud-based collaboration platform, with built-in metrics, that has transformed they way work gets done at the company. By serving as an advocate of both teams, Alan was able to help communicators at DIRECTV get the solutions they needed in place while maintaining IT’s security requirements.   For me, the takeaways from this presentation include:

  • In the “old-school” way of thinking, IT professionals exist to fix problems. If you need their assistance with new technology, make a solid business case and present the business requirements necessary to help solve your communications challenge.
  • On-premise servers ARE, and will, move to cloud-based servers and organizations need to be ready for this change.
  • The emergence of cloud-based social business platforms will change the way work gets done. Social business harnesses the trends in market today, helping to change the business models of yesterday and drive brands forward into the operating modes of tomorrow.
  • Employees want to work with current and innovative technology tools, as well as the same social tools they use in their personal lives.
  • Corporate communicators can test cloud-based solutions on a small group within the organization based on business requirements presented. The group’s success can then be used to make a business case for use of that tool/solution enterprise wide. This may help organizations using the on-premise server model where the lack of timely software updates often stall productivity.
  • Bonus takeaway: one of the members recommended the book Grouped, by Paul Adams. The book is described as a useful resource for marketing and media practitioners on the subject of social networks.

I recently worked on a large project with a client to move from a traditional Intranet to an employee communication and collaboration portal. My role focused on content development and content management tools/processes. During this IABC discussion, I was able to draw parallels between the two projects and look at where things might have been done differently to further enhance the outcome on the client’s project. I gained additional knowledge to offer as possible solutions on future client projects.

By Charlotte Lassos Straight Up Communications

Janie’s Wrap-Up:

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Janie Warren

As a communicator in a finance/IT organization, I was elated to attend the IABC ‘Bridging the Gap between IT and Comms’ event.

The evening began in a lovely private “wine-cellar” type room of the Tin Roof Bistro, in Manhattan Beach, which included a variety of delectable eats from tasty cheeses to fruit, and let’s not forget the wine!  I had a chance to network with some fellow communicators, and then I carefully selected a seat towards the front of the room before the presentation began- I just knew I would have many, many questions.

I was immediately intrigued in the conversation ahead as the presenter, Alan Lewis, began his talk.  Not only does Alan have an IT background, he was extremely engaging and I instantly felt confident that I could ask any question.  In addition, the ‘open forum’ style of the event allowed for great conversation and experiences from an awesome group of like-minded communicators.

Topics included:  how an IT professional thinks, how to work best with IT, and how to utilize cloud based solutions in an organization.  As expected, I had quite a few comments and inquiries– all of which were addressed beautifully.   Since the event, I’ve begun to apply some of the lessons learned.  For instance, I now know that building relationships with IT pros can really make life easier.  I also understand the background of the ‘cloud’ and how to best utilize social solutions in the workplace.  I even received a great tip on a social habits book called Grouped which I plan to indulge real soon.

Overall, the presentation was excellent, Alan was very knowledgeable, and I especially enjoyed hearing different scenarios and perspectives from other attendees.  I look forward to the next IABC event!

By Janie Warren, Sr. Comms Rep, Enterprise Systems and Learning Comms – Disney

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