Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Visit to consumer trade shows anyone?

I've mentioned before that I'm a Gartner client, and as such have access to all Gartner 's research and to their excellent analysts. Today myself and the Executive team were lucky to have a visit from Mike Zastrocky, Research Director for Higher Education. We had a lively discussion and covered a number of topics. One point that was referred to many times, is the need for CIOs to develop marketing skills and become technology educators. It isn't enough to run IT and infrastructure services (although that is important), but we have to educate our customers and our senior management about the value of what we provide. We assume that everyone understands what we do, and understands the value of our services. But, in reality, our customers think we're expensive (they earn the money, we spend it), and think they can get equivalent services somewhere else. After all, how much does a terabyte of disc storage cost from PC World? We need to get out into the community, and particularly to the Senior Management Team, and educate them.

Mike presented the results of a recent survey which demonstrated that Executive Management Teams in Higher Education Institutions were not very knowledgeable on the either the future potential of IT developments, or, perhaps more importantly, the limitations. He also showed some research going back 15 years, which demonstrated that the drivers in IT had not changed significantly over that time.

He also made the point that to find out the latest in IT developments, we should be looking at the consumer market, and going to consumer trade shows. This is something I'm definitely going to take on board.

All University staff and students can access Gartner Research. If you log in to MUSE (the University portal), you can access a huge number of research papers on IT by going to the "Using MUSE" tab and under "Channel Guide" selecting "Gartner Research". If you want to access this regularly, you can add this channel by customising your layout to add it to your home tab or any other tab you've set up.


Richard said...

I'd have to agree with this.

I've attended University-focussed events, and although it's nice to find out how well we are doing compared to other institutions, it'd probably be more useful to attend a conference to see how far behind the curve we are with the more exciting developments.

Of course, proper conferences cost a lot more to attend, and are usually in more glamorous locations, but sometimes you just have to make sacrifices for your job.

William said...

It would interesting to know which curve you need to be on or in front of and why so much interest in the Gartner Group. From what I see the university spends most of its IT money on over-priced, legacy-bound German software not on new developments.