CAD Manager's Newsletter (#359)23 Feb, 2016 By: Robert Green
How CAD Managers Can Work Effectively with the IT Department
If you strive to understand and educate your company's IT personnel instead of butting heads, everyone will benefit.
Over the course of the past 15 years, I've repeatedly surveyed CAD managers about industry trends, and one of the most striking changes I've seen in that time is the convergence of CAD management and IT. About one-third of CAD managers now report through the company IT infrastructure, but almost all CAD managers must work with an IT department to resolve workstation and network issues. Long story short, CAD managers increasingly need to work closely with IT personnel, so we should all have a game plan for doing so. Here goes.
For two parties to work well together, they must first understand and respect each other. For the IT department and CAD manager to reach an accord, the different emphases of each party need to be acknowledged and accepted. In my experience, the IT department's emphasis has always been to deliver computers and networks that work and to secure the company's data from loss, while the CAD manager tends to focus on speed and ease of use for the CAD users instead. These different emphases can lead to frustrations if the parties don't explain themselves to each other. Here are the two methods I've found that have worked for me:
Explain file sizes/permissions to IT: If the IT staff doesn't understand your fixation on speed and ease of file access, it's probably because they've never suffered through trying to resolve a 15-MB externally referenced base plan over a painfully slow network connection to a branch office. Showing the problem to the appropriate IT personnel should demonstrate your concerns clearly. Always remember that a lot of people in IT don't know much — if anything — about CAD, so you'll just have to teach them.
Accept IT limitations: If, after you've shown your speed concerns to IT, it becomes apparent that things are slow simply because the network connection is overtaxed and can't be upgraded, you need to accept the technical limitations IT is working with and look for other answers. After all, the IT department has budget and technical limitations just like you do, and they can't always do everything you'd like them to.
Now simply repeat the process of teaching and listening, and you'll notice that both you and the IT department are learning about each other as you work together more naturally. Keep at it, stay positive, and you will see results! Read more »
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