It’s clear that communications technology is evolving rapidly, and we’re seeing some organizations restructure to combine audiovisual and information technology departments into one team. As an audiovisual integration company that works closely with clients across multiple industry sectors, we know firsthand the important role that a blended technology team can serve in any integration project.
A recent CCS installation at Seaboard International
It’s imperative that both the audiovisual and information technology managers understand their roles and how to use the expertise of everyone on the team to accomplish the common goal. Approaching any project with a team mentality can streamline its implementation. These may seem like obvious statements, but you would be surprised by how many organizations do not have these systems in place for day-to-day operations.
Many of our CCS team members have worked on the end-user side before, so coupling both perspectives, here are our top five suggestions for creating a solid blended tech team in your organization.
1. Efficient Project Management
Identifying and assigning strong leaders internally is key to getting a project done in a timely and successful manner. Make sure that your project team has designated managers as well as additional resources to handle each specific element, if needed. Both the audiovisual and information technology managers must understand their specific roles, specific expectations, and be fully supported to execute each project goal. Micromanaging is wasted time and money—strong project managers can be especially helpful in seeing the big picture, moving the project forward, and troubleshooting along the way, if necessary. If you are utilizing an outside source as part of the project team, collaboration thus becomes an integral part of the overall process. When a project is led by effective managers, the organization can reap the full benefits once it is implemented.
2. Use Your Talent(s) the Right Way
You likely have a list of A-team employees to work with, but they may need some nurturing from their tech or facility manger to be most effective when tackling technology projects. Small things, such as obtaining specific certifications or attending industry training sessions, can vastly improve their skillsets, knowledge, and confidence. It’s also helpful to ensure your team has clearly defined roles to prevent confusion about responsibilities and expectations. This improves efficiency, especially if your team is small. It also helps to match expertise and skills with project tasks to predetermine the team’s limits and when it makes sense to enlist outside assistance.
If a project involves multiple sources or incorporates sophisticated control systems that require specialized programming, it’s a good indicator that you’ll need to extend your project team by utilizing an outside integrator.
3. The Communication Factor
Establish best practices that clearly define expectations and deadlines.
Effective team leaders will utilize these protocols to improve communication among the project team. The communication factor extends to the entire organization— a variable that is often overlooked when daily tasks and responsibilities pile up. If working with an integrator, you’ll need to effectively communicate your team’s vision, specific project needs and wants, as well as design, specifications, and budget. The more specific you are, the better.
4. Workflow Process
This is one of the most important elements. Establishing a process early on is important. For instance, you might want to start assigning team members to conduct initial research and then vet the potential impact or importance. From here you can determine a clear vision and establish overarching goals. Once this is completed, you will want to design an action plan for implementation and include a schedule to keep everyone on track. Determine how to measure the success of the initiative. If you are working with an integrator, you’ll want to make sure after the initial site visit, you are provided a scope of work and proposal. Once that is accepted, design drawings are completed and product availability and lead time are established prior to installation. It helps to know what the integrator process consists of in order to communicate options clearly to upper management and internal decision makers.
Relationships are just as important as management structure. The technology needs of your stakeholders and users are constantly evolving with the times. To understand their needs and make decisions, you must lead a team that can truly listen to others and translates their needs to ascertain upgrade paths. This goes both ways. When you see a change that needs to be made, but leadership doesn’t necessarily agree, it will be easier to obtain buy-in if a proper relationship has been established. Relationships with integrators are also helpful, especially for largescale projects. An integrator with a strong manufacturer network can help you meet deadlines and troubleshoot when necessary.
Chris Gamst is VP of CCS New England, part of one of the top AV integrators in the country.
CCS New England
InfoComm International’s Educational Offerings