One of the highlights of last week for me was kicking off our Tuesday ITS teams meetings. The room was filled with great people, energy, enthusiasm and anticipation. We kicked off our meeting with a “state of the universe” with our Google Apps (GAFE) environment.
We started to talk about goals for this year which led to discussion about the need to further develop our support model. Sounds easy. Seems traditional. We want users to feel well supported and offer timely assistance as needed.
Then it happened, THE disruptive question: Where is this all going? Then more questions: On what timeline? What can we stop doing? How do we improve ‘this’? How do we solve ‘that’?
The broad strokes answer is we are going to the cloud where we have anytime anywhere access, device agnostic functionality and no dependancy on any particular OS. At what rate? With what feature set? With what issues? — the bottom line is no one really knows. Things are changing more rapidly than ever before — and certainly faster than traditional support mechanisms can be designed, learned, documented, workshopped and people can be ready to answer help desk tickets with tiered support levels can be put in place. In my view, this journey is much more like building the plane while you are flying it. Support in this rapidly changing state might mean best effort or we are researching — a far cry from the comfort of a more traditional and methodical approach.
Finally someone stated “but we haven’t functioned or learned in this ‘just in time’ mode before.” BINGO! – it is new and and feels uncomfortable, really uncomfortable. IT staff are supposed to know all the answers. Yet, I believe being in this is the new fluid “technology existence” is the new norm.
I emphasized a few key points to help the conversation end in a good place. The bottom line: the smartest person in the room IS the room. This type of scenario is a great chance for an IT department to play, learn together, collaborate and share — ultimately put themselves and their learning out there to give students and staff the opportunity to use the latest tools to support learning.
Image from: chdairiesdiary.wordpress.com
I hope that our user community appreciates the balance of risk taking and just in time learning to offer great technology enabled learning environments.