TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:MIS Is Not the Enemy From:George Hayhoe <GFHayhoe -at- AOL -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 30 May 1995 09:39:05 -0400
In response to Robert Plamondon's observations about MIS departments, I offer
my own experience:
I worked in a corporate Information Technology (IT) organization for 11
years, five as a consultant and six as an employee. I found that most of
these people were intelligent and quite willing to listen to the tech pubs
group's needs. In fact, they were quite relieved to find folks who were
sympathetic to their problems and knowledgeable of general users'
requirements as well.
Their biggest problem was getting the user community involved in making
decisions which would affect them; their second biggest problem was dealing
with the hell that users raised after decisions had already been made,
sometimes at the cost of hundreds of thousands of company dollars.
For us, the key was to establish advance contacts with MIS so they would
involve us at the start of any project that would impact our needs and so we
could represent the needs of other users as well as our own. Because of our
contacts throughout the company, we could often suggest others who needed to
The result was that everyone came out a winner. MIS got better requirements
for their hardware/software solultions, users got what they actually needed
rather than what MIS thought they needed, and we in the tech pubs group
didn't get saddled with technology that didn't work for us.
Rather than bashing MIS, we tech comm types ought to be partnering with the
computing folks. We're a microcosm of typical end users, the ideal evaluators
and testers of the technology that MIS wants to deliver. Instead of bashing,
let's cooperate. That way, everyone's better off, and IT solutions are true
solutions, not another set of problems.