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Collaborating with IT: Our Approach

By:
September 23, 2015

As business and marketing functions have shifted online and mobile, the demands on Information Technology (IT) departments have grown and changed. Faster technology adoption and the melding of personal/business technology add to the challenge.

Not only does IT need to make sure everything inside the organization is working – they also must keep aware of how technology outside the organization is being used. A 2014 global survey found that 37 percent of technology spending is now controlled by departments outside of IT.

And while so many of the factors that affect IT are now shaped or controlled by other departments and stakeholders, IT is still accountable for the impact of technology on operations. As a result, it is critical to understand the pressures they face and to support IT departments when planning, designing, and implementing user experience solutions.

Technology Tensions

This new reality is a recipe for a certain degree of tension between business leaders and IT departments. IT is generally seeking and mandated to provide standardization, predictability, cost efficiency, and security. But that can seem restrictive in a business climate in search of the cutting edge ideas of tomorrow.

Business leaders are seeking disruption, differentiation and, ultimately, new customers. Each department has a mandate, and they sometimes conflict with each other.

At Crux Collaborative, we can help find common ground. Through our user experience services, we help clients discover and simplify cutting edge ideas. We then make IT’s job easier by helping to turn the ideas into a reality. Most important, we help foster collaboration between the groups toward a shared goal. Finally, we make sure to help troubleshoot during the implementation phase when the approach may need to be modified to accommodate technological or data constraints.

 

What We Bring to the Table

We work with large organizations in highly regulated industries. Business leaders often engage us because we can deliver quality and speed. We’re a small, nimble team – and our decades of combined experience help us conquer complex projects quickly.

Over the years, we’ve encountered folks from IT who view us with skepticism at first. We don’t blame them. We represent yet another “unknown” for them to factor into their planning and they have often had to deal with vendors who don’t understand or respect technological constraints.

What IT groups soon discover is that working with Crux Collaborative makes their job easier. That is how we view our role and tailor our deliverables.

We collaborate well with IT departments, in part, because we understand what it means to be accountable 24/7. You may not know that in addition to user experience services – we also design, build, and maintain evergreen business-critical systems for several large clients. Our clients use these applications year-round to manage and distribute custom content and data.

Collaboration with IT

Our capabilities include everything from custom offline site demos to rapid prototypes to web apps. We work on multiple platforms and can work with a variety of scripting languages and front-end tools.

We support and involve IT departments during all three major phases of each project: planning, design, and implementation.

  1. Planning Phase
    In most cases, we begin early in the project to develop a technical strategy. This is a document that lays out the technical expectations. We’ve found this to be invaluable in establishing clear lines of communication and providing IT with some important details around what our role will be and what we will deliver. We make sure that the IT teams have the opportunity to be involved early enough to tell us what the expectations and technological constraints are before a single feature is defined or a single wireframe is made.
  2. Design Phase
    During the design phase, we work within known constraints to begin turning the strategy into a reality. We continually collaborate with IT to validate that our understanding is complete and correct, provide progress updates, and work together to incorporate changes and resolve issues in order to keep the project moving forward.
  3. Implementation Phase
    Throughout the early phases of the project we are preparing for the implementation phase. We plan for and deliver the things that will be most useful for your IT team as they begin the hard work of implementing and delivering the solutions. Our main goal in working with IT is to lessen their burden. For IT teams that prefer to code from scratch, they often request a fully designed, working prototype which they can model their build after – and then test against.In other cases, we take additional steps like conducting visual quality assurance testing and accessibility testing – then create easy-to-use templates that the IT team can slice up and not have to worry about as much debugging later.

Each organization is different and we tailor our approach to meet your IT group’s needs.

No matter the scenario, we believe we can adapt our style of collaboration to make the project a positive experience for the IT team. Several of the IT teams we’ve worked with have not only grown to trust and enjoy working with us, but have come back to us and said, “Why worry about the front-end coding when you guys make it easier?” We consider this to be the highest compliment.

If you’re thinking about lightening the load on your busy IT team, contact us. We’d be happy to walk you through our process in further detail and discuss how we can help you reach the finish line faster.

By Tony Johnson
Senior Front-end Developer

Tony has spent well over a decade building interactive applications. He collaborates in the full life cycle of projects – bringing a unique blend of technical savvy, creativity and strategic thinking to our user experience consulting services.

View Tony's Bio

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