Written by Lisa Polonski.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
We’ve heard it many times, so why not embrace it? Although often mistaken by senior management as one in the same, CAD and IT departments often segregate and have little to do with each other within an organization. On the contrary to this divide, as CAD Managers it should be a priority to close this gap. In fact, it is essential to productivity to maintain open lines of communication and work in harmony with the IT department.
Inventory & Future Planning
Ask the IT manager or member of the computer support department about the technology infrastructure in the CAD department. How many computers is CAD supporting? Number of software licenses and versions? Processors? Graphics cards and RAM? Monitors and resolution? Plotters and printers? They may have some or even most of these answers. But, ask about the path software upgrades are taking, specific file types (DGN, DWG, Land XML), etc., and it is likely there will be a gap in knowledge.
Information related to the technological infrastructure you are supporting in the CAD departments is essential to budgeting for updates, upgrades, and additional licensing. Only you understand the needs of your CAD department. With IT on your side, you can work to take inventory of what you have, to better plan for upgrades. You can work with IT to buy the right CAD workstations and set up procedures for storage of CAD data on the network.
Teaming with IT means being proactive, rather than reactive. You are the expert on software and with your knowledge of new software releases and upgrades, you can support IT in planning for those hardware and software upgrades that will be essential, as well as the implementation of network standards to solve problems before they happen.
Communication to Senior Management
Senior manager may often assume that IT management is enough to support technology infrastructure and CAD needs. As a CAD manager it is important to stay valuable in the eyes of your employer. Working with IT to inventory current technology and carefully plan for upgrades and user training, allows for more informed reporting to senior management.
As a CAD manager, you can incorporate more insight into predicted ROI scenarios that occur as a result of increased efficiency due to upgraded hardware that allows software and users to perform at full capacity. (See the sample spreadsheet related to hardware upgrades and improved performance and user efficiency.) Having IT on your side, helps to make the case for improvements related to 3-year technology plans and the rate of technological change.
Managed Services Options
We know that as the CAD manager you have a ton on your plate and getting cozy with your IT department does not top the list. Partnering with a CAD managed services provider can free you to complete project work, while they perform the inventory of your current technology infrastructure and become the liaison between CAD and IT. Managed service providers have the expertise in a diverse set of software programs and the future versions and upgrades ahead. They know the system requirements that will be required to allow for peak user and software performance. Reports and analyses always communicate clearly the necessity and ROI that senior management wants to see.
If you would like to learn more about closing the CAD/IT deep divide and how CAD Managed Services can help, explore this website or give us a call at (608) 836-3903. We’d like to assist in uniting your technology and design departments to implement efficiency that “stands” the test of time!
People also read – Through the Looking-Glass of Senior Management (Part 1)
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It is somewhat disssapointing to read that this is one sidedly pointed to CAD Managers and not also to IT personnel. While it is good to attempt to go the extra mile across the “deep divide”, it would be very beneficial, by all parties concerned to also view the other side of this discussion.