Data must always be presented with a story in mind. Data without a story is nothing but a confusing bag of numbers. For example, if you were presented with a number, say, 25,338.84, would that figure have any meaning to you? Of course not, as it is without context. However, if one was to say that the figure represents the closing market value of the DOW Jones Industrial Average yesterday, then it's a number worth noting.
Institutions of Higher Education design web experiences to provide a service. In rare occasions, whenever dealing with new students or retention, schools attempt to gather intelligence about student intent. If institutions are able to understand intent, admissions staff can engage a potential student in a way that inspires them to achieve that which they want, generating a win-win relationship that will hopefully last a lifetime.
With every challenge that we face as professionals comes an opportunity for each of us to deliver improved, measurable results and exceed expectations. Seek out pristine points of reference in your professional and life experiences.
Value does not exist by itself; value exists in the connections made between things. As a growing software and services company, we believe value requires interpretation. Sometimes the value doesn't come in the form of a delivered solution, but rather later, when one creates a report or illustrates with data the impact that a solution has had on an operation (and perhaps on its bottom line).
What was once considered an institution's brand is now less about the look and feel of a logo, the presentation of a publication, or even the main website, and more about the communications shared and the experiences one has when interacting with members of the campus community.
Information Technology needs a call to inspiration. Many technologists we know in Higher Education have been confused by the messages purported by others, and over time, forgotten the real purpose of serving as technologists within an institution. We believe campuses are ripe for a revitalization, and the return of the creative, disciplined spirit that brought with it so many technological innovations over the past few decades.
With a completed disaster recover planning document in hand, the time has arrived to present the information gathered to the entire executive cabinet of your institution. Just as you have no choice but to provide them with service, they have no choice but to care. They need to understand the state of the technology in the business.
In a complex business such as an institution of Higher Education, we depend of each other's function the same way businesses vitally depend on each other. The difference is that instead of causing the closing of a business, internal restrictive policies cause deep inefficiencies in the functions of the college.
When it comes to disaster recovery planning and the circulation of information, we believe it is best absorbed when presented consistently and repeatedly. So, once you have created the plan for restoring systems in the event of failure, remember to use a familiar format. Include a paragraph about the purpose of each system, and always re-distribute the same document with relevant updates highlighted.
Not all solutions are fixed price, and time and materials costs can impact the decision to green light a project or table it for a later time. Changes to scope or additional requirements can result in a change request and cost overruns. Those costs can make or break a project. Three critical factors can weigh heavily on the overall success of your next project.
By addressing systems of lesser overall importance first, your team has the opportunity to become comfortable with discussing disaster recovery with stakeholders. This exercise will serve as an easy introduction into how to justify cost and importance externally. Document the cost of redundancy, security, and performance in a suggested list of key metrics.
With a list of critical systems, a matrix of priorities, and a measure of preparedness, it’s now time to create goals around the plan. Focus on what can be done in the short term to develop and/or improve a response to how restoring each system will help ensure business continuity. Once that is completed, make notes on how the plan might be improved from year to year.
Ask your team, “In terms of preparedness (on a scale of 0-100), how close is the institution to being able to restore each system quickly and effectively, based on the priorities that have been set?” Are you near your goal, or is there a lot of work to be done before feeling more confident in your team’s response?
The concept of a disaster recovery plan is simple: ensure business continuity in the wake of an emergency. If something goes wrong, how fast can order be restored?
We believe there is a clear path towards finding that stability and reliability that every institution deserves. Best practices surrounding disaster recovery are ripe and ready to be employed by institutions willing to make the time. And because we are connected everywhere, at any time, the reality is that with a little bit of preparation and planning and support, we don’t have to wait until our retirement plan is in repayment before we have a chance to enjoy some peace of mind.