IT in the Ad Biz

Jun 15 2008   3:25PM GMT

Supporting Creative (Part 2)

JohnWilder John Wilder Profile: JohnWilder

When I first launched this blog, I pitched IT in the Advertising business as being unique. I also stated that much of that “uniqueness” was due to supporting Creative. Now that I’ve been writing this blog for several months, I’m beginning to wonder if the people we support are truly unique or not. The last time I discussed this topic, I also promised to talk about the differences between the typical IT person and the typical Creative person. I guess it’s time to take a crack at doing just that.

IT people and Creative generally don’t think alike, with IT people tending to be much more logical and Creatives being much more, well, Creative. I guess we could get into the whole right-brain, left-brained thing, but the bottom-line is that we tend to be different. Generally, this doesn’t cause many problems, and in fact we seem to work pretty well together.

There are many users in Creative who just don’t have that troubleshooting mentality when they encounter an issue. A simple example – when a document doesn’t print, try printing a different document, or try using a different printer. Over the years, we’ve found that many of our Creative users do catch on to these relatively simple troubleshooting steps we ask them to take, and now many of them have already tried these things before calling us. The part of this I wrestle with the most is whether they’re really any different from any other department we support in this respect.

However, I do think there are definitely IT types who don’t thrive in this environment. I’ve had IT guys over the years who are outstanding in what they do, but who just don’t have the personality to survive in this particular business. The problem comes when we try to hard down to lock things down, and to force too much structure on our users. It’s probably a whole lot easier to do in a financial environment. I can think of one IT person who struggled in our environment, and who is now thriving in an engineering company.

I’ve also found that you can find ways around the personality issues, but it’s only when you have options available to you because you’re growing. One of the things we’ve done in the past is to move folks who don’t thrive in the desktop support role into backroom IT roles as Systems Administrators. Keep them in the server room where they have less interaction with the end-users.

When I think about supporting Creative due to the personalities involved, I’m just not sure they are all that different from Account Service or other non-Creative departments. I keep coming back to the bigger issues and differences stemming from supporting Creative, and that’s the Mac-PC thing, and the file sizes they routinely deal with. Those issues outweigh by far any personality-type differences

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