I’ve heard the word collaboration thrown around a lot since I left college. Rarely, though, have I seen it as effectively carried out as I did at the Southwest Ohio Municipality Technology group’s latest get together. This informal group shares strategies and experiences openly with the goal of bettering each other’s organizations. Each information technology professional in attendance provides updates to the group and gives input during the meeting.

At the most recent meeting, our CISO, Shannon Glass Fisher, presented alongside Vigilant Technology Solutions president, Chris Nyhuis. The presentation was excellent, but what really struck me was the interaction between, and feedback from, the group members. They were engaged and asked pinpoint questions to fully understand the topic. The group didn’t simply nod at everything presented or play on their phones, they honed in on whoever was speaking and furthered the conversation.

The presentation— it was more of a discussion— centered on the evolution of security, BYOD policies, and the best methods of data protection. Fisher and Nyhuis provided valuable insight for the group and sought to understand the specific challenges facing each government organization.     

Even though much of what was discussed was outside my areas of expertise, I still walked away with a plethora of new knowledge and greater respect for what IT experts do. Collaboration in its purest form can “reach outsiders” (i.e. A marketing professional in a room full of IT professionals) and send them away with new insights. This group not only accomplished that difficult task, it also serves as a network of skilled professionals who can ask questions and bounce ideas off of other skilled professionals.

Collaboration is an overused word in today’s business communities. However, when it is done well, it makes a difference. An atmosphere of trust and honesty facilitates learning and development. When people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions— the way they do in this technology group— collaboration is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a game-changer.

Byron Brown

Marketing Associate | Afidence

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