Do you take technology for granted until you need it? Collaboration in a calamity

Sometimes new technology fades into the background, and you forget what you did before it existed. But sometimes, you forget what it can do for you – you fall into the trap of using the bits you’ve always used, and not using the newer features until you’re forced to.

For me, one of those ‘forced to’ moments came when I had to turn a face-to-face training day into an online day, to cope with terrible weather that closed our training venue. It pushed me into using Live Meeting and remote webcams and conferencing – and I’ve not looked back since.

I saw a similar story today when reading the news on the website (which is a regular read for me, as it helps me to keep up to date with the kinds of business and technology challenges our customers face). The story’s from a university in the States, so we’re not likely to be hit by the same kind of snow blizzard, but this summer seems to have been full of other types of weather problems, so I’m sure there are parallels:


Winconsin blizzard vs data center: How Marquette won

When Marquette University’s IT department deployed unified communications tools to improve collaboration among faculty and staff – IT staff collaboration wasn’t the priority. But as it turned out, Microsoft’s Lync suite of voice, videoconferencing and instant messaging tools proved to be IT’s life raft during a snowstorm-related data center calamity.

During a January blizzard so snowy that the Milwaukee-based university closed, the HVAC units that run Marquette’s data center short circuited, after wind-driven snow piled up and then melted inside the air conditioning condensers on the roof.


I’d recommend reading the full story online, because there are plenty of lessons in the story if you’re running a team – whether or not you’re running a data centre!