Roxanne Reynolds-Lair, CIO of Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising has a 30+ year history managing the institute's IT systems. Needless to say there has been plenty of change in IT, fashion, and in all the disciplines the college teaches. Most recently the changes have included social media and mobile integration. Although Lair has overcome all the obstacles of a changing technical world, she still wishes she had known a few things before starting her career in IT.
According to Reynolds-Lair, "Have one cohesive vision, but don't be afraid to mix it up. At FIDM, our infrastructure caters to the needs of several different audiences that all need to access and interact with the same data in different ways - our staff, the public, vendors and students. We need to pay attention to the needs and wants of each audience and create one cohesive vision. However, that may take a variety of tools, so that we can better customize our services for each unique audience. I've learned that multiple types of infrastructure and software can create the most efficient, seamless experience. For example, of the operating systems that run on our Power Server, we use IBM i to support cloud and on premise workloads. Our recently added PowerLinux partition runs our web apps. Linux's open standards made it the right choice for us to build customized apps, like our career quiz for prospective students, which is seamless within the context of the FIDM website. Strive to have "siq!!!" apps, as one student called it, or, in other words, stay current. Mobile was at the top of the list for our students - they are now thrilled they have access to their classes, calendar, campus hours and grades on the go - and my team is more than pleased by their enthusiastic response."
Collaboration is crucial.
"People make the difference. You can't implement a technology without strong collaboration and strong relationships. I have a great team at FIDM, but I also need great partners to make it happen. Working with IBM over the years means they know our business and understand our goals. They have been able to anticipate our needs and recommend solutions that enhance our existing infrastructure, helping to move us forward. We have also found a great business partner in Key Info, and we work with them all the time on the best way we can move the college forward with technology. As a result of working with our partners, over the years, we've been able to deploy the best tools while protecting our investments."