IT: More than Just Fixing Computers

Mason photoAbout the author: My name is Mason, I will be a junior at Oklahoma State University studying Management Information Systems. This summer, I am an Information Management Intern in the Information Security and Risk Management groups in Williams’ Tulsa office. At Oklahoma State I am heavily involved in Housing and Residential Life, Hall Government, Information Security and Awareness Club (ISAC), Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) and the Recreation and Outdoors Club (ROC).

Upon accepting my position at Williams, people would ask “What will you be doing there?”

“I’ll be working in IT.” I would answer.

“Oh, so you’ll be fixing computers all day?” Some would say with a sympathetic tone. This common occurrence illustrates one of the corporate world’s greatest misconceptions.

One of the things that most struck a chord with me upon my introduction to the Williams culture was the unique nomenclature assigned to the company’s technological division. In most instances you will find IT (Information Technology) is the most commonly used title. However, Williams began using IM (Information Management), and this transition is not just a change in name, but rather the result of the modernization of corporate culture, and IT’s coming of age. In this case, a rose called by another name takes on a different scent.

The traditional view of IT is as a Technology Contractor, and this attitude made for a ‘utility’ oriented department that ‘fixed’ problems. What we really hope to accomplish is the undertaking of a more strategic role that enables Williams to achieve High Growth objectives. This means foreseeing problems, preventing them, and finding ways to improve processes and deliver information (not just data). IM isn’t just the help desk, as many assume. IM designs, builds, and maintains the networks, telecommunications, databases, websites and more, while also enabling business projections and facilitating the projects undertaken by every other department within the company. As Brian Letzkus, Williams’ CIO, said, “Help desk is only about 5% of what we do.”

We’re not a one trick pony.

 

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