Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 12/19/2012 | 17 comments

Susan Nunziata
When a higher education CIO takes time to collaborate with faculty and administrators, the resulting innovations can have far-reaching effects.

Such is the case at Clemson University. The creation of a Social Media Listening Center (SMLC) was a direct result of the school's CIO collaborating with faculty, according to Jason Thatcher, an associate professor of management, who serves as the center's academic lead.

"Typically, my colleagues looked at IT as wallpaper," Thatcher told us during Dell World 2012 this month in Austin, Texas. "Now, the academic parts of the university are collaborating with the CIO.

In a February press release, Clemson explained what the SMLC does:

The center enables students to monitor thousands of online conversations about organizations, brands, products and services on a global scale in real time. This allows for sophisticated review, routing and response to social media posts and content.

Clemson CIO Jim Bottum said in the release that he learned about a social media listening center during a visit to Dell's headquarters in 2011. He proposed a partnership that would involve student engagement, faculty research, and an environment to test the value of the center in helping an IT organization move into a proactive service position.

"When I returned to campus and talked to faculty, students and staff about the Social Media Listening Center, I sensed a very high level of interest and excitement -- more so about this project than any other technology we've undertaken at Clemson," Bottum said. "They were from a wide range of disciplines, too, including business, communication studies, psychology, marketing, computing and others. The center is inherently interdisciplinary and focuses on an area where all students and a growing segment of our population lives: social media."

According to Clemson, the SMLC has six large display screens that faculty and students monitor, making it similar to a small network operations center. Salesforce Radian6 provides the platform to listen, discover, measure, and engage in conversations across the Web by capturing more than 150 million sources of social media conversations, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs. The Radian6 summary dashboard provides a graphic display of social media content to convey sentiment, share of voice, trend information, geolocation data, and more.

Thatcher said the SMLC is just one example of how Bottum, who joined the school about five years ago, has bridged the divide between faculty and IT. The first step was addressing a decentralized IT organization that was siloed in different university departments. Bottum centralized the IT organization under a more cogent management structure, and the benefits were immediately felt on campus, Thatcher said. For example, IT built its infrastructure on a condo-style model that's shared across departments. If there's spare processing power, any department can utilize it. "When you learn to share resources, it's a very different approach."

Persistent workaday problems were also addressed. The frequent email outages ceased, and network limitations were resolved. Most importantly, Bottum "gets that teaching matters."

As a result, the entire IT organization "now understands the faculty's needs better," Thatcher said. "They truly understand that when email goes down, it's not just an inconvenience. It disrupts important research projects. The CIO believes in customer service. It's now much easier for me to reach out and touch IT."

The greatest benefit to date has come via the SMLC, which has attracted corporate CIOs from around the country to tour the facility and consider ways to engage the university in using the tools for brand research. "We've had 41 companies come through for tours so far," Thatcher said.

The university's technology advances have also attracted top-notch faculty to work at Clemson, he said. "I've had faculty who say they come to work here because of our computing environment."

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Syerita Turner   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/2/2013 11:13:33 AM
Re: Many good ideas come from collaboration
I agree that learning the best practices surrounding a concept will prove to be helpful in using it to its maximum benefit in the future.
MDMConsult   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/1/2013 2:27:22 AM
Re: Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate
Yes, Collaboration should be confronted with good communication. Confidence and independence should be instilled. Everyone makes mistakes in the learning process but the ability to confront, make the right decisions, talking it through will benefit in the long term.
michaelsumastre   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/1/2013 1:18:30 AM
Re: Many good ideas come from collaboration


Also, I can already foresee that the program teaches everyone, especially the kids, how to be more responsible in social media and networking websites. For one, they know that someone is monitoring them. Second, they themselves become involved in the gathering and collaboration of data, so they know how information from social media can be both positive and not, depending on what's being said, how it's shared, and how it's being interpreted. Third, they will realize that social media is powerful and can be useful for positive reasons. They can actually do their share in making their campus life way better by using such tools.
michaelsumastre   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/1/2013 1:15:18 AM
Re: How are the online conversations screened??


I'd like to think that monitoring or management happens on a daily basis and that there are not a lot of students in the school compared to other academes within the area. If not, not all students regular tweet or go online to use social media or social network. Also, based on what Sara said, they monitor only those that are very specific to Clemson. So anything generic is not aggregated or stored. Of course, there a good number of students to handle the data, so the workload may be bearable. 
michaelsumastre   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/1/2013 1:12:22 AM
Re: student engagement
That's great, Sara! I know that these adults can already very well take care of their own, but it would make them as well as their parents feel more comfortable when they know they are accepted into the community. This hopefully then reduces the effects of bullying, which is basically happenings across all levels. But isn't that a bit intrusive? I hope the students wouldn't think the way. It's truly a nice sweet gesture at their end, after all. 
michaelsumastre   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   1/1/2013 1:06:28 AM
Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate
If only all types of organizations, not just businesses, are going to do this or collaborate, then the entire world will surely be a much better place. It's very interesting to note that one of such initiatives should come from the academe, which isn't IT centric in the first place. The collaboration allows all parties to learn from one another and that for me is such a rewarding experience. I wouldn't be surprised at all if many students and professors would want to join the program just to get additional learning. 
Syerita Turner   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   12/26/2012 1:26:28 PM
Re: Many good ideas come from collaboration
Interesting and good to see that the school is taking an approach to more intergration of technology to assist students with the communication between professor and student. More students will be amped to participate in discussion boards and group discussions using technology than in person situations. I applaud this and hope other schools are looking to follow along in their approach to learning.
sohaibmasood   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   12/23/2012 8:36:18 AM
Re: Many good ideas come from collaboration
Salik, students spend a lot of time these days on social media. If it provides them an opportunity to learn as well as interact at the same time, I think it will only help them groom. 
sohaibmasood   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   12/23/2012 8:35:03 AM
Re: student engagement
MDMConsult, I would just like to add another point to your very well written comment. 

Social media also provides positive reinforcement. Other students in other parts of the world will also have a model to relate to and hence if a similar thing is initiated there they would readily respond to it. 
MDMConsult   Innovation Happens When CIO, Faculty Collaborate   12/21/2012 7:49:53 AM
Re: student engagement
It is great. And for students social media messages such as these will make them feel at ease and comfortable during the process. Social Media encourages positive engagement, contribute thoughts, learn online and stay further connected with their school. Transitions like these are milestones for students. Having the school support the process through social is excellent.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata   5/28/2014   111 comments
For more than four years, (E2) has been the best IT community on the Internet. As with all good things, soon our time together here will end.
Susan Nunziata   5/20/2014   95 comments
Is it time to ask for a raise? If you're a female IT executive, or more than 55 years old, your answer might well be a resounding "Yes!" Let's take a look at highlights of the ...
Susan Nunziata   4/14/2014   15 comments
If you're looking for more than conjecture to back up the point that IT is increasingly crucial to the business, you'll find what you need in the report "The Gartner CEO and Senior ...
Susan Nunziata   4/7/2014   3 comments
Do you know what your CEO really wants from your IT team? Do you have a grasp of what matters most to your organization's chief marketing officer?
Susan Nunziata   4/1/2014   9 comments
There are plenty of challenges involved in leading an IT organization in the era of Bring Your Own Everything (BYOE), but there are also plenty of opportunities.
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.