As well as introducing formal, management-level methods of communication between IT and business at WS Atkins, Lesley Hume, IS director, does not neglect the more informal methods as well.
She says, "We do all the usual internal communications, such as newsletters from IT, and the intranet - where hits are on the increase - and mass e-mails, where we need to hit a large audience, with links to intranet pages. I also run regular competitions where computers can be won by business staff. It is all a question of doing whatever it takes to get the horse to the water."
One effective way is to hold technology surgeries in places like coffee shops and rest areas, so staff can relate any problems they are having. But this needs to be done with a promotional twist to encourage staff to come along.
"We demo new kit - the latest PDAs and so on. All the toys for the boys," she said.
The classic corporate approaches to breaking down barriers between staff and departments are also used.
"We do team-building and coaching sessions, with motivational speakers to put people in the right frame of mind," said Hume.
"We also have family days out, summer barbeques, Christmas parties and, just recently, a Halloween party. Children are great for breaking the ice. We also initiate cross-departmental events like taking part in a rowing regatta."
Hume also makes a point of informal contact with senior management. "I try and spend time in the executive suite, and ask if they have any issues with their own technology, such as their PDAs or their 'mail-on-the-move' devices. It all helps to move the conversation along."
She added, "I've also been incredibly fortunate in having the full support of our finance director."
Hume also ensures she makes the most of an often overlooked method of corporate networking. "My PA is great at networking with all the other executive secretaries, and we hold informal technology user forums where I buy all the executive secretaries lunch."
IT staff also network on the move. "Training instructors go floor-walking, wearing IT T-shirts, asking other staff if they have any IT issues, and pointing them towards the IT training that is available. Our IT service delivery guys will do the same when they have gone along to reboot someone's PC - it all helps to identify user needs."
Hume also seeks to move IT further out still, to touch base with WS Atkins' clients.
"I ask the SBUs to have their client meetings in my office, and then take a tour of the IT department," she said.
With project work with clients having an ever-increasing IT dimension, this aspect of communicating IT skills and expertise beyond the company is gaining in importance, said Hume.
"A bid can require a lot of complex IT, so we need to be involved."