How Can Communicators Increase Profits?
I found the R. Stanley Dicks article in the Spilka book really interesting–especially the section on economics. Studying economics is passion of mine. While most people’s bookshelves are filled with great fiction, mine is filled with books on economics by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Adam Smith. I know. I’m a dork. But it is probably why I found this section of the Dicks article so fascinating. It also got me thinking how technical communicators can increase profits for their organization. Dicks article touched on some of this, but there wasn’t any real advise on how to increase profits. He basically says technical communicators need to show their value. They need to show that they are more than wordsmiths. I agree.
Technical communicators are in an interesting position in their organizations, well, at least in my experience anyways. Technical communicators typically know all the different facets of the organization because they work with all the departments. I’ve put this to work for me. Because I know all the parts of the organizations, I look for connections between groups and find ways for them to collaborate. For example, I work with one group that is responsible for managing Virtual Private Network (VPN) for the University of Minnesota. They provide VPN clients for people to download and install on their computers. I manage their website and documentation. I work with another group that uses Microsoft Active Directory to manage computers (e.g., deploy software, make updates, control power usage). Because I work with both groups, I made the connection that these two groups need to work together, so the VPN group can use Active Directory to deploy their VPN clients.
That is just one example of how I make connections to get people to work together. I wouldn’t have possible if I wasn’t familiar with both departments because of my work communicating for them. This example doesn’t translate directly into increase profits (Keep in mind I work in higher ed. There are no profits.). But it does translate into savings through increased efficiency.
I like the example I gave because I think it is something realistic that technical communicators can do to show their value to their organization.