The IT staff at West Virginia University knows that getting users to buy in to new technology makes all the difference in whether a project succeeds. That’s why, when it was time to roll out WVU’s identity management system, the university took great pains to communicate its goals to students, faculty and staff alike.
“This was a major change and what we found is that most people thought that identity management means single sign-on,” says Mark Six, executive director in the university’s Office of IT.
But that’s not what an identity management system does. Six says his team needed to help the system’s users understand that, with identity management, a log-on is still required to access an application, but one user name and one password provides single sign-on for all their apps.
To get the word out, WVU’s IT staff communicated to the faculty and staff via the university communications department’s e-newsletter, the student newspaper and a blog on the OIT site. All those communications directed users back to a main identity management site on the OIT website.
For people with common names such as Smith or Jones, where potentially there could be identity conflicts (for example, two jsmiths for jim smith), Six says the IT department sent e-mail and, in some cases, made special phone calls or set up face-to-face meetings to work out the naming conflicts.
“We made a concerted effort to set expectations, give people a clear understanding of our goals and use multiple communications outlets,” Six says.