Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Memo: Midwest information tech in big reorg

Anonymous@12:47 p.m. yesterday posted the following comment. The text is attributed to Phil Legler, Midwest Group IT director of Gannett's U.S. community newspaper division, and vice president for information technology at The Des Moines Register. This memo would confirm recent speculation on Gannett Blog. Here are some excerpts:

I am pleased to announce that effective today, we are establishing a Midwest Group Information Technology department. This is a move from local IT direction and structure at each of the operating units within the Midwest group to a department that will serve the entire Midwest group. (List of Gannett's four regional newspaper groups.)

Over the past 24 hours each of the IT employees within the group have been directly notified of this change and how it will impact their role. The change today is the beginning of an evolution, not a sudden change, which will provide positive changes in how information technology is supported and provided throughout the group.

The goal is to establish a cohesive organization that strives for consistency in process and technology allowing for greater business opportunity and value. We will be achieving this goal by aligning resources within teams of specific disciplines.

The structure of the department will align resources under three teams that include Client Services, Infrastructure Services, and Business & Analytical Systems. Each of these three teams will be under the leadership of a director-level position.

In the short term, the IT staff in each location will continue in their role as they have in the past. The initial phase of this new department structure will be discovery. During discovery we will focus on fully appreciating the people, priorities, needs and requirements of each operating unit. The discovery phase will allow for opportunities to be identified and implemented. Again, I want to emphasize that our new department is an evolution in change and not a sudden change in the way we perform our jobs.

Our long term goal is to be a cohesive organization that efficiently and effectively provides a high level of service while being a strong business partner.

If there are any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or any member of my leadership team listed above. Our team is focused on being as transparent as possible as well as fluid in our ongoing approach.

Phil Legler
Midwest Group IT Director,
USCP Vice President/Information Technology
Des Moines Register Media


  1. Thanks Phil. Now, what does that gobblygook mean? That memo is incomprehensible.

  2. No shit, 9:37. From what I could understand, everything he mentioned should be happening now.

    Such as this: The goal is to establish a cohesive organization that strives for consistency in process and technology allowing for greater business opportunity and value.

    So he's saying that's not happing now, under his watch? Why not? What's he been doing?

  3. Legler is a gannetter from birth. he's been indoctrinated from the beginning of his career with Gannett. Does what he's told, when to do it and how to do it. None of this is his fault or success. Empty head, empty suit. Gannett robot.

  4. It sounds like this is the beginning of regional IT hubs.

  5. So are the IT leadership members relocating to Des Moines? Is Des Moines adding staff?

  6. No one is relocating. It means that as staff is cut locally (which is going to happen regardless), they've come up with a plan to manage it across the group. So your main server guy leaves or is cut, and they use someone from a different location to take up the slack. It has to happen. And it should be happening across Gannett, but unfortunately, too many papers are acting as individual sites, and they don't have anyone to turn to after they lose people when the sh*t hits the fan.

  7. @10:08 - Not to put too fine a point on it but you are an idiot. The memo is really simple. The Midwest Group is consolidating the local IT reporting structure up to Phil Legler. Three groups are being created that represent the basic job functions that need to be staffed. Three people are being promoted to Director level positions to run these groups. They will review the skill sets of existing IT staff and determine which group they would best fit into.

    What's so hard to understand?

  8. So, is Des Moines adding staff or are they in jeopardy of losing positions?

  9. I guaran-damn-tee you this is not a move to add staff.

    The very best face that you can put on it is the lone IT guys/gals in St. Cloud or Sioux Falls or Fond Du Lac will have enough backup to finally take a shower once a week without having to take a baggie-wrapped iPad and phone in there with 'em.

    We are here to find the lowest possible level of service customers will accept. And if you are talking about internal customers - screw you, we have a monopoly. Like it or fix it yourself.

  10. This is a long-planned organizational change that was going to be nationwide. The planning was begun two years ago in preparation for all the pending cuts at that time. The fear was so many positions would be lost, some sites would simply not have the resources or the knowledge to maintain things.

    What happened is the layoffs came before the organization was put into place. Some places were hurt more than others, some groups more than others. From an IT standpoint, this makes sense. Most everything can be managed remotely, and even new computers are coming in almost completely configured from Dell. It's simply a way to have support make sense. It's also tied to the move to Service Desk Now, which was forced upon everyone so everyone can pretty much see everyone else's helpdesk calls. It's a way to justify that expense.

  11. 10:19 p.m. - If you believe "most everything" can be managed remotely, you have never worked at a smaller Gannett property, one of the bottom 31, so to speak.

    So now, some poor editor at 10 at night will have to be walked through over the phone with some tecky two states away on resetting the file server or bringing the AP Wire back up after a power failure....

    Or any one of a hundred things that keep going wrong.....

    Yeah, it sure does make sense... if you are gannett. Now the newsroom will be doing the IT work as well as the ad work and graphics work and ... hell about everything/....

  12. @10:19 - if you don't believe "most everything" can be managed remotely, you have never worked in IT.

    With the exception of physically touching a machine, just about anything can be done remotely.

    Take it from one who actually does this.

  13. My apologies. My comment was meant to be directed @ 11PM, not 10:19.

  14. I do it, too, @1:27, and the service provided is mediocre at best. There are things you can't do remotely. Remember, to that many, if nt most, of the people being supported have no idea what you're talking about when you try to walk them through a problem. And there are a million and one things that can happen at a site the REQUIRE hands on.

  15. @1:36

    I rarely "walk them through" anything. I take control of their machine and do it for them.

    As hard as I find it to believe sometimes, seems most of the folks working in Gannett are not computer literate. Saves a lot of time just "doin' it myself."


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