Creating a Digital Signage Network (12. Key Personnel)

                                          Selecting key personnel and Skill Sets  


Finding the BEST and RIGHT people for the job will make your life so much easier.  But it is also a time and labor intensive venture for a selection committee.  Your search and selection process needs to be realistic and your expectations reasonable.  You will be hard pressed to find someone with all the requisite skills you will need for digital signage networking, however finding someone with a solid base skill set (mentioned below) and a passion, willingness to learn and be a part of an exciting team that gets to explore cutting-edge technologies will pay dividends for years to come.  We were very focused on these key hires and I was fortunate to find two wonderful individuals to work with daily, who value the uniqueness of our opportunity and mission.  We are often up against tight deadlines and “late breaking news” issues and have to react quickly and professionally.  These key hires need to have the personality traits that can handle stress in such an environment.  They also need to be able to communicate well with clients and administrators.  They are on the “front line” of your team. Take the time to develop good search criteria that match the skills you will require to create your own digital signage network based upon your Network Needs Analysis and budgetary constraints.  It may take some time to get to where you want to be… but every journey begins with that first step.  Key hires are as important, if not MORE important, as the selection of your software or hardware for your network!  You will need to determine if you have some internal candidates within your organization that could fill certain positions and whether you will open up the positions for outside applications.  There will be “politics” to be considered involving either of those decisions. Below are some criteria we use when looking at our staffing requirements for our digital signage network based upon a systems manager and two professional technologists that perform all required duties.  We also have regular access to Engineers from the WVU Television Productions department who are invaluable to us in areas of video, IT servers, Data Asset Management servers and IP networking. Given that we were originally a sub-set of the WVU Department of Television & Video Productions, we also requested and tasked some of our in-house engineers for certain routine tasks in the maintenance and research of our current and upcoming technologies.  We now are situated with a sister unit in our Division (Web Services) with excellent access to additional creative designers for content creation of client pages and web integration.  Smart administrators look for all opportunities to not only share their human resources but also share in the fun of creating a stunning broadcast of information to the viewing public that look at your digital signage, as well as your print, web, news and video media.  We work in the WVU University Relations Division (the integrated marketing arm of the university) with sister units that include Television / Video Productions, Web Services, Creative Design, News & Information Services, Photography, Information Stations, Trademark & Licensing and Alumni Association.  The resources and ideas available to our division are strategically discussed and tasked in regular meetings so that we all share in spreading the good word about WVU across integrated marketing platforms.  Our employees have the opportunity to work on many exciting projects as teams for a consistent message and content design.  The insight each person brings to the discussions are invaluable when using cross-platform media and technology within a given project.  It certainly short-cuts the trial and error (and cussing) period when someone with specific knowledge can offer solutions for problems you didn’t even know you had yet!  Again, there is no sense re-inventing the wheel. When considering filling these integral positions for the digital signage team, you might want to look at the positions individually and identify people within your organization that exemplify these key components and attributes:


Managerial Position                                                        

Degrees & Certifications

Establish a Chain-of-Command that performs efficiently

Excellent communication skills

Good management skills and experience

Affable Able to work well with others

Good decision making skills

Good project management skills

Works well under pressure

Understands budgetary processes

Diplomatic skills

Understands “the big picture” and can work with all constituents

Can function in and understand the “politics” of large organizations

Can quickly assess and identify key stakeholders in a project

Efficient with paperwork and reporting duties

Motivates subordinates effectively and kindly

Will we develop an entrepreneurial model?

Do they have integrated marketing and business backgrounds?


Graphics (GFX) Creative Designer                                                             

Degrees & Certifications

Excellent communication skills

Good “eye” for creative design

Creative skills

Has a network of other designers for fresh ideas

Has a proven portfolio of previous design work

What are their video production skill sets?

Adobe Photoshop skills

Adobe After Effects skills

Other software skills

Works effectively and efficiently

Are they familiar with social media networks?

A picture is worth a thousand words!


IT / Database                                                                                          

Degrees & Certifications

Excellent communication skills

Understands computers and computer components

Network design skills and understanding

Willing to learn new technology and processes

SQL Database understanding

Can write their own scripts, if necessary when working with databases

Excellent trouble-shooting skills

Good temperament and works well under pressure

Can work with Emergency Message Coordinators/First Responders

Understanding of RSS Feeds

Understanding of HTML and XML coding

Understanding of Data Servers

Are they familiar with social media networks?

Willing to be “On Call” for emergencies?


Engineering Support                                                                           

Degrees & Certifications

Excellent communication skills


Understands and is current with emerging technologies

Electronics background

IP Network background

Understands how computers and computer components work

Excellent trouble-shooting skills

Have basic tools available to assist in service of equipment

Has proper display monitor tuning equipment

Works well under pressure


About swgraham2

Mountain Mists is an opportunity to develop some thought processes individually as I journey through this wonderful world; as someone who values highly effective management techniques and the art of leading teams; and through my association with West Virginia University as a professional technologist and network manager specializing in digital signage.
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