Managing Information Technology
As more companies are applying Information Technology (IT) to improve their business, they also need IT skilled people to manage them. Buying equipments such as hardware, servers, network is easy but getting the skilled IT people to make sure it gets implemented properly is more difficult. Technology vendors are eager to sell you all equipments that you need, but unless you have the skilled IT people to make it works, you will not receive the benefits that technology brings.
The common mistake companies often make is to buy a lot of IT equipments before they even know what they need and how these equipments can be used. Having technology equipments does not bring any benefits or create any value. Unlike assets such as lands or buildings that may increase in value overtime, the value of technology equipments decreases quickly as technology changes fast. It is important for company to know that the value of IT is NOT in hardware equipments but in the implementation and proper usage.
Company can achieve benefits when IT enables people to do things differently and efficiently. For example, instead of sending paperworks from one office to others, people can send emails which is faster, and cheaper. IT allows people to do work effectively and less waste. For example, using word processing software is better than using typewriter as it can corrects mistakes and changes thing easily. IT allows people to communicate effectively and cheaper. For example, by using voice over IP technology such as Skype instead of telephone, company can reduces costs. IT automates the way people work through the redesign of business processes and eliminates redundancy. For example, instead of structure the company according to a functional hierarchy where each unit perform independently, the structure can be redesigned according to a standard process where boundaries are eliminated, people work not for their unit but for a common vision and commitment. IT can improve communication between company and customers. For example, instead of sending products announcement to each customer by mail, company can post product announcement on its website. Customers who use the product can provide feedback instantly via company’s survey. IT facilitates more collaboration between company and suppliers. For example, instead of having people order raw materials when needed, IT system can monitor materials usage in the factory and when they fell below a certain amount, it sends order to suppliers automatically. IT system can support business decision-making by providing company owners with business data about company’s operation as well as market information via the business intelligence applications. However all of these benefits only happen with proper usage and having the skilled IT managers who have knowledge and skills in managing information technology.
Today most companies have a Chief Information Officer (CIOs) whose job is to ensure the proper usage of technologies for the company. The CIO oversees IT strategy, develop technical standards, deploy technology, and supervise workers who deal with the daily information technology issues of the company. When a new technology has been identified, the CIO develops acquisition and implementation strategies, including cost-benefit and returns on investment analysis, and presents those strategies to company owner. According to industry report, 67% of CIOs graduated from Information System Management (ISM) program and 24% from MBA-IT program.
Below the CIO position are IT directors whose job is to manage computing resources for the company. These people manage the work of IT managers to ensure the availability, continuity, and security of data and information technology services in the company. In this capacity, they oversee a variety of technical groups, business units by develop and monitor IT performance and implement new projects. According to industry report, 86% of IT directors graduated from Information System Management program and 12% from MBA-IT program.
IT managers support the business by develops requirements, budgets, and schedules for their IT projects. They coordinate such projects from development through implementation, working with their IT workers, as well as clients, vendors, and consultants. These managers are increasingly involved in projects that upgrade the information security of an organization. According to industry report, 72% of IT managers graduated from Information System Management program and 22% from Computer science or software engineering program.
- Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University