IT Management - Function
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The IT Management function encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We briefly discuss eight key areas you will find in all organizations and then cover the CIO role, as these leadership responsibilities are naturally part of that top IT role.
IT Strategy and Business Alignment
- ensuring alignment of IT with the business
- assisting in business innovation with digital transformation projects and growing the company
Information Technology runs through all aspects of business these days, as very little business activity does not involve IT in one way or another. With IT as pervasive as it is now, companies also expect the IT organization to be an integral driver in advancing business success. So a close alignment of where the business is going and how IT will help the company get there is at the top of many IT priority lists.
IT Service Management
- managing the service delivery to the business with the IT solutions that the IT group operates
With companies already using IT for just about all operational parts of the business, the proper functioning of these systems is critical. Customers and internal users expect nearly perfect system availability, fast response times, and high functionality to get things done. So IT has to make sure that the current state of IT affairs works well and is being improved with new capabilities and better efficiencies regularly also.
IT Risk and Security Management
- managing risks to the business from cybersecurity threats
- managing Governance, Risk, and Compliance for the IT organization
- managing IT audits to assess risks
Using a lot of technology all sounds like it has nothing but advantages, but it can also pose significant risks to the business. Therefore, organizations need to protect their systems from external threats, such as malware and hacking attempts, and internal ones.
Companies are also subject to many regulations for IT systems, and the data that they manage, so extensive effort has to be put into making sure that technology, software, and data are governed in a responsible manner, pose acceptably low risks for the business and is in compliance with external regulations. To verify things are working in this manner, IT organizations perform audits using internal personnel and external specialists.
IT Project Management
- managing a portfolio of (expensive) IT projects that are expected to deliver value to the business
IT organizations use elaborate project management processes to properly manage the evolution of the systems they run for the business and the money that is invested in them. Whether IT is working on minor system enhancements or entirely new capabilities, IT management has to ensure that time and money are spent in the best way possible to serve the business.
The senior leadership team of an IT organization has to work on being in sync with the business on what these priorities are, what projects are approved for execution, what the status is of active efforts and how projects work out once they are completed. These efforts all deal with "value delivery" in support of the IT Strategy and Business Alignment responsibilities.
IT Organization Management
- managing the IT workforce
IT organizations can have large groups of talented and expensive employees. Given that the availability of suitable IT talent tends to be a consistent challenge, IT management must have processes to attract qualified candidates to the organization and retain IT professionals for the long term. IT management needs to find the right balance between HR cost management and the right talent management approach for the technology organization to operate with an effective blend of knowledge and experience at all times.
IT Financial Management
- managing the IT budget and financials as companies make significant investments in technology
- managing the IT assets that are deployed throughout the company
A lot of money is invested in all things technical in companies. IT management needs to have a good grip on these investments and the operational costs of running the IT organization. IT also needs to track all the assets that an organization uses, from the end-user equipment such as PCs or laptops, to software licenses, network equipment, data centers and everything in them, external IT services, cloud computing, etc. Large organizations can have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of items they need to track as part of this asset management discipline.
Technology Strategy Management
- managing the technology and IT vendor decisions for the best long-term results
While many people may think of IT management as "managing technology", we are just now coming to this responsibility in the list here. The tricky thing about managing the core technology stack is that with every technical decision that a company makes, other options are not chosen. While this sounds innocent enough, if a company paints itself in a corner over the course of a few years of pursuing specific technical options instead of others, reversing course and changing things in a significant way can be very costly. So a sound and realistic IT strategy, using products, services, and vendors that are reliable and available over the long term, is key to building solid IT foundations for the business.
IT Operations Management
- managing the current IT systems stack
With all the technology in active use in companies, just keeping it working correctly also takes effort that has to be managed. Companies need to have software update processes, help users encountering issues, provision system access for new users, and so on. The entire IT setup requires constant maintenance and support so that all clients, users, and parties that the company interacts with can use it successfully each day.
The CIO's role in IT
Traditionally, the Chief Information Officer, or CIO, is the leader of an IT organization. They can report directly to the CEO of an organization if IT is seen as an integral and critical part of the business, or to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Chief Operating Officer (COO) if the IT area is still more seen as an internal service organization. Because the CIO role encompasses so much of IT management, we are including video clips with brief discussions about this role and how it is evolving in companies.
Short overview of the role of a CIO - 4 mins