Mission Impossible

The question needs to be asked, what is the mission of an IT manager? The short history of information systems management shows a slow change of emphasis over time. In the time of Yor (i.e. the beginning), Information Systems were adopted in order to transform transaction processing. Information Systems design showed a low degree of uncertainty and the userbase for which they were initially designed, were at the operational level of the organization.

This was then followed by the addition of the “Management Information Systems” that were grafted onto the existing transaction processing systems. These systems were largely un-integrated monolithic systems, and based on file management concepts. In time, there where various executive support facilities included as the focus changed from a single file to a database orientation, and from un-integrated to more and more integrated systems.

With the impact of Information systems being felt higher and wider in the organization, the opportunity to have an impact on organizational performance has grown greatly. The ambiguity in systems specification ballooned as the focus has changed from process-driven transaction processing to supporting decision making at all levels of the organization. Whether the level of the senior management position in Information systems has changed to reflect this importance, varies from organization to organization.

It is undoubtedly true that organizations must now be sufficiently informed about technology and the opportunities that Information Systems bring in order to keep pace with the changing business environment. This must mean that Information systems managers should be found at all levels of the organization, up to and including the most senior executive positions. It must also mean that non-technical executives need to develop some familiarity with the threats and opportunities of the developing technological environment.

The roles of an IT Manger can vary from company to company. In some companies the IT Manager is responsible for strategic direction and planning, while at other companies the IT Manager may fulfill a purely technical leadership role. Be sure you fully understand this role at your company or during the interview when changing jobs. Also, be aware that as companies grow and change, the roles of the managers will grow and change with it.
The large variation in responsibilities and the constant change in IT organizations and responsibilities can be a great thing for someone’s career. This allows them to start out in a role more suited to your abilities and grow into larger ones. It also means that as the company grows, so must they. Information Technology and Systems is a career that requires continued learning and adaptability. New technologies, systems, and processes are created almost weekly. The bad news is that the role of an IT Manager with all of these key skills and the ever changing landscape is quite often a thankless job. If everything is working the way it was planned and architected, no one knows they exist. However, when it breaks, everyone knows the IT managers name. Keep in mind that to many people an IT Manager can mean many different things. Each department within the organization will have a slightly different perspective of what they believe ITM’s job is and its focus to be.
These barricades are regularly faced by an IT manager in its profession. There are regular neglects on part of the vendors. Sometimes vendors promise to deliver more than they can, for the desire of more earnings. There are regular fluctuations in the market demand. Errors are integral part of any process. There needs to be quality assurance at every step of the process. Sometimes there are internal conflicts which are harmful for the company’s reputation. Also, regular training of the employees to keep them update with the latest trends in technology is necessary. IT Managers should give careful thought to the fact that problems need to be encountered. Anticipating and planning for them can help avoid project delays and budget overruns

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