Information technology management
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IT management is the discipline whereby all of the information technology resources of a firm are managed in accordance with its needs and priorities. These resources may include tangible investments like computer hardware, software, data, networks and data centre facilities, as well as the staff who are hired to maintain them.
Managing this responsibility within a company entails many of the basic management functions, like budgeting, staffing, change management, and organizing and controlling, along with other aspects that are unique to technology, like software design, network planning, tech support etc.
The central aim of IT management is to generate value through the use of technology. To achieve this, business strategies and technology must be aligned.
IT Management is different from management information systems. The latter refers to management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision making. IT Management refers to IT related management activities in organizations. MIS is focused mainly on the business aspect, with a strong input into the technology phase of the business/organization.
A primary focus of IT management is the value creation made possible by technology. This requires the alignment of technology and business strategies. While the value creation for an organization involves a network of relationships between internal and external environments, technology plays an important role in improving the overall value chain of an organization. However, this increase requires business and technology management to work as a creative, synergistic, and collaborative team instead of a purely mechanistic span of control.
Historically, one set of resources was dedicated to one particular computing technology, business application or line of business, and managed in a silo-like fashion. These resources supported a single set of requirements and processes, and couldn’t easily be optimized or reconfigured to support actual demand. This led technology providers to build out and complement their product-centric infrastructure and management offerings with Converged Infrastructure environments that converge servers, storage, networking, security, management and facilities. The efficiencies of having this type of integrated and automated management environment allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with simpler manageability and maintenance, and enables IT to adjust IT resources (such as servers, storage and networking) quicker to meet unpredictable business demand.
The term IT infrastructure is shown in a standard called Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v3 as a combined set information technology needed in order to develop, test, deliver, monitor, control or support IT services.
IT management disciplines
- Business/IT alignment
- IT governance
- IT financial management
- IT service management
- IT configuration management
IT managers have a lot in common with project managers but their main difference is one of focus: an IT manager is responsible and accountable for an ongoing program of IT services while the project manager's responsibility and accountability are both limited to a project with a clear start and end date.
Most IT management programs are designed to educate and develop managers who can effectively manage the planning, design, selection, implementation, use, and administration of emerging and converging information and communications technologies. The program curriculum provides students with the technical knowledge and management knowledge and skills needed to effectively integrate people, information and communication technologies, and business processes in support of organizational strategic goals.
Graduates should be able:
- to explain the important terminology, facts, concepts, principles, analytic techniques, and theories used in IT management.
- to apply important terminology, facts, concepts, principles, analytic techniques, and theories in IT management when analyzing complex factual situations.
- to integrate (or synthesize) important facts, concepts, principles, and theories in IT management when developing solutions to IT management multifaceted problems in complex situations.
The importance of IT management is to understand managing data. There are also difficulties IT managers must overcome. The amount of data is increasing and most of the data is collected by different departments and separated between organizations. This implies that they may not be using the same method or procedure. Data security, quality and integrity is the most informant in receiving information. The sources have an impact also on the sources obtained; they may be internal or external. When the information structures do not transfer properly with each other, that can result in unreliable data. An important part to understand in an IT management is Data Governance. It is an approach to managing information across the entire organization or company. Many will also need to know master data management, which is a process that spans all of the companies processes and business. Without a structure your company will not be able to function properly. Applying these processes in Data bases, it is your job to be able to communicate with other departments systems and develop precise communication and holding your organization accountable of certain data issues. Your design and programs helps increase design and technical knowledge throughout the business.
Disadvantages of IT management
Technology improves everyday tasks that used to be performed by human employees and is now carried out by computer systems. Telephone answering systems replacing live receptionists is one example of such substitution. It is, however, important to understand that often these changes can lead to issues as well as benefits. Losing personal communication with clients, security issues, etc. may have a heavy impact in company value. Such aspects must be considered before, during and after all decisions and implementations for IT management to be successful.
Even though information technology systems allow businesses to be conducted at a faster pace, that quicker pace is not without its flaws. Information technology systems are extremely vulnerable to security breaches. For the most part information technology systems are most vulnerable when they can be accessed through the Internet. If certain measures are not in place to prevent security breaches, unauthorized individuals could gain access to confidential data. Information can be altered, permanently destroyed or used for unsavory purposes. Additionally, sensitive information being leaked can cause a business to lose money and can permanently damage its reputation in the eyes of potential customers.
Cases of IT management deficiency
- Target Corporation, 2013
Target's security and payments system was broken into by hackers, who installed malware with the intent of stealing Target’s customers' information. The malware targeted “40 million credit card numbers—and 70 million addresses, phone numbers, and other pieces of personal information”. About six months before this happened, Target invested 1.6 million dollars to install the malware detection tool made by FireEye, whose security product is also used by CIA. It is reasonably reliable software and it spotted the malware, but it was not stopped at any level in Target’s security department. The malware successfully came away with all the information it wanted. Target’s unresponsiveness to the alerts resulted the exposure of the confidential information of one in three United States consumers.
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- Riley, M., Elgin, B., Lawrence, D., & Matlack, C. (2014, March 13). Missed Alarms and 40 Million Stolen Credit Card Numbers: How Target Blew It. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-13/target-missed-alarms-in-epic-hack-of-credit-card-data