Balance people, process, technology for IT management success

High performance in IT departments comes from a balance of people, processes and technology, according to a senior researcher with Meta Group.

Speaking at industry researcher Meta Group's Asia-Pacific Metamorphosis conference vice president executive directions, Jonathan Poe, said a successful IT organisation was not simply about "doing work", but forming a range of strategies that cover architecture, performance and human capital management. It constantly assesses how the strategies add the most value to a business, he said.

"Business strategies drive information strategies," Poe said.

"CIOs must have the ability to dissect the unknown, look at patterns at a human performance and [technology] modelling level and consider what they reveal in terms of the value to the business of the IT group's skills and overall performance, in a way that ensures you become a partner of the business," he said.

Outlining the steps senior IT managers should take to ensure IT creates long-term business value to an organisation, Poe said IT management strategy starts with an architecting process-- aligning the business's architecture with the IT architecture to achieve a "framework for collaboration".

To assess the effectiveness of the process, managers should do a gap analysis on their systems and also document their IT environment on an ongoing basis, Poe said.

A CIO adds the most value to their business not just by maintaining current systems like CRM or financials, but understanding them and knowing when to retire or upgrade them, he said. "If you're putting in a new CRM system you're not only getting closer to the customer, but investing in a system which is a strategic investment for the next three or four years."

Meta Group senior vice president for Infusions research, Val Sribar, said, "Look at all your projects and reduce redundancies. If something changes in this world, [typically the economy], allocate your IT portfolio by prioritising the organisation's goals and aggregating business risk - decide the top four projects you need under a changed environment, and those you can chop."

Sribar said also that managers must be adaptable to constant changes of mind by different line managers regarding their process or technology needs. "The key to establishing line managers' key business needs is to identify the needs that are going to be consistent," he saidManaging relationships with internal stakeholders and managing different types of personalities was also equally important to sound IT management practice, Sribar said.

Thus the IT manager should consider who he is trying to present a business case to, what sort of personality he is dealing with, and if communication does not always work, what methods will best get the message through to them, he said.

Poe said the best IT organisations managed skills across the IT portfolio proactively. "These organisations hire for talent and to establish core competencies in the IT group. Then they determine who will add value with extra skills like leadership management and communication to help transform the IT shop, he said.

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