Managing IT

Understanding your IT Department

This will be the first post in a series of articles that is going to explore the confusing world of what it takes to manage an Information Technology department.  My intent with these articles is NOT to make you into a CIO but rather help the non-technical manager better interface with their IT department.  The intended audience is the C-level manager who oversees and IT department but may not always understand the workings of such a team.

As a veteran of the technology world I have been in the trenches the see the workings of many IT departments.  The one thing that most technology departments have in common is the fact that they usually report into a management structure that does not wholly understand what they do.  This leads to discourse between the management and the technology department which is never a healthy thing.  It also leads to a more serious problem since this disconnect between management and technology means that decisions are often made which don’t make the best use of the technology resources at hand.  This will often impact the productivity of a company and in turn hurts the bottom line.

The articles that follow will attempt to introduce the executive manager to the concepts, process and structure that are needed to properly oversee a technology department.  I will not attempt to teach any detailed technology but rather to introduce the technical concepts that are needed to understand the decisions at hand.  In addition, I will discuss proper processes that should be used inside of any well run technology department.

With these foundations in place we can then look at the proper way to leverage technology to bring the highest return on the company’s investment.  This will include how to properly fund your technology needs, how to minimize technological risks and how to better leverage your technology workforce to increase profitability.

In the end, I hope to help to make your company more efficient and profitable while improving the relationship between executive management and technology staff.  This will likely open your eyes to many new concepts and allow you to better challenge your IT manager and staff to improve their department.  You will likely be surprised to find that improvements will be well embraced by your technology workers even when you expected them to resist.  This is due to one of the first disconnects between management and IT: The “resistance to change” disconnect.  (More about this coming soon!)

So read on to learn about how you can have a better relationship with you IT staff while also becoming more versed in the topics that will make you seem (almost) cool to the propeller heads that work in your IT department.


Click here to read more in the Managing IT Series.