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Changing roles of IT Managers in Business

Traditionally management of IT within the business sector has been the result of either strategic plans of top management who focus on wider business objectives without really understanding the developments of technology or an ongoing program to develop technology and infrastructure lead by technologists who are not privy to broader business trends and changes afoot within the organization. These conflicting approaches have resulted in confusion, failure to meet targets and poor returns on IT investments. While significant sums of money have been spent, lack of focus and vision has lessened the potential impact of those expenditures. In the current business climate, such waste cannot be tolerated and industry must rapidly change its approach to IT mangement if it is going to survive.

Industry has been working to develop better understanding of potential costs and risks of IT within the wider framework of its own business environment. IT can no longer be consider merely a cost-center but must become fully integrated into the broader objectives and environment in which business operates. Consulting firms like PriceWaterhouseCooper have developed new tools to identify the true costs and risks of IT as well as identify the quantifiable benefits of IT to a business. The following illustration demonstrates the multiprong approach they have used to assess and develop a more balanced view of the wide-ranging business costs and benefits of IT.

Studies like these have allowed business managers to ask new questions and raise new expectations as they begin to management IT and address such issues as outsourcing, staffing, and technology investments. It is clear that the next generation of IT managers will need to effectively leverage technology to drive business growth while at the same time fully integrating IT into the business environment. IT managers need to be able to translate technological advances and potentials into integrated solutions that drive business and to promote ownership of the technology by more and more departments within Industry. This will require new skills and new roles for IT managers as pointed out by Mark Lutchen in his recent article Five Essential Skills For The Future

At the same time, current IT managers are well aware of the need to expand their skills and services. A recent survey conducted by Mark Lutchen of IT managers employed in Fortune 500 businesses shows that the industry recognizes its failure to implement the very broad-based services it needs to survive. While they are able to identify new trends and skills required, IT departments are sluggish in developing them.

This need in the market place for IT personnel with broader skills is the rationale behind the various Informatics Majors and Minors being offered across the various Indiana University campuses. As the new graduates from these programs look for jobs, they will find a rapidly growing demand for the wider range of skills and expertise they bring with them.

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