What is IT Management?
Information Technology (IT) management is the monitoring and administration of an organization’s information technology systems and resources. The department manages hardware, software, networks, and data.
Managing your organization’s IT resources involves standard business management functions such as staffing, budgeting, and creating business processes. You also have activities unique to IT, such as software development, change management, network architecture, and tech support.
Why do organizations need IT Management?
Organizations have used IT to support their business operations for several decades. As digital technologies become more essential to the success of enterprises, IT often moves from a support role to a central point of an organization’s operations.
IT as a support function
When enterprises discovered the power of computing and data processing, they created IT departments to support their existing business processes.
IT was viewed as a support function and a cost center. In this role, IT Management helps organizations save money, increase security, and boost efficiency.
Effective IT management helps your organization apply technology correctly to support your broader organizational strategy.
Important business initiatives should get the IT support and resources they need. You should also expect your IT department to complete those initiatives in the most effective way possible.
Proper IT management also saves organizations money using the right systems and software for specific business processes. When IT guides what software your organization uses, you avoid the redundancy that comes with “shadow IT.”
Shadow IT is the term used to refer to software used without the knowledge of your company’s IT department. Widespread use of shadow IT results in redundant software, which reduces collaboration and potential risks for ill-configured security settings.
The significant increase in interconnected networks has dramatically increased the speed of business. The increased reliance on those networks also introduces additional risks. For example, teams can face poor system performance, network failure, data breaches, and malware attacks.
The impact of these risks can be lost productivity, loss of proprietary data, and reputational harm. To put it in perspective, the average cost of a data breach in the US was estimated at $3.86 million, with the potential to go much higher.
The right IT management approach ensures the stability of your network and protects your data so you can be confident that you’ll have strong business continuity.
In your career, you’ve probably experienced helplessness when you’re unable to work because of some annoying tech issue.
Ideally, effective IT management prevents those types of issues before they happen. And in those inevitable cases, when they happen, IT helps you get back up and running as quickly as possible.
From a more proactive perspective, IT management can help you improve your efficiency by using systems and software to automate processes that once were manual.
IT as a strategic asset
As an extension of the movement to automate business processes, companies started digital transformations to expand the reach of their systems to their customers.
Your organization can now expect IT to not only save you money but to help you generate revenue and grow your business. That shift has become possible with increased automation and cloud-based services that allow your customers to interact directly with your business processes when and where they want.
This shift requires the people responsible for IT management to be an integral part of strategic conversations.
A CIO was asked about the new role of IT management and stated, “We have to be integrated and ingrained in the business, so we know how to use technology to resolve business challenges and make things forward-looking from an industry perspective.”
What are the components of IT Management?
For IT management to support and enable business operations, it needs to have three components – strategy, service, and assets – working in harmony.
Effective IT management requires that your IT plans include the proper actions to stay in sync with your organization’s needs. An IT strategy provides you with a plan to support business operations, secure company data, and help you exploit opportunities for growth and competitive advantage.
An IT strategy guides your IT leaders when they make a budget, staffing, and resource allocation decisions to serve broader organizational goals best.
IT management ensures your employees have consistent, reliable, secure access to your organization’s data and systems. The IT department is the primary support point when pressing tech issues arise. Top-notch IT service involves two views of the people accessing those services.
Customers need access to your company’s website. They need to know faulty security won’t compromise their data, and they need somewhere to report any tech issues they run into. Employees need secure and reliable access to corporate networks and data. They also need to know how to access the network responsibly. Finally, they need a place to report tech issues.
The assets portion of IT management refers to managing anything IT-related that customers or employees access to complete a task.
Managing hardware includes keeping track of what devices the organization has, who uses those devices, and when to replace devices.
Managing software includes tracking what systems and software (aka “internal products”) the organization has, what that software does, whether purchased or built internally and who uses the software. For purchased software, IT management also keeps track of when subscriptions or licenses expire.
Managing networks includes making sure internal and external facing corporate networks stay available and secure. A big part of that is monitoring for data breaches and security issues.
Managing data includes tracking who has access to what data, what that data represents, and ensuring the data is up-to-date and secure.
Why do product managers need to understand IT Management?
As a Product Manager, you need to understand how your organization manages IT just like all other employees need to understand IT policies and procedures.
Your need for understanding IT management is broader than that, and it depends on what product you’re managing.
If you manage a software product that your company sells, you rely on well-performing IT management to support the business processes required to sell and support your product.
If you manage software used for your organization’s internal business process – an internal product – you are inherently part of IT management. Ensuring effective IT management becomes a key criterion for making product-focused decisions.