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First What must an IT manager do to become more effective?
First off, the IT manager needs an IT strategic plan. This is a document that takes into account the overriding objectives of IT. It is the means for ensuring that IT is not simply reactive, bowing to short-term pressures and losing sight of the long term priorities. The IT plan should look at communication within a company and outside of it. The IT manager needs a plan for storing data, and providing appropriate flexibility, whether, for example, they use the Cloud. An IT plan should attempt to build a framework for reconciling conflicts between the need to react quickly and the need for carefully thought out procedures.
Once there is an IT strategic plan, there is a need for a technology road map. This can consist of multiple parts, including agreeing an end objective, taking an audit of existing technology, weighing up how to change technology without creating too much disruption, and methodology for testing the plan and assuring it has achieved its objectives.
The IT strategic plan and IT road maps are vital. They must be thought through and sufficiently comprehensive. IT management cannot be effective without such documents.
An IT manager is required to have good organisation skills, and may want to take a leaf out of their own book, and apply appropriate digital organisation tools. An IT manager must juggle, and will be under pressure to adjust to deal with given events. Without good organisational skills, this task becomes nigh on impossible.
The IT manager also needs problem solving skills, with an ability to think quickly and improvise. But he or she must never move too far away from the IT road map, and always make sure that responses complement the IT strategic plan.
There is also a demand for forward thinking, in trying to pre-empt issues and plan in advance how to deal with issues before they happen. The technology road map needs to have sufficient flexibility to support this, and indeed evolve over time.
Communication is crucial. Too often an IT manager can seem elusive, however, an IT manager needs to communicate what he or she is doing, and why, and needs to remain approachable.
It is vital that that the IT manager is fully aware of how the company is changing, and the challenges it faces. In this way, IT can be more relevant and timely.
The effective IT manager must focus on cost control, while ensuring that IT meets its objectives. Of course, the IT manager needs to be well read, and up to date with the latest IT and technologies.
So, that’s IT. Ensure a good IT strategic plan, and a technology road map, employ the right organisation tools and use them regularly, think forward, be up to date with developments within the company, ensure good communication, but keep an eye on costs.