IT management is how all the information technology systems, resources, and processes of a company are managed in line with business requirements and the context of the organization.
An IT manager will be tasked with ensuring that all the technology and systems are working well, aren’t experiencing downtime, and are functioning in line with greater business strategy.
IT management is centered around the way that businesses can show value through the technology that they use. IT managers need to be sure that the tools and processes that they are using are aligned with the overall company vision, core KPIs, business processes, day-to-day tasks, and organizational goals.
In today’s hyper-digital world, when tools and computer systems fail, so does the business. Imagine your team collaborating without cloud computing, communicating without email, or keeping track of billable hours without spreadsheets and accounting software.
IT management is the way to stay on top of all your digital systems and technology so that you can troubleshoot ahead of time, set up incident response in case something goes wrong out of the blue, and keep visibility over all of your information systems and technologies.
There are a lot of different roles and responsibilities that can come under the umbrella of IT management. Some of these may be tasked to different teams, for example budget and costs could be part of Finance, while compliance might have its own dedicated team.
However, an IT manager should be able to communicate and liaise with all of these stakeholders, to stay on top of:
IT management is a huge topic, and it covers everything from hardware, networking, and software, including physical computers and laptops, servers, routers, switches, applications, data, and mobile devices.
Today, most companies have a hybrid environment that spans both on-premises and some form of cloud architecture, making IT management even more complex! It’s important to follow some rules to stay on top of IT governance and management.
If your IT goals aren’t aligned with the c-suite’s goals, you’re not going to get very far. For example, if the business wants to push releases more often, a cloud IT strategy is a good idea for your own IT roadmap. If cost-savings are on the agenda, then tracking down unnecessary resources might be an easier win. If you’re not sure what the business is focusing on this quarter—ask!
Whether your IT management is being run by the CIO, CTO, or an IT manager, it’s important to recognize that technology impacts everyone in the business. You don ‘t need to do it all yourself, instead think about who from Finance could help you plan an IT budget, and who from Security would be best placed to ascertain the risk of unmanaged devices. A strong IT strategy often includes multiple departments, teams, and stakeholders.
Whether it’s for tracking your progress or understanding where the heaviest costs or lowest productivity is coming from, data and analytics are an important part of IT management. Many tools will provide a map of your whole IT infrastructure, and allow you to zero in on answering specific questions such as to where the untapped opportunities are that could be adding serious revenues to your bottom line.
With a strong IT management strategy at the core of your business, you’ll see a lot of advantages. Some immediately, and others which will appear over time. Top benefits include:
Strategic collaboration between teams: Aligning your technology stack and your IT management means that all teams have the same vision and know what tools they have at their disposal. If everyone understands why you have certain technology and how to use it, it’s more likely that you’ll foster creativity and cohesion.
Better financial management: Siloed teams often have multiple technologies that are running the same processes or tasks. When you can incorporate a tight IT management strategy, you can discontinue licenses with certain tools, and onboard staff or clients onto others, identify gaps that you need to fill, and churn on software products that don’t fit the organizational goals.
Tighter risk assessment: Without IT management, you can’t know what products, tools, and devices are under your roof, which opens you up to a huge amount of risk from shadow IT, unmonitored assets, and cyberattacks. IT management ensures you have a full picture of everything that’s in your business or your client environment, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Easier compliance: Regulations are complex in the IT world, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like customer data. Knowing all of the software and hardware that you’re using, and staying on top of customer information within technology rather than with ad-hoc emails and local documents puts you in a much better place if an audit rolls around.
More accurate change forecasting: Change management is one of the hardest parts of running a business, and you want to make sure that you can give teams plenty of warning of changes ahead of time. IT management provides a way to forecast changes ahead of time, and understand the impact of those changes so you can be prepared for any scenario.
Holding a competitive advantage: The technological landscape has levelled the organizational playing field, and even small businesses can now compete with big players if they have a tight tech stack. IT management is an essential part of ensuring you have all the cloud-based infrastructure, hardware, data centers, and automation tools you need to compete on the next level.
To ensure you’re getting IT management right, make sure to follow a few essential best practices.
Don’t just follow—lead! Don’t reactively manage your own or a client’s environment, simply waiting for a problem to occur and then responding to it. Instead, think about the business goals and chart a path forward to meet these needs with technology. This is how you become a strategic partner and get a seat at the table.
Don’t forget the soft skills: As a technology manager, you’re not just the fix-it person at the end of the phone. Your colleagues and your clients expect you to be able to empathize, troubleshoot, show creative thinking, and implement ideas with confidence. Sometimes this is even more important than knowing what wire goes where!
Start with visibility: If you don’t know what resources and assets you have, how can you create an effective IT management plan? It’s essential to start with a complete view of all your inventory, including machines, SNMP devices, hardware, software, applications, and data. This can be done with scanning tools like Network Discovery, and automatically provide a baseline for whatever changes you want to make.
Be flexible and agile: There’s no area as fast-paced as technology, so you need to be able to roll with the punches. Set a roadmap, but be ready to make changes on the fly. Keep yourself open to the latest innovations, which may include training regarding new business applications, or hiring for specific expertise.