Managing Information Systems
The management of information-systems functions is critical to the success of information systems within the organization. Here are some of the jobs associated with the management of information systems.
The CIO, or chief information officer, is the head of the information-systems function. This person aligns the plans and operations of the information systems with the strategic goals of the organization. This includes tasks such as budgeting, strategic planning, and personnel decisions for the information-systems function. The CIO must also be the face of the IT department within the organization. This involves working with senior leaders in all parts of the organization to ensure good communication and planning.
Interestingly, the CIO position does not necessarily require a lot of technical expertise. While helpful, it is more important for this person to have good management skills and understand the business. Many organizations do not have someone with the title of CIO; instead, the head of the information-systems function is called vice president of information systems or director of information systems.
As an information-systems organization becomes larger, many of the different functions are grouped together and led by a manager. These functional managers report to the CIO and manage the employees specific to their functions. For example, in a large organization, there is a group of systems analysts who report to a manager of the systems-analysis function. For more insight into how this might look, see the discussion later in the chapter of how information systems are organized.
Organizations using an ERP require one or more individuals to manage these systems. These people make sure that the ERP system is completely up to date, work to implement any changes to the ERP that are needed, and consult with various user departments on needed reports or data extracts.
Information-systems projects are notorious for going over budget and being delivered late. In many cases, a failed IT project can spell doom for a company. A project manager is responsible for keeping projects on time and on budget. This person works with the stakeholders of the project to keep the team organized and communicates the status of the project to management. A project manager does not have authority over the project team; instead, the project manager coordinates schedules and resources in order to maximize the project outcomes. A project manager must be a good communicator and an extremely organized person. A project manager should also have good people skills. Many organizations require each of their project managers to become certified as a project management professional (PMP).
An information security officer is in charge of setting information-security policies for an organization and then overseeing the implementation of those policies. This person may have one or more people reporting to them as part of the information security team. As information has become a critical asset, this position has become highly valued. The information-security officer must ensure that the organization’s information remains secure from both internal and external threats.