Core Principles Of IS Management Essay

Submitted By Ryan-Blackburn
Words: 1171
Pages: 5

Ryan Blackburn
Information Systems
DMSB 719- Section 2
November 16, 2012
Core Principles of IS Management

As a former Information Warfare Officer (IWO) in US Navy Intelligence, I have been able to relate my experience with the story of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) recounted in the book “The Adventures of an IT Leader” by Robert D. Austin. The CIO, Jim Barton, faces endless challenges in this newly appointed position. These challenges require him to adopt entirely new ideas and incorporate new processes into his management style. The job of CIO’s, or any other managers of Information Systems, is daunting because we are in the Age of Information, where information flows are critical to the success of people, businesses, governments, and even entire countries. Information Technology (IT) is so critical to understand and utilize, because the world is now creating, distributing, and consuming data and information at exponential rates of growth. The book illustrates both the complications and potential solutions that effective CIO’s may face in this dynamic world of growing information, proliferating data flows, and high speed data transfers. One significant principle from this book is the notion that effective CIO’s do not necessarily need prior IT experience or expertise. This is because they may better understand a company’s business strategy and what drives its value. For instance, Barton had no previous IT knowledge, but was able to approach topics as business problems first, instead of complicated IT dilemmas. The previous CIO, Bill Davies, had much greater IT experience, but he struggled with management-level communication and was ultimately fired. Although new CIO’s without significant IT knowledge may truly desire to understand all the details of their department’s data needs supporting its business processes, the fact is that it’s nearly impossible to do so. This is because the contemporary IT world is split among so many different, complex technical sectors that simply becoming expert in one may consume most of a career. This reality completely contradicts the beliefs of people such as Nicholas Carr, who think that IT should be treated as a commodity in which costs should be kept to a minimum. Examples of the many IT divisions that Barton led as CIO were infrastructure, security, technical services, customer support, and new application development. In addition, IT performance is racing ahead; faster memory, denser memory, reduced power/volume/cooling requirements, all with falling prices. The performance potential of the IT systems—hardware and software—enable massive increases in the ability to ingest, tag, archive, retrieve, and extract value from the data held by the business enterprise. This allows the use of “Big Data” analytics to transform it into information and later knowledge supporting effective decision-making for the business enterprise. The flip side of this IT revolution is that current knowledge is continuously becoming outdated, making it harder simply to maintain a high level of IT skills. For example, in my Navy IWO training program, it took nearly two years to attain competent knowledge of the IT sectors of my division and the underlying work processes and information flows that support them. A second vital characteristic that CIO’s must establish is ability to maintain strong, trust-based relationships with the senior level management of a company. Many times, as with Davies, the CIO will only work with and attach themselves to their IT department, while communicating minimally with non-IT departments. However, this approach only serves to distance IT from the rest of the company, and critically, from internal users and sponsors. Thus, corporate managers may never understand how to implement IT fully to their advantage, and could consequently lose substantial efficiency and profit. Instead, the CIO must actively engage in day-to-day decisions and operations of a company, and consider