"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics
The issues below are not just for the IT manager to solve. If managers throughout the company share in the responsibility, results will be quicker and longer lasting. This article supports our position that information systems are underutilized and existing resources can be used to increase ROI and performance.
Kay Graham-Gilbert

The Top Three Problems IT Managers Face and How to Overcome Them

  1. Problem #1 - Tough Data Flow
  2. Problem #2 - Rising Costs
    1. Conducting a survey of departments
    2. Getting clear definitions of problems
    3. Looking for ways to integrate
  3. Problem #3 - Insufficient Sensitivity Concerning Data Security

Today's business environment has changed drastically from just a few years back. Rather than working exclusively with equipment, data, and systems, today's IT managers face issues such as cross training, personnel management, interdepartmental communication, and a widening job scope for all IT employees.

This expansion of the IT job realm has left many IT managers juggling new challenges. While the problems, in and of themselves, might appear overwhelming, there are simple, proven ways to rise above them.

Problem #1 - Tough Data Flow

Information often flows irregularly and is subject to quantitatively strong fluctuations. These fluctuations can become detrimental if not dealt with. The simple solution is to control the information.

Officially, "information controlling" is the analysis, evaluation, and importance attached to the electronic data that is collected and provided with the data under various criteria.

To achieve this, start by making employees aware of the importance of the data they help to gather. Encourage accuracy and demonstrate to employees how their active participation in the process can reap rewards they might not have thought of.

Because your job as IT manager will continue to get more and more hectic, you'll want to continually look for ways to improve speed and quality while reducing rising costs.

Problem #2 - Rising Costs

Rising costs are a challenge for any manager. They are especially troubling to an IT manager working in the electronic data processing area.

Industry experts show that, despite various "old systems" existing, resources are only used at about 30% of their optimal performance. This leaves room for 70% improvement without an excessive outlay of cash.

To increase ROI using existing resources, consider:

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I. Conducting a survey of departments.

Ask what their primary challenges are with the existing systems. The majority of the time the solutions lie within untapped features of existing resources. Search the systems for solutions and provide them.

II. Getting clear definitions of problems.

Oftentimes, employees may not know how to communicate the problems they face in "IT language." This may relate to an ill-suited solution. Take time to work with employees or department heads to clearly outline challenges so you are equipped to find solutions more quickly and accurately.

III. Looking for ways to integrate.

A smooth flow of information always increases productivity. When possible, work to find ways to integrate existing systems. With a little ingenuity on your part, and a little creativity, you can develop solutions without budget increases.

Problem #3 - Insufficient Sensitivity Concerning Data Security

As the complexity of electronic data processing increases, security often decreases. Not only does this pose problems in the form of breaches, it also has legal ramifications with regard to licenses.

From healthcare companies to financial organizations, the US government is cracking down on lax security. The smart IT manager is taking steps now to not only stress the importance of security to those in his/her company, but to also instill the necessary protective measures.

To help others within your organization understand how sensitive certain data is, create a memo or site page explaining:

  • what security measures are currently in place,
  • why these measures exist,
  • the consequences (internally and externally) for not following security procedures, and
  • whom to contact with questions/issues regarding security.

Although an IT manager's job is continually evolving and becoming more challenging, there are ways to overcome pressing problems. By looking at each situation from a variety of angles, you'll be able to define problems quickly and accurately, and then offer solutions that will benefit you, your team, and your entire company.

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