Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Art and Science of IT Management

 IT captures organizational knowledge to continuously improve performance and harness innovation.

With the overwhelming growth of information, dynamic business conditions, and fierce competition, IT management has become an art out of necessity to address both the business surviving and thriving issues. Through the traditional lens, IT is an engineering discipline; through the digital lens, IT needs to embed art into science to explore the art of possible. With emerging lightweight digital technologies and overwhelming growth of information, IT management shouldn't just practice transactional activities, it has to discover both the art and science of digital management discipline.

The science of IT management: The science is the ability to produce solutions in a problem domain repeatedly. IT engineering practices and disciplines require scientific approaches and structural problem-solving capabilities. What defines science from chance is the ability to repeat a process with the same resultant solution every time, through the application of known facts. With engineering as science, different people specify requirements/design you get the same results, and different people read the resulting specifications, you get the same explanation. It takes a scientific approach to enhance the IT-business relationship, manage IT-business alignment, cross-functional collaboration, IT integration, and optimization, etc. IT alignment with business design, project portfolio management, continuous innovations is typical in-house retained activities. If idea creation is more art than science, and then the nature of how "implementation of the idea has to follow a logical path for the solution," is absolutely more science than art. Behind the scene, IT is complex. IT organizational development and management need to manage the conflict between classic style and digital style of management. It provides a great opportunity for IT to shine based on its scientific discipline.

The art of IT management: The front side of IT facing customer should be intuitive, easy to use, customer-friendly, and hide the complex nature of technology which is running at the backside. To keep IT relevant, IT management needs to pursue the art of possible - make a shift from mechanical IT to innovative IT. It forces IT leaders to be proactive and get really creative on how they architect and implement changes, to ensure IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. IT is in the unique position to observe broadly and explore deeply about their business and the related digital ecosystem, and thus, have more opportunities to come out innovative solutions to the existing or emerging business problems, Information potential directly impacts the business’s potential of organizations. Running digital IT needs to work cross boxes instead of within the box, for connecting wider dots. IT leadership is key to reimagine IT and reinvent IT as the innovation engine of the business. In addition, IT management development should focus more on “soft stuff,” such as communication or culture, business relationships, in order to build a creative workplace. From an IT performance perspective, a pervasive obsession for purely quantitative measurement and numerical success indicators sweep aside much of the softer, more qualitative information that is crucial in understanding the health and well-being of the firm's innovation efforts. The art of possible is achieved by building innovation capabilities because breakthroughs and transformational innovations are not something every business can accomplish, you have to systematically develop and sharpen those abilities which cannot be built overnight.

The art and science of information management are to optimize its usage and achieve its value and maximize its full potential. IT captures organizational knowledge to continuously improve performance and harness innovation. The balance of art and science in IT is how to enforce scientific discipline, but also make continuous efforts on building better products/services and improving IT maturity.


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