Information technology is one of the most important areas in any company or organization. It is difficult to think of an organization that can be successful in the modern business world without effective information technology principles. The advances that have been made in the technology that is associated with information management and sharing are momentous. They have the potential of putting wild success within the reach of any organization that makes proper use of them. They too have the potential of destroying any organization that misuses them. What about an organization that does not use these technological advances? Commercially speaking, an organization that is not in the information technology world in the 21st century cannot make any profits. How does a successful Information technology strategy look like?
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To start with, the information technology department must be led by the right person who knows how the system is supposed to work and can easily guide the rest of the department as well as the rest of the company. In simple terms, this element can be described as leadership and consensus in the information technology department. The success of any department is always determined by the type of leadership that the department has. If the information technology department has the right leader in the position of Chief Information Officer, then this person will be able to assess carefully what the company needs and communicate this with the top management of the company so that it is implemented. It is important to point clearly out that being a successful leader in the information department docket is not tied to understanding how everything works. It is not possible to understand completely how each minor detail is supposed to function. But the humility of the leader to accept what he or she does not know and if someone with the knowledge is allowed to carry out that task will lead to successful outcomes for the department, the company, and of course the team leader.
Consensus is an important element in the information technology world in an organization because the variety of systems and applications that are available for a single job can be not only confusing but also overwhelming. In this case, it is possible to get the various participants in the information technology activities in the organization to express their likes and dislikes for certain programs, systems, or applications. What is supposed to be done in this case? Not all of the available tools can certainly be used within the organization. Therefore the Chief Information Officer must try and find a balance through consensus so that what is picked for usage within the company has wide acceptance. This is done through compromise-making and consensus-building among the employees. But who initiates the conversation that leads to the compromise? It is the work of the Chief Information Officer to initiate the conversation and assemble all the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. This will enable the company to pick the best. Below is an example to illustrate the consensus element on the issue of tools or programs to use.
A company’s information technology department may be experiencing confusion over the operating system to utilize for organizational purposes. Some employees may prefer Microsoft Windows while others may be more willing to use Ubuntu. These two operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses. What happens in this case if it is not possible to use both Linux and Microsoft Windows? The best way forward is that the Chief Information Officer will gather departmental experts to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these two operating systems and then the presentation is made to all employees who will be given a fair chance to add or subtract any idea. Then the power of reason will prevail whereby the operating system that emerges as the better option for the company will be used.
The alternative to the above is what an incompetent chief information officer will do. An information officer without any leadership and consensus-building skills will do the selection alone and make everyone unhappy since those who do not like the selected operating system will complain and disturb those who like it.
Far from the above, a successful information technology strategy for a company is sensitive to industry dynamics, and it is therefore not caught in a time warp. Information technology as a field is very dynamic. It is therefore not surprising to come across an idea or a tool that is discovered today only to be replaced tomorrow by a better tool. This means that if the information technology department of a company is to serve the company adequately, the latest developments in the field of information technology must be monitored and the useful ones incorporated as soon as possible. This will enable the company to reap the benefits of these new technologies before they get outdated. For example, if a company has been making use of a mouse that has a chord and remains uninformed over industry developments, the company may not know that a wireless mouse is available in the market. Thus it will keep on using the one with a chord that is cumbersome.
The advantages that come with monitoring industry developments include the chance to know to discover new technologies that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the company. The effectiveness and efficiency will increase the company’s profits, and this is the desire of any business organization.
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Besides the above, a successful information technology system in an organization has a standby backup system that springs into action in case of breakdowns. Despite the high degree of reliability of some systems, breakdowns are experienced from time to time. This is an occurrence that can be devastating to an organization if there is no backup system that springs into action in case of failure on the running system. The outcome of a breakdown that is lacking backup includes losing important organizational data as well as heavy losses caused by the inability of the organization to operate during the breakdown period. This is something that any organization must try to avoid.
Leaving the above aside, a good information strategy involves a detailed program of education and training for all the company employees on the technicalities associated with using the system. Due to a huge selection of options in the information technology industry, it is possible that the system a company is supposed to utilize is not clear to all employees. In this case, the best way forward is to assemble all the employees who are meant to use the technology in their operations and show them how to navigate through the system. In this program, the employees will be taught to make use of the interfaces, the tools such as email and the internet, and how to store data successfully and retrieve it without hitches when the need arises. The issues that this kind of arrangement will prevent the frustration of employees through such technological misfortunes like data loss and slow system speed.
In all these system requirements that are meant to make it smooth and successful, the Chief Information Officer is a vital player. As a leader of the whole department, he should be a leader as noted elsewhere in this essay. That means he should be able to communicate clearly to both his teammates as well as the rest of the company regarding the information technology issues. He should be duly informed of the latest developments in the field and have the humility to accept what he or she does not know so that whoever has the know-how can do it. The Chief Information Officer should also be in a position to inspire the people working under him as a way of making them strive to make the system work optimally for the good of the organization.
In conclusion, a good information technology policy accommodates the latest industry developments and is backed up system in case of a breakdown. It also has a way in which the users can learn to make the most out of it. The successful Information technology officer knows how to lead through consensus, or knows the latest industry developments, is humble, and is inspiring to the rest of his or her team.