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Job description

An information systems manager is responsible for the


computer systems within a company, overseeing
installation, ensuring back up systems operate effectively,
purchasing hardware and software, providing the ICT
technology infrastructures for an organisation, and
contributing to organisational policy regarding quality
standards and strategic planning.
Information systems managers work in every size of
organisation in industry and the service sector, usually
with a staff of technicians, programmers and database
administrators reporting to them.
Although the title of information systems manager is
becoming more commonly used within the ICT sector, job
titles may vary, for example, you might be a service
delivery manager in a non-profit organisation and a
function manager in a financial institution.
Typical work activities
Information systems managers are responsible for the
implementation of technology within an organisation and
direct the work of systems/business analysts, computer
programmers, support specialists, and other computer-
related workers. The post holder will usually be an
experienced worker with technical expertise coupled with
an understanding of business and management principles.
Duties within the role are ultimately dependent on the
employing organisation and the complexity of its
information systems.
Standard activities are likely to include:
 evaluating user needs and system functionality and
ensuring that ICT facilities meet these needs;
 planning, developing and implementing the ICT

budget, obtaining competitive prices from suppliers


where appropriate, to ensure cost effectiveness;
 scheduling upgrades and security backups of

hardware and software systems;


 researching and installing new systems;

 ensuring the smooth running of all ICT systems,

including anti-virus software, print services and email


provision;
 ensuring that software licensing laws are adhered to;

 providing secure access to the network for remote

users;
 ensuring the security of data from internal and

external attack;
 providing users with appropriate support and advice;

 managing crisis situations, which may involve

complex technical hardware or software problems;


 mentoring and training new ICT support staff;

 keeping up to date with the latest technologies.

Companies going through business process re-


engineering may well look to the information systems
manager to deal with change management. This requires
an understanding of the capabilities and constraints of
technology and resource implications in terms of budgets,
plus the training and recruitment of specialist staff.
Advert disclaimer
Integrated Information Systems and their impact on
the work of managers

The main motivation for this work was some work


published in an earlier paper on Computer Integrated
Manufacturing that had indicated that the major effect
of this particular technology would not be on the shop
floor, but by the 'sophisticated post boys' of middle
management.
Most of this work, the impact of Information Systems
on managers, was done between 1990 and 1993 with
Kevin Mcloughlin, Principal Lecturer in the Sociology
of Work and Organizations, University of Northumbria
at Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.
(k.mcloughlin@unn.ac.uk.).

Overview
The idea that the work of managers will be affected by
the application of Information Technology was being
discussed as early as 1958. Much of the discussion
has focused on the future role of middle management
and has been speculative and gloomy in its
predictions. Typically one of two scenarios has been
advanced. The first is based largely around the idea of
technological determinism. Technology itself plays a
key role, either leading directly to social change or
acting indirectly to facilitate organizational change.
The second starts from a different viewpoint arguing
that people determine the effect of a technology not
the other way round.
These scenarios relate to two opposing approaches to
technology and social change long identifiable in the
literature. They are both causal or deterministic
models based on the idea of one thing "impacting" on
another to cause change. Recently however attention
has begun to focus on a re-conceptualization of the
"impact" of technology in a way that attempts to
integrate features of both models. Integrationist
models portray an "impact" as a complex, interactive
and ongoing process not as a simple linear outcome.
Technology does not "impact" on its social
environment or vice versa but, over time, each shapes
the other. The principal mechanism in such models is
the interactions of groups and individuals acting
within the constraints of their current milieu. This
approach is viewed as providing a means of
conducting new empirical research on both the
Information System development process and the
implications of Information System use.
Method
The primary method of data collection was in-depth,
semi-structured, interviews lasting between one and a
half and two hours with 65 managers from eight
companies (4 in service industries and 4 in
manufacturing) that had introduced integrated
computer-based information systems. The precise
number of interviews varied from company to
company. The managers interviewed were drawn from
different levels and functions within the companies.
The interviews explored the views, experiences and
concerns of the managers in relation to the use of
information systems and their roles and
responsibilities.
In addition to these interviews further interviews were
held with Personnel and Information System
managers to provide context and background
information; short periods of observation were carried
out and other documentary materials, e.g. minutes of
meetings, information technology strategy plans,
annual reports, organization charts and other
company publications, were also studied.