IT management must go beyond technical expertise and focus on broader organisational leadership, according to industry experts who have developed seven digital principles for those working in business technology.

“Now, more than ever we need to be thinking about how business technology, and the business itself, is changing,” said Phil Crewe, Chair – BCS IT Leaders Forum which acts as a focal point to address computing leadership issues across business, the computing supply industry, academia, and government.

“It has so far been technologists who have defined IT management methods. As our 2021 IT Leaders Survey observed, this doesn’t always suit businesses or IT leaders. We, therefore, wanted to encourage debate around this important topic and set up a working group within the IT Leaders Forum. This group has set out seven digital principles to help guide the reset of management methods in business technology.”

We don’t manage change in business technology, we respond to it; service, value, and agility are the challenges, and technology, training, ideas, funding, and tech-savvy business leadership are the enablers.

Managers are both inward and outward-looking, simultaneously exploring and exploiting opportunities to support continuous transformational change, whilst maintaining the value, integrity and security of both the tangible and intangible business assets, i.e. including the technical infrastructure and data.

Management methods and solutions and services must be suited to today’s complex, multi-dimensional, dynamic, and sometimes dispersed world and for a future world where a more immediate response is demanded.

Management methods must be capable of handling multiple small parallel projects and processes, rather than just large serial ones but still within the context of an architecture that reflects the real-world business landscape whilst recognising that even this big picture can change quickly.

Initiatives must be supported by a flexible business-driven ‘lean budgeting’ process on a case-by-case basis with rapid approvals, standard costing, clear accountabilities across the extended enterprise, contracts that incentivise the correct behaviour of third-party suppliers and provide a marketplace for services and spare resources.

Even where everything is eventually automated management must be clear where the specification comes from, and how investment and delivery are controlled (e.g. risk, benefit, investment priorities, success criteria, etc.) for the good of the business and for society, even where it may not be possible to define or test requirements except at run time as in the case of self-adaptive / self-managing systems or cognitive informatics.

The final arbiters of the adequacy of solutions and services and the management methods, including whether all needs are being met, are the business stakeholders.

This was discussed by members who attended the BCS IT Leaders Symposium on 8 September along with other issues facing the industry. It will also be a topic at the 2022 BCS IT Leaders Conference.

This article was originally published on the BCS website