Questions

IT Management Interview

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IT Management Interview

DelMonte
I'm taking an online class. One of the assignments for the next week is to interview a manager and present the responses to the following questions:

What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

How do you use risk management?

How does the company use risk management?

I'm hoping someone here can help me out so I don't have to take time away from work for school stuff.

**Edited to add: I'm winding up this assignment this evening 10/19/06**
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    Wayne M.

    Before my response, one suggestion. Try sitting down with your supervisor or some other approachable manager, perhaps at a coffee break or across lunch. This would help you complete your assignment, give you an excuse to spend some time with someone with promotional authority (i.e., network), and advertise that you are looking to advance your career. Taking 15 - 20 minutes out or your work day to advance your career is a good trade-off for both you and your company.

    Q: What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    A: Most companies are failing to take advantage of advances in IT and IT departments are largely following rather than leading adoption. Web sites are rarely used internally and e-mail remains the most popular document sharing tool.

    Q: What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    A: I can't really answer that. I'm not hiding anything, I just do not know that level of budgeting.

    Q: How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    A: In the late 1980s to early 1990s, there was a growth in IT tools as computers were placed on every desk top. From the late 1990s to early 2000s, IT departments have slowly adjusted to managing this vast amount of hardware and software that is not in a centrally controlled room and may be distributed throughout a building, an office park, a city, or nation-wide.

    Q: How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    A: IT must learn how to manage laptops and other mobile equipment, work with non-corporate assets such as personal laptops and PDAs, enhance sharing of information within the company and between companies, and lastly take on more of a training role - many non-IT staff cannot take full advantage of word processors, calendar programs, VPNs, and other corporate tools.

    Q: How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    A: Most information sharing is still done by e-mail and copy and paste between systems. IT services are usually limited to restricting access to information.

    Q: How do you use risk management?

    A: We largely do risk management by the book. We have Excel spreadsheets that take risk impact and risk liklihood and calculate risk level. There is a lack of confidence in the system and we still tend to react only when problems occur.

    Q: How does the company use risk management?

    A: Each project reports level of risk as a green, yellow, or red indicator. Reporting a red risk status usually requires writing additional status reports, so most project managers avoid reporting anything besides green or yellow status. I am not sure how upper level management uses risk reporting, but the only response I have ever seen is increased requests for status.

    I hope this does not give too cynical an impression and I urge others to respond to help paint a more rounded picture. I still think this assignment would be a good excuse to strike up a conversation with one of your bosses at work.

    Good luck!

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    DelMonte

    Thank you for your response. I find it very helpful.

    I do interact with most of our managers on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this assignment came at a time when they are very busy and I'd prefer not to distract them. I'm sure they'd be responsive even though it would mean a longer day for them. I'd just prefer not to put them in that position during this particularly busy time.

    My other option is/was to take vacation time to interview a manager at another business.

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    NOW LEFT TR

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    DelMonte

    Thank you for your concern and for taking the time to post your thoughts.

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    lastchip

    That's because your response was uncalled for.

    Del Monte is using resources at his/her disposal and trying to get as wider range of opinions as is possible.

    It's a perfectly valid question and I applaud the restraint shown in the reply you received.

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    DigAPony1969

    If you are going to flame someone make it a valid criticism. Del Monte is using technology to gain information from a wide audience to expand is perspective. Frankly I would have flamed you right back; I commend Del Monte for his nice reply. You are simply slamming him instead of contributing a valuable kernel of wisdom. Moreover if you wish to slap people around for goodness sake use a spell checker. If you can't say something nice...

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    NOW LEFT TR

    There is no spell checker on TR.

    Perhaps you should follow your own advice in future. If you can't say something nice...

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    Tig2

    I agree with Wayne that you should interview one of your managers. I understand your rationale for not doing so at this time, but it would be a good step to take- even after this assignment is over. Contrast their answers with the ones you receive here. You are more likely to get answers that you can relate to- as well as a new understanding of your manager.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    I think that we are still trying to understand IT as a service to promote business objectives. Business, I think, still tends to exclude IT from the strategy table and that is not good. IT can support business more effectively when they have a clear understanding of strategic goals.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    I do not know. This is not information I am privy to. Also, IT issues is a very broad question- it implies that it encompasses active projects in addition to day to day maintenance.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    We have moved from a position in which we were regarded as THE solution to being a service provider. Business is no longer willing to see us beyond the place we should take as SMEs for the purpose of facilitating business objectives.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    We must not forget that we exist to facilitate business strategy. To that end we must take a more active place at the planning table. We need to help business understand what technology is capable of delivering to further strategic goals.

    It is also to us to help business understand peripheral issues- safeguarding data, disaster recovery... things that can be solved through appropriate technology but not as readily apparent to business strategy. We need to create holistic systems that provide the protections that business needs and enable business to meet goals.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    This is an area that needs work. Too many data repositiories and insufficient indexing for retreival are some of the stumbling stones.

    How do you use risk management?

    Risk management pertaining to? On projects, we use a red/yellow/green risk scorecard. There are other types of risk in the enterprise and are managed differently.

    How does the company use risk management?

    See above. Risk scoring provides a tool by which the executive level can see status. When a project goes yellow, it generally will be assigned a "mentor" in an effort to bring the project back to a controlled state.

    Good luck with your project. I hope that James is able to weigh in- as management professionals go, he is one that I highly respect.

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    DelMonte

    "Risk management pertaining to?"

    It's very generally defined in the instructions for the interview. The interview questions are for any manager so the types of risk and methods for managing those risks would be varied depending on the nature of the business. Your answers are very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions.

    I do meet with a team of managers twice a year (unfortunately, not before this assignment is due!) to discuss technology planning/goals. We have explored most of this in the past but there are a couple of items that I'd like to discuss further.

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    JamesRL

    First off, I've worked at many places and my answers will reflect that , rather than just a narrow focus on my current employer.

    What is my view of Information Technology?

    For most companies Information Technology is a service provided to the business to make the business run more smoothly and efficiently.

    For some companies, the Googles of this world, IT is a business enabler and driver. These companies use IT for strategic purpose - to directly drive revenue and marketshare.

    I've worked in both types of companies.

    What percentage of the company's budget is spent on IT issues.

    I made a big study of this at my previous employer, and given that, I suggest its an unfair question. Some businesses require more IT investment than others. Best to compare businesses in the same sector. Look at SIC codes. At my last employer, an Engineering/scientific R&D firm, we spent about 4.5% - average for that type of company. Companies, like the ones I described that use IT for strategic advantage will by definition spend more.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    A decade ago we still were working on tying all the different sources of information together. We were also looking at automating manual tasks.

    Today we have pretty much automated almost as much as we can, and we have established interfaces or created datawarehouses to bring all our data together. The challenge is to take all of that data and extract the meaningful information from it.

    Information in and of itself, is useless unless we have the means to use it to make decisions. The focus now is on extracting and presenting information in a meaningful way. Scorecards, Dashboards, and enabling end user querying is where its at today.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    If I had a crystal ball, I'd be at Gartner...

    But if I had to guess, I'd say that real time dashboards are key for businesses, and given the increasing rate of change in business in general, key to becoming an agile business. All companies take risks and make mistakes, but delivering good information on the profitability of a new venture as it rolls out and as it continues is key. Too many times, people find out to late that a new product or service is unprofitable, and then spend too much time, energy and effort trying to turn it around. Agile businesses will use the power of their collected data to make decisions faster.

    How does the company manage knowledge?

    Many kinds of knowledge to manage....

    Our support teams rely on a database of knowledge to speed up problem reolution. They use keyword searches.

    Our management teams use a datawarehouse to extract sales and marketing data used to make management decisions on new products. Thats knowledge too, just a layer abstracted.

    How do you use risk management.

    Two steps here - one you use risk management in deciding and prioritizing projects/new products. You have to balance an assessment of risk with the benefits to make this work. As the chair of a committee that approves projects, I read other people's assessments, ask questions and ensure all the senior team is aware of the risks before a decision is made.

    Second, is managing risks during projects. Every risk assessment should include steps to mititgate risk. Those mitigation steps should be reviewed every time the project is reviewed.

    How does the company use risk management - same way as me....

    If something isn't clear, ask away....

    By the way I agree you should ask your own manager as well. I certainly would appreciate the interest from my staff.

    James

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    DelMonte

    I appreciate the time that you and the others have taken to help me with this assignment. I agree with you regarding the budget question. It's not really meaningful without knowing what type of product or service the company is providing.

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    kovachevg

    "I'm hoping someone here can help me out so I don't have to take time away from work for school stuff."

    I am amazed that there are nice folks answering your questions. You could have at least said that seek their expert judegement, and NOT that you want them to do the work for you so that you save some money.

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    afranquesa

    why do you want to "waste" our time for your school stuff? Wasn't it better to ask for some advice?

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    lastchip

    There's nothing wrong with an honest request for help.

    I will concede, perhaps it could have been worded a little differently.

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    DelMonte

    Each individual determines what actions are a waste of their time. I'm glad that some people considered doing the interview a reasonable use of their time.

    Thank you for taking the time to seek to understand my intentions.

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    DelMonte

    "You could have at least said that seek their expert judegement"

    I think that would have been dishonest. I was seeking managers' answers to interview questions. I was lucky that I got benefit of learning the views of several expert level IT managers but I was simply seeking managers to participate in an interview.

    "and NOT that you want them to do the work for you so that you save some money"

    Where did I say this? Doing the interviews online didn't save me any money and I don't see how doing an interview online is any less valid than doing it in person.


    I don't know why anyone does what they do but I do appreciate that several people took the time to share their opinions with me.

    Thank you for taking the time to share yours.

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    Gooder

    The way I read the post was this:

    Delmonte didn't want to take time off work to go find a manager outside of his company (his own managers being very busy). Doing it in his own time was also not an option as managers are not available after hours.

    The questions are to be asked in an interview fashion, seeking information on how the interviewed manager sees things and the situation in their company. I'm wondering if you thought that they were one-answer questions like "what is 2+2?", "who was first man on the moon?", etc?

    To solve the problem, Delmonte decided to use his initiative and "interview" as many IT managers as possible, in an efficient way. I doubt the tutor specified the interview had to be face-to-face or verbal.

    Using the forums was a good idea. Efficient and effective. It also tapped a greater diversity of experiences and opinions than asking a few managers at the same company would have done.

    Good luck in your course Delmonte!

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    DelMonte

    Thanks for the well-wishes. Luckily, I have so much good information from the interviews that it will be difficult to do poorly!

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    Ted2634

    Q1) What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    A1) Glue
    Q2) What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    A2) Less than 1% of gross sales budget
    Q3) How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    A3) From management leaders to service departments
    Q4) How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    A4) Users must perpetuate systems
    Q5) How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    A5) Business user access profiling (hierarchical security.)
    Q6) How do you use risk management?
    A6) Access logs + A5 compliance
    Q7) How does the company use risk management?
    A7) Deny everything / vet all justifications & requests

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    DelMonte

    :-)

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    CyberJMC66-TR

    I am now a consultant with a large, two letter company - but in past life, I used to be a director and manager. Your questions are interesting and some of the feedback even more so. Here's my stab at it...

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    IT is part (or should be) of the business supply chain and value chain. If IT cannot prove value, it should and is usually outsourced. When you start talking supply chain to your customer (business) then they understand the language you are talking about. This is why Service Management is becoming so popular these days. Running IT like a business vs. a department.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    This varies by industry and you can usually obtain this information from a Gartner or Forester (for the averages per vertical). It is usually stated as a percentage of sales or Income. Some industries have as much as 3% while others are lower than 1%. It is one of those benchmark values you can grade yourself against your peers.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    Absolutely - IT was once a nice to have for file sharing, email, printing - now the business is typically intertwined with IT and could not run without it. But I would also add that IT is less and less a competitive differentiator than it used to be which is why it is being pinched in most industries.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    IT will have to become a competitor to outsourcing and see itself as part of a supply chain.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    The process of knowledge management is every bit as important as the tools that enable it. Every company is different that I have seen. I am not a KM expert and would defer to KM Best Practices if they are to be found.

    How do you use risk management?

    Since we are in a Services market, risk is inherent in everything we do. It increases or decreases timelines, impacts decisions - big issues in security. Risk management is a very mature methodology and should be included as part of any decision or project.


    How does the company use risk management?

    See above..

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    DelMonte

    I think that I've learned more from this particular assignment than I did from the entire course so far. Thanks for sharing your opinions with me.

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    GOC

    Personally, I commend you for having the integrity to not want to do this on the company dime, I agree with several of the others that this was an innovative approach to your assignment.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    Technology (any type) should be used when and if it makes since. To use a technology simply because it is there even if it is not the most efficient way to accomplish a task is a waste of resources.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    From an organizational stand point I really don't know. From a local stand point probably 75% or 80%

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    I'll answer this a little more broadly than the question, I have seen IT go from a purely support role with little attention or resources applied to it, to a mission critical asset where even a short interruption of service can be very expensive.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    IT MUST continue to adapt to the situation. It must grow with the company and continue to "reinvent" it's self to support the companies goals and missions.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    We feel that knowledge management and data warehousing is one of the upcoming issues. Being able to share data with stakeholders and customers who require the data while protecting it from those who do not is critical to success.

    How do you use risk management?

    Risk Management is important, each new system or change to existing system must be evaluated for is potential risk so that risks can be mitigated and system security maintained.

    How does the company use risk management?

    Since mitigating risks can impact performance as well as reduce functionality, management must decide which risks to mitigate and which ones are acceptable.

    Take care and good luck on your project.

    None of us are as smart as all of us.

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    DelMonte

    I appreciate your encouragement and your participation!

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    mike

    Following is my input on your questions.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    IT is the one organization in the company that can benefit all other organizations. We are the department that can provide true leverage to the business by doing things with technology that custs cost, improves employee productivity, or differentiates the company to help it become more competitive. IT is also the toughest organization in your company to manage because there is typically no one in the company who can help the CIO and we are faced with extraordinary amount of change in the technology we support and from business needs and issues.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    There are groups like Gartner and others who publish industry averages. The danger with an industry average is that every company in an industry is different. Two companies of the same size and dynamics in the same industry may need to spend quite differently to support their technologies. For example, if one of the companies grew by acquiring other companies and has several redundant technologies in the aggregated company, it will have to spend quite a bit more than the company who grew through normal revenue growth and only has one technology platform to support. I look at industry averages to see what the industry typically spends but my IT assessment is what I'll use to determine what needs to be spent going forward to support the needs and issues of the business. The industry avarega may be 2.5% IT expense as a percentage of revenue but the company I'm in may need to spend 5% to 7% due to the situation you have. IT spending is based on the challenges you have and how fast you want to go in addressing tha challenges than by an indystry average. I joined a company in 1990 that was spending 5.9% of revenue in an industry that had a 2.5% average. Because of the challenges we had, we increased IT spending to 7.2% of revenue for about 6 months but over time (2 years) we were able to bring IT spending down to under 2.5% of revenue without putting unnecessary risk on the company.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    IT has become more of a business unit than a pure technical unit. Technology has also become more distributed in many companies although this tends to evolve back and forth from distributed processing to centralized processing. There has been considerable outsourcing trend in the past 10 years although I'm starting to see signs that this area of growth is beginning to decline.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    The CIO has to be more business oriented and to focus the IT organization on business issues and needs that provide tangible and quantifiable value to the business. In years past, many CIO's and IT managers were complacent to stay technical in their roles, but to support business of the future you must be able to better understand the business and to insure the IT organization is in sync with the business. Over 50% of all IT organizations are out of sync with their business clients based on most studies so it's a big problem. It's not all that difficult to stay in sync with your business client, but it requires you to focus technology resources on business value rather than focusing on the technology. The "techies" who read this will disagree but the strength of an effective CIO is based more upon his ability to focus his resources on business issues and needs than to be the best technology organization.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    He who has the information has the power. So, maintaining a knowledge base in your company is critical. Senior managers and users of the company need relevant and accurate information to be effective so IT must provide a database environment that allows management to pull pertinent information from the data.

    How do you use risk management?
    Large projects are assessed for risk in a couple of ways. First, are there bottlenecks within the project that can jeopardize completing the project successfuly. Secondly, we try to identify the risks that can jeopardize the project if smething doesn't take place like we plan such as losing a project team member, not getting the necessary funds, lack of availability of outside knowledge experts that are critical to the project, etc. Much of a risk assessment is simply anticipating where existing problems may lie and the cause and effect of potential unplanned events.

    How does the company use risk management? Same as previous question.

    I hope this helps. There are many free articles about managing IT on our company web site that might be helpful as well at http://www.mde.net . Many of them are links to the TechRepublic articles I've written.

    Best of success,
    Mike Sisco, ITBMC

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    DelMonte

    for taking the time to help educate me. I especially appreciate your opinions on the changing roles of CIOs. I'll check out the link. Thanks again!

    I'm from Clarksville, TN. I moved north in 2002. The best manager that I've ever had the pleasure of working for lives in Colombia, TN.

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    jneilson

    I work at a small company and IT management is one of the areas I cover.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    IT's job is to provide employees a means to access, enter and edit data, provide applications and application support and design and maintain IT equipment (computers, routers, printers, the network).
    IT is also responsible for user accounts, user permissions and data management (backup, storage and recovery).

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    That will very depending upon our needs, such as upgrading software that requires upgrading hardware, new hires needing a computer, equipment failure, etc.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    It has become very complex. Businesses seem to be run through the IT dept., not just supported by them.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    IT must keep up with changes in technology. Faster access to data is key. Securing data is a must.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    I don't fully understand the question, but different accesses are put on different data stores.

    How do you use risk management?
    Plan for the worst.

    How does the company use risk management?
    All data is backed up frequently, data is stored offsite, the backed up data is verified. We have a strong backup/recovery plan.
    The company network is also verified to be secure.

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    DelMonte

    I think we use the same risk management techniques! Thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions. You all have been more helpful than I could have wished for.

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    Wayne M.

    Before my response, one suggestion. Try sitting down with your supervisor or some other approachable manager, perhaps at a coffee break or across lunch. This would help you complete your assignment, give you an excuse to spend some time with someone with promotional authority (i.e., network), and advertise that you are looking to advance your career. Taking 15 - 20 minutes out or your work day to advance your career is a good trade-off for both you and your company.

    Q: What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    A: Most companies are failing to take advantage of advances in IT and IT departments are largely following rather than leading adoption. Web sites are rarely used internally and e-mail remains the most popular document sharing tool.

    Q: What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    A: I can't really answer that. I'm not hiding anything, I just do not know that level of budgeting.

    Q: How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    A: In the late 1980s to early 1990s, there was a growth in IT tools as computers were placed on every desk top. From the late 1990s to early 2000s, IT departments have slowly adjusted to managing this vast amount of hardware and software that is not in a centrally controlled room and may be distributed throughout a building, an office park, a city, or nation-wide.

    Q: How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    A: IT must learn how to manage laptops and other mobile equipment, work with non-corporate assets such as personal laptops and PDAs, enhance sharing of information within the company and between companies, and lastly take on more of a training role - many non-IT staff cannot take full advantage of word processors, calendar programs, VPNs, and other corporate tools.

    Q: How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    A: Most information sharing is still done by e-mail and copy and paste between systems. IT services are usually limited to restricting access to information.

    Q: How do you use risk management?

    A: We largely do risk management by the book. We have Excel spreadsheets that take risk impact and risk liklihood and calculate risk level. There is a lack of confidence in the system and we still tend to react only when problems occur.

    Q: How does the company use risk management?

    A: Each project reports level of risk as a green, yellow, or red indicator. Reporting a red risk status usually requires writing additional status reports, so most project managers avoid reporting anything besides green or yellow status. I am not sure how upper level management uses risk reporting, but the only response I have ever seen is increased requests for status.

    I hope this does not give too cynical an impression and I urge others to respond to help paint a more rounded picture. I still think this assignment would be a good excuse to strike up a conversation with one of your bosses at work.

    Good luck!

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    DelMonte

    Thank you for your response. I find it very helpful.

    I do interact with most of our managers on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this assignment came at a time when they are very busy and I'd prefer not to distract them. I'm sure they'd be responsive even though it would mean a longer day for them. I'd just prefer not to put them in that position during this particularly busy time.

    My other option is/was to take vacation time to interview a manager at another business.

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    NOW LEFT TR

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    DelMonte

    Thank you for your concern and for taking the time to post your thoughts.

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    lastchip

    That's because your response was uncalled for.

    Del Monte is using resources at his/her disposal and trying to get as wider range of opinions as is possible.

    It's a perfectly valid question and I applaud the restraint shown in the reply you received.

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    DigAPony1969

    If you are going to flame someone make it a valid criticism. Del Monte is using technology to gain information from a wide audience to expand is perspective. Frankly I would have flamed you right back; I commend Del Monte for his nice reply. You are simply slamming him instead of contributing a valuable kernel of wisdom. Moreover if you wish to slap people around for goodness sake use a spell checker. If you can't say something nice...

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    NOW LEFT TR

    There is no spell checker on TR.

    Perhaps you should follow your own advice in future. If you can't say something nice...

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    Tig2

    I agree with Wayne that you should interview one of your managers. I understand your rationale for not doing so at this time, but it would be a good step to take- even after this assignment is over. Contrast their answers with the ones you receive here. You are more likely to get answers that you can relate to- as well as a new understanding of your manager.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    I think that we are still trying to understand IT as a service to promote business objectives. Business, I think, still tends to exclude IT from the strategy table and that is not good. IT can support business more effectively when they have a clear understanding of strategic goals.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    I do not know. This is not information I am privy to. Also, IT issues is a very broad question- it implies that it encompasses active projects in addition to day to day maintenance.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    We have moved from a position in which we were regarded as THE solution to being a service provider. Business is no longer willing to see us beyond the place we should take as SMEs for the purpose of facilitating business objectives.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    We must not forget that we exist to facilitate business strategy. To that end we must take a more active place at the planning table. We need to help business understand what technology is capable of delivering to further strategic goals.

    It is also to us to help business understand peripheral issues- safeguarding data, disaster recovery... things that can be solved through appropriate technology but not as readily apparent to business strategy. We need to create holistic systems that provide the protections that business needs and enable business to meet goals.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    This is an area that needs work. Too many data repositiories and insufficient indexing for retreival are some of the stumbling stones.

    How do you use risk management?

    Risk management pertaining to? On projects, we use a red/yellow/green risk scorecard. There are other types of risk in the enterprise and are managed differently.

    How does the company use risk management?

    See above. Risk scoring provides a tool by which the executive level can see status. When a project goes yellow, it generally will be assigned a "mentor" in an effort to bring the project back to a controlled state.

    Good luck with your project. I hope that James is able to weigh in- as management professionals go, he is one that I highly respect.

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    DelMonte

    "Risk management pertaining to?"

    It's very generally defined in the instructions for the interview. The interview questions are for any manager so the types of risk and methods for managing those risks would be varied depending on the nature of the business. Your answers are very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions.

    I do meet with a team of managers twice a year (unfortunately, not before this assignment is due!) to discuss technology planning/goals. We have explored most of this in the past but there are a couple of items that I'd like to discuss further.

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    JamesRL

    First off, I've worked at many places and my answers will reflect that , rather than just a narrow focus on my current employer.

    What is my view of Information Technology?

    For most companies Information Technology is a service provided to the business to make the business run more smoothly and efficiently.

    For some companies, the Googles of this world, IT is a business enabler and driver. These companies use IT for strategic purpose - to directly drive revenue and marketshare.

    I've worked in both types of companies.

    What percentage of the company's budget is spent on IT issues.

    I made a big study of this at my previous employer, and given that, I suggest its an unfair question. Some businesses require more IT investment than others. Best to compare businesses in the same sector. Look at SIC codes. At my last employer, an Engineering/scientific R&D firm, we spent about 4.5% - average for that type of company. Companies, like the ones I described that use IT for strategic advantage will by definition spend more.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    A decade ago we still were working on tying all the different sources of information together. We were also looking at automating manual tasks.

    Today we have pretty much automated almost as much as we can, and we have established interfaces or created datawarehouses to bring all our data together. The challenge is to take all of that data and extract the meaningful information from it.

    Information in and of itself, is useless unless we have the means to use it to make decisions. The focus now is on extracting and presenting information in a meaningful way. Scorecards, Dashboards, and enabling end user querying is where its at today.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    If I had a crystal ball, I'd be at Gartner...

    But if I had to guess, I'd say that real time dashboards are key for businesses, and given the increasing rate of change in business in general, key to becoming an agile business. All companies take risks and make mistakes, but delivering good information on the profitability of a new venture as it rolls out and as it continues is key. Too many times, people find out to late that a new product or service is unprofitable, and then spend too much time, energy and effort trying to turn it around. Agile businesses will use the power of their collected data to make decisions faster.

    How does the company manage knowledge?

    Many kinds of knowledge to manage....

    Our support teams rely on a database of knowledge to speed up problem reolution. They use keyword searches.

    Our management teams use a datawarehouse to extract sales and marketing data used to make management decisions on new products. Thats knowledge too, just a layer abstracted.

    How do you use risk management.

    Two steps here - one you use risk management in deciding and prioritizing projects/new products. You have to balance an assessment of risk with the benefits to make this work. As the chair of a committee that approves projects, I read other people's assessments, ask questions and ensure all the senior team is aware of the risks before a decision is made.

    Second, is managing risks during projects. Every risk assessment should include steps to mititgate risk. Those mitigation steps should be reviewed every time the project is reviewed.

    How does the company use risk management - same way as me....

    If something isn't clear, ask away....

    By the way I agree you should ask your own manager as well. I certainly would appreciate the interest from my staff.

    James

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    DelMonte

    I appreciate the time that you and the others have taken to help me with this assignment. I agree with you regarding the budget question. It's not really meaningful without knowing what type of product or service the company is providing.

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    kovachevg

    "I'm hoping someone here can help me out so I don't have to take time away from work for school stuff."

    I am amazed that there are nice folks answering your questions. You could have at least said that seek their expert judegement, and NOT that you want them to do the work for you so that you save some money.

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    afranquesa

    why do you want to "waste" our time for your school stuff? Wasn't it better to ask for some advice?

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    lastchip

    There's nothing wrong with an honest request for help.

    I will concede, perhaps it could have been worded a little differently.

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    DelMonte

    Each individual determines what actions are a waste of their time. I'm glad that some people considered doing the interview a reasonable use of their time.

    Thank you for taking the time to seek to understand my intentions.

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    DelMonte

    "You could have at least said that seek their expert judegement"

    I think that would have been dishonest. I was seeking managers' answers to interview questions. I was lucky that I got benefit of learning the views of several expert level IT managers but I was simply seeking managers to participate in an interview.

    "and NOT that you want them to do the work for you so that you save some money"

    Where did I say this? Doing the interviews online didn't save me any money and I don't see how doing an interview online is any less valid than doing it in person.


    I don't know why anyone does what they do but I do appreciate that several people took the time to share their opinions with me.

    Thank you for taking the time to share yours.

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    Gooder

    The way I read the post was this:

    Delmonte didn't want to take time off work to go find a manager outside of his company (his own managers being very busy). Doing it in his own time was also not an option as managers are not available after hours.

    The questions are to be asked in an interview fashion, seeking information on how the interviewed manager sees things and the situation in their company. I'm wondering if you thought that they were one-answer questions like "what is 2+2?", "who was first man on the moon?", etc?

    To solve the problem, Delmonte decided to use his initiative and "interview" as many IT managers as possible, in an efficient way. I doubt the tutor specified the interview had to be face-to-face or verbal.

    Using the forums was a good idea. Efficient and effective. It also tapped a greater diversity of experiences and opinions than asking a few managers at the same company would have done.

    Good luck in your course Delmonte!

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    DelMonte

    Thanks for the well-wishes. Luckily, I have so much good information from the interviews that it will be difficult to do poorly!

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    Ted2634

    Q1) What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    A1) Glue
    Q2) What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    A2) Less than 1% of gross sales budget
    Q3) How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    A3) From management leaders to service departments
    Q4) How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    A4) Users must perpetuate systems
    Q5) How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    A5) Business user access profiling (hierarchical security.)
    Q6) How do you use risk management?
    A6) Access logs + A5 compliance
    Q7) How does the company use risk management?
    A7) Deny everything / vet all justifications & requests

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    DelMonte

    :-)

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    CyberJMC66-TR

    I am now a consultant with a large, two letter company - but in past life, I used to be a director and manager. Your questions are interesting and some of the feedback even more so. Here's my stab at it...

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    IT is part (or should be) of the business supply chain and value chain. If IT cannot prove value, it should and is usually outsourced. When you start talking supply chain to your customer (business) then they understand the language you are talking about. This is why Service Management is becoming so popular these days. Running IT like a business vs. a department.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    This varies by industry and you can usually obtain this information from a Gartner or Forester (for the averages per vertical). It is usually stated as a percentage of sales or Income. Some industries have as much as 3% while others are lower than 1%. It is one of those benchmark values you can grade yourself against your peers.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    Absolutely - IT was once a nice to have for file sharing, email, printing - now the business is typically intertwined with IT and could not run without it. But I would also add that IT is less and less a competitive differentiator than it used to be which is why it is being pinched in most industries.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    IT will have to become a competitor to outsourcing and see itself as part of a supply chain.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    The process of knowledge management is every bit as important as the tools that enable it. Every company is different that I have seen. I am not a KM expert and would defer to KM Best Practices if they are to be found.

    How do you use risk management?

    Since we are in a Services market, risk is inherent in everything we do. It increases or decreases timelines, impacts decisions - big issues in security. Risk management is a very mature methodology and should be included as part of any decision or project.


    How does the company use risk management?

    See above..

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    DelMonte

    I think that I've learned more from this particular assignment than I did from the entire course so far. Thanks for sharing your opinions with me.

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    GOC

    Personally, I commend you for having the integrity to not want to do this on the company dime, I agree with several of the others that this was an innovative approach to your assignment.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?

    Technology (any type) should be used when and if it makes since. To use a technology simply because it is there even if it is not the most efficient way to accomplish a task is a waste of resources.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?

    From an organizational stand point I really don't know. From a local stand point probably 75% or 80%

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?

    I'll answer this a little more broadly than the question, I have seen IT go from a purely support role with little attention or resources applied to it, to a mission critical asset where even a short interruption of service can be very expensive.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?

    IT MUST continue to adapt to the situation. It must grow with the company and continue to "reinvent" it's self to support the companies goals and missions.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?

    We feel that knowledge management and data warehousing is one of the upcoming issues. Being able to share data with stakeholders and customers who require the data while protecting it from those who do not is critical to success.

    How do you use risk management?

    Risk Management is important, each new system or change to existing system must be evaluated for is potential risk so that risks can be mitigated and system security maintained.

    How does the company use risk management?

    Since mitigating risks can impact performance as well as reduce functionality, management must decide which risks to mitigate and which ones are acceptable.

    Take care and good luck on your project.

    None of us are as smart as all of us.

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    DelMonte

    I appreciate your encouragement and your participation!

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    mike

    Following is my input on your questions.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    IT is the one organization in the company that can benefit all other organizations. We are the department that can provide true leverage to the business by doing things with technology that custs cost, improves employee productivity, or differentiates the company to help it become more competitive. IT is also the toughest organization in your company to manage because there is typically no one in the company who can help the CIO and we are faced with extraordinary amount of change in the technology we support and from business needs and issues.

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    There are groups like Gartner and others who publish industry averages. The danger with an industry average is that every company in an industry is different. Two companies of the same size and dynamics in the same industry may need to spend quite differently to support their technologies. For example, if one of the companies grew by acquiring other companies and has several redundant technologies in the aggregated company, it will have to spend quite a bit more than the company who grew through normal revenue growth and only has one technology platform to support. I look at industry averages to see what the industry typically spends but my IT assessment is what I'll use to determine what needs to be spent going forward to support the needs and issues of the business. The industry avarega may be 2.5% IT expense as a percentage of revenue but the company I'm in may need to spend 5% to 7% due to the situation you have. IT spending is based on the challenges you have and how fast you want to go in addressing tha challenges than by an indystry average. I joined a company in 1990 that was spending 5.9% of revenue in an industry that had a 2.5% average. Because of the challenges we had, we increased IT spending to 7.2% of revenue for about 6 months but over time (2 years) we were able to bring IT spending down to under 2.5% of revenue without putting unnecessary risk on the company.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    IT has become more of a business unit than a pure technical unit. Technology has also become more distributed in many companies although this tends to evolve back and forth from distributed processing to centralized processing. There has been considerable outsourcing trend in the past 10 years although I'm starting to see signs that this area of growth is beginning to decline.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    The CIO has to be more business oriented and to focus the IT organization on business issues and needs that provide tangible and quantifiable value to the business. In years past, many CIO's and IT managers were complacent to stay technical in their roles, but to support business of the future you must be able to better understand the business and to insure the IT organization is in sync with the business. Over 50% of all IT organizations are out of sync with their business clients based on most studies so it's a big problem. It's not all that difficult to stay in sync with your business client, but it requires you to focus technology resources on business value rather than focusing on the technology. The "techies" who read this will disagree but the strength of an effective CIO is based more upon his ability to focus his resources on business issues and needs than to be the best technology organization.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    He who has the information has the power. So, maintaining a knowledge base in your company is critical. Senior managers and users of the company need relevant and accurate information to be effective so IT must provide a database environment that allows management to pull pertinent information from the data.

    How do you use risk management?
    Large projects are assessed for risk in a couple of ways. First, are there bottlenecks within the project that can jeopardize completing the project successfuly. Secondly, we try to identify the risks that can jeopardize the project if smething doesn't take place like we plan such as losing a project team member, not getting the necessary funds, lack of availability of outside knowledge experts that are critical to the project, etc. Much of a risk assessment is simply anticipating where existing problems may lie and the cause and effect of potential unplanned events.

    How does the company use risk management? Same as previous question.

    I hope this helps. There are many free articles about managing IT on our company web site that might be helpful as well at http://www.mde.net . Many of them are links to the TechRepublic articles I've written.

    Best of success,
    Mike Sisco, ITBMC

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    DelMonte

    for taking the time to help educate me. I especially appreciate your opinions on the changing roles of CIOs. I'll check out the link. Thanks again!

    I'm from Clarksville, TN. I moved north in 2002. The best manager that I've ever had the pleasure of working for lives in Colombia, TN.

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    jneilson

    I work at a small company and IT management is one of the areas I cover.

    What is your view of IT (Information Technology)?
    IT's job is to provide employees a means to access, enter and edit data, provide applications and application support and design and maintain IT equipment (computers, routers, printers, the network).
    IT is also responsible for user accounts, user permissions and data management (backup, storage and recovery).

    What percentage of the company's (or division's) budget is spent on IT issues?
    That will very depending upon our needs, such as upgrading software that requires upgrading hardware, new hires needing a computer, equipment failure, etc.

    How has the role of IT changed over the past decade?
    It has become very complex. Businesses seem to be run through the IT dept., not just supported by them.

    How will, or how must, the role of IT change in the future?
    IT must keep up with changes in technology. Faster access to data is key. Securing data is a must.

    How does the company (or division) manage knowledge?
    I don't fully understand the question, but different accesses are put on different data stores.

    How do you use risk management?
    Plan for the worst.

    How does the company use risk management?
    All data is backed up frequently, data is stored offsite, the backed up data is verified. We have a strong backup/recovery plan.
    The company network is also verified to be secure.

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    DelMonte

    I think we use the same risk management techniques! Thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions. You all have been more helpful than I could have wished for.