IT Management: Not For the Faint of Heart..

By Eileen Feretic  |  Posted 2010-04-08 Print this article Print

IT executives are expected to be miracle workers—doing more work with a smaller staff and budget.

These days, most of us are working extra hours and handling more jobs than we did two years ago. But those of you in technology management are facing some especially tough challenges.

You’re expected to be technology miracle workers: handling all the traditional IT jobs while implementing new technology solutions such as virtualization, social networking, cloud computing, enterprise mobility and green IT—all with a smaller staff and budget than you had two years ago. On top of that, you must deal with growing security threats and complex compliance and regulatory issues.

When I speak with technology executives about the challenges they face and read the stories they share about their accomplishments, I’m astonished at all they’ve achieved. They are meeting the demands of the business while trying to keep overworked staff members productive and motivated. Caught in the middle, they are managing up and down—and doing it incredibly well.

The stories in this issue are prime examples of the amazing jobs you in IT are doing. Consider the challenges facing Carole Post. She was appointed CIO of New York City in January and was given 30 days to develop an IT road map for the city. Talk about pressure! (See “Tech in the City” .)

I spoke with Carole in February after she had completed her report, and was impressed by her dedication and determination. Her primary goal? “We want to be the finest IT delivery service that we can be,” she told me. “Our goal is to be on the leading edge of new technology, as opposed to playing catch-up, as governments tend to do.”

Carole and Michael Bimonte, the city’s deputy commissioner of IT Services, have a lot on their plate. Among other initiatives, they plan to modernize and consolidate New York City’s outdated data infrastructure, expand virtualization efforts, roll out its 24/7 citywide service desk to the rest of the city’s more than 50 agencies, create a new Office of Telecommunications and Broadband Policy, upgrade the city’s wireless network and make WiFi available as widely as possible. That’s enough to keep any IT executive up at night, but, after speaking with Carole and Michael, I have no doubt that they will achieve their goals.

Other IT managers quoted in this issue are dealing with their own challenges. Jo Lee Hayes, senior vice president of enterprise technology at Sallie Mae, implemented integrated IT service management processes and technologies to enhance services to the organization’s 10 million customers and 8,000 employees. (See “Safeguarding the Customer Experience” )

And Bill McQuaid, CIO of Parkview Adventist Medical Center, had to merge all of the center’s data into one health care information system. To keep that data safe, he deployed a single sign-on solution and finger biometrics technology. (See “Treating Password and Regulatory Pains” .)

Odell Thompson also faced a challenge. He was brought on board at the Gulfport Municipal Court to clean up the mess left by Hurricane Katrina—which destroyed the court’s building and water-logged its files—and to create a technology solution that would prevent that from happening again. So Odell implemented a digital imaging system, integrated three databases and stored data in multiple sites. (See “Disaster Proofing IT After Katrina”.)

We’re all aware of the challenges facing organizations in the health care industry: implementing electronic medical records, ensuring the safety and privacy of health care information, expanding medical technology into the home, and providing health care workers with wireless devices. The IT managers at these organizations are tasked with implementing these technologies and training medical personnel in their use. Also, for possibly the first time, they have to bring patients and their families into the loop, easing their concerns about privacy and explaining the use of the tech devices the patients bring home with them. Once again, not an easy job. (See “A Healthy Tech Future”.)

We at Baseline know how tough your job is, and we hope that by sharing with you the knowledge and experience of your peers, we can help make it a little easier. We look forward to sharing more stories with you and hope you will tell us what challenges you’re facing—and how you’re dealing with them.

Eileen Feretic is the Editor of Baseline Magazine.

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