This paper will focus mainly on the role of the CIO and the ICT unit in the management of telecommunications network as part of the overall responsibility of the ICT unit in aligning IT strategies with the organizational policies and strategic plan. And in doing so, this paper will discuss the issues involved in the management of telecommunications network within the context of IT investments as part of effective IT governance practices. These issues can become potential problems which must be addressed as the CIO and the ICT unit move to manage and develop new and existing IT investments as part of IT management. And according to the IT governance framework, the influence of other business managers with IT backgrounds outside the ICT unit of an organization can be quite overwhelming. Hence, this can lead to the overpowering of the CIO and the ICT unit in terms of implementation of IT decisions made which requires the participation and guidance from technical people within the ICT unit especially the CIO. The overall role of the ICT department within any organization is to supply the necessary IS and IT services as required by the organization. And whatever the case, the CIO should work collaboratively with the CEO and top management in identifying new IT initiatives which should benefit the organization. On top of this, the CIO in collaboration with the unit managers concerned should together agree on the allocation of resources required for the different IT projects. This role of the CIO and the ICT unit itself can be overlooked if there is no firm support from top management in recognizing the professional abilities of people in charge of the ICT unit. In all, the management of telecommunications network as part of IT governance requires the support and collaboration of other managers from other units of an organization. This in turn can be sustained by the understanding and support from the top executives of an organization. More importantly, this support can be shown in a balanced contribution towards decisions which affect the IT supply side and the corporation demand side of an organization’s IT governance equation. For example, if there is a need for an intranet, or a new information system, these requirements for these new IT initiatives should be proposed through the ICT unit, and the technical staff within the ICT unit should provide a leading role in developing and implementing such proposals. However, other managers or executives with IT backgrounds outside the ICT unit can become too involved in the design and implementation of these proposals, thus creating confusion in the real responsibilities of the CIO and the ICT unit as a whole. That is, the IT governance framework implies that other managers can be allocated decision rights concerning IT initiatives particularly in terms of the effective ‘use’ of IT. But, this is not always the practical application of the decision rights of some of the ‘other’ managers. That is, not only these managers are assigned their decision rights in terms of utilizing IT services but are also using the opportunity to be involved in the actual management of telecommunications within the ICT unit. Therefore as Carr and Snyder (2003) stated, the ‘management of telecommunications is a two sided process: one side is managing the technology, the other is managing the organization. In both cases, the objective is to have an organization and equipment in place that will support IT needs of the parent organization’. The questions which arise here are: Who exactly should be responsible in this management process of technology and the organization in terms of IT governance? Where do the CIO and the IT unit fit in this management process? Managing the technology or the organization or both? IT governance has certainly influenced the overall perspective of how IT and telecommunications network should be managed within an organization. The main emphasis of the IT governance framework is to involve top management in the IT decision making process. This is a perspective which arises as a result of seeing many failed IT initiatives while most of these initiatives require huge amount of funding from the organization. In this way, the contribution from other unit managers towards IT decisions is encouraged to allow for the holistic reach of IT strategies within the organization. But, it is this involvement of other unit managers in the IT decision making process that has certainly created some uncertainties on the part of the CIO and IT technical staff in the execution of their professional duties in the management of the technical side of IT. Although it is important to align IT strategies with the overall organizational objectives pertaining IT governance, but at the same time it has caused some issues of concern in terms of the practical impact of IT governance in an effort to encourage a collaborative connection between the ICT unit and the organization.
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Carr, HH & Snyder, CA 2003, Management of Telecommunications – Business Solutions to Business Problems Enabled by Voice and Data Communications, 2nd edn, McGraw – Hill, USA.
Gilles, R 2005, ‘IT Governance – Are Boards and Business Executives Interested Onlookers or Committed Participants?’, Australian Accounting Review, vol. 15, no. 3.