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IT management

IT management deals with the control of IT in a broader sense. IT in the sense of information technology, e.g. hardware and software, is a means for IT management that is used to achieve a specific purpose. Although information technology is of central interest, IT management also has to consider other means, such as personnel and organizations, which are related to the creation, operation and use of information technology and which therefore also belong to IT in the sense of the word . The purpose pursued with the use of information technology is formulated by several, possibly conflicting, goals and it is one of the tasks of IT management to identify and prioritize these goals.

The overall IT management complex can be broken down into individual task areas, see Figure 1. The tasks of IT management are located between IT on the one hand and the customer and the overall organization on the other. The separation into customers as service recipients and the overall organization as the higher-level unit that embeds IT is necessary because both groups have their own requirements for IT. Furthermore, partners as actors in upstream or downstream stages of the value chain can also be distinguished as interest groups. The focus of a partnership relationship is a smooth process and an optimization of the entire value chain, even if the partners can be legally independent organizations that otherwise represent their own interests that are definitely in conflict with one another.

IT management fulfills these different requirements with its own areas of responsibility. IT service management is used to align IT to its customers. The IT GRC management - as a summary of governance, risk and compliance management (governance, compliance, risk management) - is used, on the other hand, to make IT transparent and thus controllable, to plan risks and to ensure that the IT itself conforms to external regulations, especially laws.

The two task areas enabling and alignment show a differentiated view of the so-called business-IT alignment. It is meant to express that IT is never an end in itself, but definitely needs freedom in order to open up new business opportunities.

The IT strategy (strategy) plans the future development of IT and IT controlling (controlling) is pragmatically understood as the area of ​​responsibility that supplies IT management with control-relevant values ​​in the form of key figures. In IT program and portfolio management, specific IT services are brought into line with the IT strategy and the business strategy of the customers and the overall organization and grouped in so-called programs with similar services. IT resource management focuses on the control of relevant resources, e.g. hardware, software, information and personnel.

Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) enables a coherent view (architecture) of the organization (enterprise) and thus its control (management). Since IT is now an essential part of organizations, EAM is seen as part of IT management, even if EAM also considers other aspects, such as business models and processes.

The cyber security task area includes all tasks that ensure that IT has an adequate level of security.

IT management as a whole has the task of coordinating the individual areas. For example, IT service management needs key figures from IT controlling to calculate prices for IT services, IT portfolio management needs an IT strategy to evaluate service ideas and this IT strategy must be in accordance with the law stand. All areas work together and have links to one another in order to optimally coordinate means and ends.

The task area model outlined above is a widely accepted lowest common denominator. However, there is no generally accepted understanding of how IT management should be designed specifically. This is partly due to the fuzziness of IT management and partly to the requirements that result from different organizational contexts. It is intuitively obvious that the IT management of a global bank must be different from that of a local manufacturing company.

So-called best practice frameworks (best practice) are often used to implement IT management in practice. Good best practice frameworks counter imprecision with sufficiently clear definitions, principles, process descriptions, etc. - but at the same time they enable adaptation to the specific context. This means that all organizations that have built their IT management on the basis of a certain best practice can fall back on a common knowledge base and B. deploy appropriately trained employees productively relatively quickly - but something is not simply adopted that has proven to be successful elsewhere without considering the respective context. Rather, good best practices are structured in such a generic way that they always require concretization and thus the examination of organization-specific circumstances. Two well-known representatives of such best practices for IT management are ITIL (originally Information Technology Infrastructure Library, currently only used as a proper name) and COBIT (up to version 4.1 Control Objectives for IT and related technology, from version 5, however, there is also COBIT only a proper name and no longer an acronym). Both are published by central organizations and are constantly being further developed. Above all, the expertise of practitioners and rather less that of scientists is used. Best practices are optimized for implementation and rapid benefit development and tend to neglect the explanation of facts. However, both ITIL and COBIT have now reached a high level of maturity, which is also reflected in a certain ability to reflect, which is traditionally a feature of science-based approaches.

The contribution of IT management to digital transformation is currently being discussed. Digital transformation, or digitalization for short, is understood to be the substantial change in processes, business models and industry structures under the influence of information technology. In general, it can be said that with the increasing relevance of information technology, IT management has to become more and more sophisticated and mature. However, it can be questioned whether central IT management in the sense of an organizational unit can still do this or whether IT management tasks must increasingly be decentralized.

Another field of action of IT management is the quick reaction to environmental influences, which is thematized as agility. Agile methods are mainly known in software development and project management. However, they are now also being transferred to other areas, for example under the keyword DevOps to the operation of IT systems.

See also information management.