Information Technology Management

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Information technology encompasses the full range of production, distribution, and consumption of information across all media from TV, radio, internet, and satellite. The recent phenomenon in the field of IT is a rapid advancement in the speed and power of computers and the digitization of information. This has led to a convergence of several sectors in the industry to a combination of industries involved in production distribution and consumption activities.

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Changes in technologies involving the information and communication systems in the world play a major role in the way issues related to society are developing. Information technology does not only involve hardware and software, it also involves the human being as a major component. The human being has been able to develop systems that have allowed him to find solutions not only involved with the information and communication industry but also social, economic, and political problems. The last decade has witnessed a change from analog to digital systems. There has also been an eruption of interconnectivity between the tools of communication that has led to the formation of a complex information environment.

Mercy Corps (2006) indicates a recent phenomenon of globalization of information technology where he demonstrates it as a flow of information contained in form of radio broadcasts, compact discs, computers, satellite communications, and videotapes among other contents and also as the flows of the systems (hardware) both locally and internationally to produce, distribute and consume information.

The aspect of globalization of IT has yielded both positive and negative fruits most importantly in its role in conflict resolution. Globalization has made the world to be more or less a global village where an issue affecting one society draws attention from all parts of the world. At this point, it would be difficult to precisely determine whether globalization has to lead to technological advancement or vice versa.

The spread of information and communication networks across national borders has enabled people from overseas to contribute to conflict issues affecting a given part of the world. In addition, the advancement in IT has enabled more access to information regarding other countries and the methods of conflict resolution they apply whenever similar conflicts occur. The revolution of the IT industry to the current digital world is projected to play a major role in the promotion of democracy which is the cornerstone of conflict resolution. According to Hattotuwa (2004), the peacebuilding process and conflict resolution can be greatly strengthened if organizations, states, and people, in general, are connected in multi-sectoral and peace-building networks while being provided with accessible knowledge banks. IT has great potential in unifying governments, local authorities, political stakeholders, civil society, and other international institutions to foster a working peacebuilding and conflict resolution. This applies not only to political scenes but also in conflict resolution relating to economic, environmental religious, and other social issues.

The rapid eruption of IT interconnectivity across regional and international boundaries has also enhanced conflict resolution measures where conflicting parties have a chance to learn from best practices from other parts of the world where similar conflict has ever occurred. This has been made possible by the access of information courtesy of the advanced IT systems across the globe.

Knowledge can be described broadly as a form of intangible resource that accounts for an organization’s intellectual asset. Hawamdeh, Stauss and Barachini (2009: p 275). The intangible assets include employees’ competence, internal structure, models, concepts and processes, administrative systems and IT infrastructure, external structure, etc. Knowledge as an asset resides with the workers. However, it can be extracted, utilized or coded, and stored for future use. Knowledge management on the other hand refers to identifying and organizing the intellectual assets of an organization. Knowledge management also includes generating new knowledge, making the information accessible, sharing the best practices which encompass the technology that makes it available. Most organizations have embraced the need to use IT systems in knowledge management. Electronic databases, audio and video recordings, interactive tools, and multimedia presentations have been availed to enable organizations to share and disseminate knowledge. Organizations that require to effectively manage their knowledge as recourse must therefore invest in the most effective IT systems that will be able to handle information as required.

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Business problems occur due to aspects related to knowledge and information. Therefore to achieve the goals of investment which include savings, improvement in human performance, and competitive market share, knowledge management is a key consideration (Christensen, 2003, p 7). Knowledge management involves the management of information as well as the management of people. The development of advanced information handling systems has enabled organizations to capture, store, distribute and disseminate knowledge. Similarly, the human resource has who are the custodians of this knowledge are properly managed by improving the knowledge through the use of IT.

As mentioned earlier, knowledge management includes the need to increase knowledge. Currently, organizations are using the vast opportunity offered by IT advancement in tapping resources from other parts of the world. Information technology globalization has enabled organizations to recruit in their workforce the best brains by making online advertisements available to people across regions. Similarly, experienced people have been provided with the opportunity of making online job applications. This has been made easy and cheap through the proper use of IT systems. An organization that is conscious to manage its intellectual capacity can not ignore this opportunity to tap into fresh and energetic human resources through the utilization of the now simplified and cheap online advertisement, application, and recruitment procedures.

Career planning means setting career objectives for the future and taking the steps to reach the desired career. In the world today many aspects have been computerized such that, the knowledge of IT will be an important prerequisite as far as employment and careers are concerned. Many organizations that have embraced information and communication technologies are currently using online recruitment procedures. A professional with IT knowledge can thus utilize the vast career opportunity to search for a job in any organization across the globe that will satisfy his/ her career objectives. A professional with IT knowledge has been rendered free to move from one organization to another unlike in the past where professionals were rather restricted to specific organizations due to lack of information on the existence of other more career fulfilling opportunities; The globalization of IT can now enable professionals with IT knowledge to search for better jobs.

As the world evolves courtesy of innovations and discoveries managers in different organizations are faced with the challenge of integrating individuals into an effective whole and adapting effectively to the external environment to sustain its operations in the market to compete with other players in the market. According to Yeganeh (n.d: p 3), organizational culture entails an objective entity of an organization consisting of behavioral and cognitive characteristics which include the values, assumptions, norms signs of organization members as well as their behaviors. As the world changes in terms of technology and innovations, the cultures of organizations must also change to adapt well to the emerging environments. Despite the well-rooted organization cultures the change in technology renders the managers to constantly seek organizational changes that include not only changing the structures of the organization but also changing the cultures as well.

Due to the rapid changes in the industry courtesy of innovations the decisions by IT managers must constantly take dynamic stands to rhyme well with the current trends in technology especially regarding the IT industry. Innovation is leading to new technology that is rapidly rendering most of the current technologies obsolete or ineffective. IT managers should consider the relationships between new IT initiatives and the way they will interact with organization cultures to successfully address the current problems (Utley, 2001, p. 8). For successful decision-making by IT managers, they must evaluate the attributes of existing organizational cultures to identify those attributes that hinder efforts to successfully implement new IT innovations and abolish them. In addition, the decisions by IT managers should be aimed at establishing an organizational culture that will enable and encourage adopting new technologies to support IT implementation.

Globalization has increased completion in the market where the other producers have gained access to the world market. Organizations aiming at competing at world levels must use management strategies that will favor their survival in the market. The management teams in these organizations are thus charged with the responsibility of exploring new methods of organization, implementation, production, and management of resources to ensure they remain competitive in the market.

In modern economies, IT managers should take advantage of the vast opportunity that is offered by IT in knowledge management. Utilization of this opportunity will enhance employee competency in transferring and using information that is directed towards customer satisfaction. As a management strategy, the IT managers should work together with other managers in implementing an organizational culture that promotes the use of IT designed for knowledge creation, capturing, and storage, and distribution of knowledge. Schein (2004: p 275). However, for effective competition with other players in the market, the organization must adjust some strategies to incorporate new information and communication technologies

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The technological advances witnessed currently especially in the IT industry offers the organization an opportunity to have a direct connection with the consumers of their products. It is, therefore, possible for the organization to apply this technology to improve its operations by having views from the consumers.

Globalization aided by information and communication interconnectivity has led to interactions between countries and organizations such that it is easier to access information regarding other organizations readily at a low cost. An organization can therefore learn from the best practices of other companies in the world to apply them in solving of day to day challenges. This also includes the organization outsourcing for the most qualified workforce from outside their regional boundaries through online advertisements and recruitments. This strategy may also prove to be effective where the organization can reach the consumers of its products through overseas online advertisements. This can significantly increase the market share and competitiveness of the organization against other organizations in a similar business.

In any organization, as managers strive to empower their workforce by educating them to acquire the best and relevant skills, they need to focus also on the IT infrastructure in their organizations. The organizations should move to adopt the IT-based organization culture. According to Joia (2003, p. 11), IT has changed the way organizations work therefore if the potential offered by IT is to be utilized to the capacity, the managers and those responsible for the development of the infrastructure must first analyze the organization’s capabilities in adopting the systems and also get fully involved in its development. Join (2003, p. 11) also acknowledges that the long-term competitive advantages of any organization are vested in its capacity to implement the information and communication technologies both internally and externally.

References

Christensen, p. H. (2003). Knowledge management: perspectives and pitfalls. Copenhagen, Business School Press DK.

Hawamdeh, S. et al. (2009). Knowledge management: competences and professionalism. NJ, World Scientific.

Hottotuwa, S. (2004). Untying the Gordian knot: ICT for conflict transformation and peace building. Web.

Joia, L.A. (2003). IT-based management: challenges and solutions. Hershey, Idea Group Inc.

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Mercy corps. (2006). Information technology and globalization, Global envision. Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

Schein, E.H. (2004). Organization culture and leadership. San Francisco, John Wiley and sons.

Utley, D. R. (2001). Organizational culture and successful information technology implementation. Engineering management journal, 2001. Web.

Yeganeh, M. E. (n.d). The impact of national and organizational culture on information technology (IT). Web.

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