I was initially a little nervous about writing this article as it has the potential to be somewhat contentious. However it does describe a genuine issue we see again and again in many businesses across many diverse sectors. It can at best be responsible for holding back the development of a business, but often also ends up costing large sums of money or wasting investment.
So what is IT Manager Syndrome? Well this is a term we use at Pro Drive for describing the behaviours of a certain type of IT Manager. But first it is probably worth clarifying what an IT Manager is. To us this is not necessarily a job title – many people assume the title of IT Manager whose primary role is not in fact the managing IT – some are ‘doers’ ie. system engineers, others are business people for whom IT is part of their remit. For us an IT Manager is someone in the business whose primary role is to manage the IT estate of the business – often, but not always, they report to the Financial Director.
So back to the ‘Syndrome’…One of the biggest reasons for dissatisfaction of IT in a business is the failure of major initiatives. This can happen for a number of reasons, but a common one is where there is a disconnection between the initiative and the business as a whole. One of the common causes of this is that the IT Manager – who is supposed to be leading the initiative, ensuring top down buy in from the business and full employee engagement – is too engrossed in the detail of making the technical solution work, rather than ensuring the business receives value from it – IT Manager Syndrome.
The affected IT Manager fails to understand or accept that an initiative that management are excited by and staff enthused by yet is technically not perfect, will have far more value to the business. Yes it is possible to have both, but often a compromise is necessary due to budget – and IT Manager Syndrome often results in this compromise being made in the wrong areas. What use is a technically perfect software solution if staff don’t know how to use it, or can’t use it?
With the rapid growth in cloud technologies, the modern IT Manager has to cope with more initiatives than ever – often driven by stakeholders outside of IT. The bottom up approach is becoming even more dangerous than ever to the business; the risks being little or no return on investment in IT, decreased staff productivity, increased staff turnover due to dissatisfaction with IT and ultimately a reduction in profitability.
IT Managers must focus on the strategic functions of their role by effectively delegating or outsourcing day to day tasks. For many SME organisations however the skills simply do not exist at the IT Manger level to effect cross company change in this way. In these circumstances employing virtual CIO services to drive these projects, measure where they go right or wrong and ensure they are adjusted to meet the needs of the business is the answer.
If you suspect IT Manager Syndrome is present in your organisation, give us a call and we can help get you back on the right track.