The BCS IT Leaders Forum has a working group, chaired by Dr David Miller, looking at the suggestion that we should be pressing re-set on our IT management methods.

The need was raised at the BCS IT Leaders Conference in February 2021. Our basic IT management methods have evolved slowly over the last fifty years and it’s fair to say that they haven’t been without their problems. Now, more than ever we need to be thinking about how business technology, and business itself, is changing. When considering the broader issues of technology in business, its right that we should be thinking now about how its management must change, and this time we need to encourage discussion amongst IT leaders to ensure that this important perspective is not excluded.

Seven digital principles to reset management methods

The BCS IT Leaders Forum working group is suggesting seven digital principles to help guide the reset of management methods in business technology as follows:

  1. We don’t just manage change in business technology, we respond to it; service, value, and agility are the challenges, and technology, training, ideas, funding, and tech-savvy business leadership are the enablers.
  2. Managers are both inward and outward looking, simultaneously exploring and exploiting opportunities to support continuous transformational change, whilst maintaining the value, integrity and security of both the tangible and intangible business assets, i.e. including the technical infrastructure and data.
  3. Management methods, and solutions and services must be suited to today’s complex, multi-dimensional, dynamic, and dispersed world and for a future world where a more immediate response is demanded.
  4. Management methods must be capable of handling multiple small parallel projects and processes, rather than just large serial ones but still within the context of an architecture that reflects the real-world business landscape whilst recognising that even this big picture can change quickly.
  5. Initiatives must be supported by a flexible business driven ‘lean budgeting’ process on a case-by-case basis with rapid approvals, standard costing, clear accountabilities across the extended enterprise, contracts that incentivise the correct behaviour of third-party suppliers and provide a marketplace for services and spare resource.
  6. Even where everything is eventually automated management must be clear where the specification comes from, and how investment and delivery are controlled (e.g. risk, benefit, investment priorities, success criteria, etc.) for the good of the business and for society. The law expects forensic accountability for what is delivered and what is delivered must be fit for purpose.
  7. The final arbiters of the adequacy of solutions and services and the management methods, including whether all needs are being met, are the business stakeholders.

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The BCS IT Leaders Forum wishes to further encourage debate on IT management methods. Any member wishing to engage with this topic or other issues facing the industry and its leaders should contact the Forum committee. It is anticipated that progress on this topic will also feature at the 2022 BCS IT Leaders Conference, one year on from when it was raised.