The Information Systems Management Framework
For the Support and Development of Enterprise Applications in Education.
There is always a lot of talk about designing and implementing an IT or ICT Strategy in educational organisations, and rightly so. However it still leaves an applications manager with the task to define the strategy for developing, supporting and maintaining information systems and applications. In this article an Information Systems Management Framework for supporting and developing Enterprise Applicaitons is being discussed.
Why a Framework is Needed?
A framework for IS Management is needed to create a model for managing enterprise applications. Although there are some IS Architecture Frameworks available, this one was developed as a management framework for educational organisations in UK.
The goal is to create a holistic view of managing information systems and especially managing enterprise applications and to answer the question “How to do it?”, rather than what to do. “What to do?” could be answered through creating a services catalogue, but this is not in the context of the IS Management Framework right now, so the activities and drivers are not discussed as yet, but may be incorporated in future revisions. It is assumed that the two main categories of IS team would be Support and Development of the business applications. This could also include managing web applications and corporate website in some organisations. Nevertheless a clear definition of all of its existing components should be established in order to have a clear view of the development and support work.
Also note that in the framework, development is considered part of the support activity so the words development and support are often used interchangeably. These terms shall be defined separately in order to distinguish between them when necessary.
Components of the IS Management Framework
The context of managing information systems is quite vast and could include issues like security, governance, maintenance of the life cycle of the applications and so on. But this framework focuses on three areas or dimensions of the system in order to get us going. These three areas which form the main components of the IS Management Framework are:
- Goals & Strategies
- Tasks & Management
- Function & Attitude
1. Goals & Strategies
Two types of goals need to be discussed and established.
- External Goals
- Internal Goals
The external goals are set for the different department and business areas of the organisation, e.g. Finance, HR, Marketing, and Registry. All these departments need IS to help them in achieving their goals. However we need to clearly identify which exact external goals are we helping with. Let’s say Finance could have a goal to improve savings by 5%. Then we can help them in developing reporting functions to monitor their costs and expenditure to achieve this. But probably not all of their goals could be taken directly by us to support. Many times we have to re-define external goals in the context of IS to help achieving them.
In IS, we could have our own goals e.g. in terms of improving quality like quality of systems, quality of information and quality of governance. Or perhaps we could have goals to integrate systems, build and maintain data warehouses, develop business intelligence, or develop either ourselves or help other departments developing their reporting functions while providing them with analytical tools to do so, and so on. Our performance reviews should reflect on both external and internal goals.