In today’s successful organizations information systems and technology have become indispensable in the way managers define and execute corporate strategy, manage valuable resources, and formulate their organization’s unique value proposition. The IST Portfolio equips IT-capable managers and consultants for a variety of functional areas including Finance, Marketing, Operations, Supply Chain, and Human Resources who are able to leverage IST resources for competitive advantage. The IST Portfolio also develops leaders for the MIS organization who conduct systems and technology planning and analysis, software project management, and technology-based support for business operations and processes.
Some of the typical job descriptions are:
- Consulting: Consultants work in teams with clients to design and implement a wide assortment of IT and system applications. Enterprise systems applications, customer relationship management tools, and e-business platforms are some of the projects consultants implement for clients. These positions demand an eclectic set of technical knowledge, cross-functional business understanding, and strong leadership and communications skills. Consultants typically become well versed with vendor-specific platforms and must work to integrate these systems with the client’s existing systems and the business strategy of the firm.
- Project Management: Project management requires coordination of various teams to achieve timely and economical development and procurement of new software solutions, and successful implementation of new systems in organizations. Strong leadership and communication skills, project management skills, an understanding of the functional areas of the business and the industry context for the system, and the ability to evaluate/justify new technologies are all important prerequisites.
- Business/Process Analyst: Initiating and implementing new systems applications requires an understanding of user requirements, the affected business processes in their industry contexts, and logical modeling of the proposed system. Since analysts bridge the gap between application users and developers, they need business and technical expertise, strong analytical modeling capabilities, and effective communication skills. Analysts apply cutting-edge modeling methodologies such as use case scenarios, UML, object-oriented analysis and modeling, and computer-aided systems engineering tools, along with other evaluative approaches from capital budgeting and managerial accounting, and strategic management.
- Line Management in Other Functional Area of Business: By combining IST expertise with knowledge of a functional area of business such as Finance, Marketing, or Operations, future senior managers will be able to recognize and apply new technology solutions to problems in their organization early in their careers. IT-capable product managers, financial analysts, supply chain analysts, and plant managers can become effective in the information economy by utilizing strong analytical skills, understanding technology evolution and adoption, and accurately estimating the costs, benefits and risks associated with new applications.
Individuals in the IST career path create strategic and technical solutions to enhance business processes. They recognize emerging technology trends, conceive and design new business applications, and support the development and installation of new technical solutions for business problems—transforming the competitive capabilities of the firm in the process. All managers and consultants in this area must develop strong leadership skills, communicate effectively, possess analytical problem solving skills, be able to build and lead cooperative teams and partnerships, and understand the organizational change process.
- Consultant skills include the ability to define and analyze business, technical and strategic problems. They should also be able to develop and install creative process and technology solutions, lead and work within teams, communicate effectively, perform financial analysis and capital budgeting, and interface with diverse functional areas.
- Project management skills include evaluation of new technology solutions, cost/risk estimation, management of the systems development life cycle, IT outsourcing, systems implementation, and effective project-related communication with senior management.
- Business process and systems analysis skills include modeling user requirements, process modeling, analytical skills, use of CASE tools, and enough of an understanding of programming to be able to do some of the work that others in a software development team actually do full time.
- Line managers in functional areas of business are able to leverage IST resources when they develop skills in the strategic use of IT, decision analysis, databases, systems development, applications integration, and technology architecture.