Operational management

By Infoxchange Australia

Operational management leadership is responsible for realising in practice the legal, financial and ethical strategies and functions of their organisation, its mission, goals and service delivery.

The organisation leader or CEO bears responsibility for keeping the governing body informed of relevant developments in the organisation's field of service including evolution in the information communication processes that facilitate efficiency in service delivery.

The organisation leader or CEO also bears the primary leadership role for the management team and staff.

Because information communication technology (ICT) is an essential strategy for every modern organisation, the organisation leader or CEO will appoint an ICT management officer, establish a staff ICT committee, oversee the use of ICT in service delivery and develop a structural model for managerial supervision of ICT strategy.

Governing body responsibility for establishing ICT strategy also has clear implications for the organisation leader or CEO. Maintenance of ICT proficiency is an area where leadership, organisation and decision making are vital issues, but where grassroots capacity and initiative are also essential. Flexibility and dependence on specialist expertise require from the organisation leader or CEO a need to employ skilled staff, a willingness to trust their expertise and advice and an acceptance of the need to delegate.

The operational management team must develop an ICT plan in consultation with both ICT and service provider staff. Because ICT proficiency is a process rather than a result, however, the operational management team must also be prepared for continuing monitoring and reappraisal of ICT plans, systems and performance. ICT proficiency must be seen as a series of improvements, not a task to be accomplished in order for the organisation to move on.

ICT portfolio management should encompass computer hardware and software, but also comprehend ICT staff qualifications, in-service training and competence and service provider staff competence and in-service training.

Establishing and maintaining an up-to-date asset and human resources inventory is an essential prerequisite.

In regard to physical assets, the operational management team has a special role in ensuring that the most appropriate hardware and software is available and is purchased through the most economic channels, which may include cooperative purchase through group procurement.

The operational management team should also recognise that outsourcing aspects of ICT management may also be more effective and economical for such tasks as regular, objective proficiency monitoring, help desk and library resource provision, staff training and hardware and software acquisition.

The organisation leader or CEO, however, has special responsibilities:

  • supervise reporting and communication responsibilities with the governing body
  • recommend to the governing body on fundamental initiatives like establishing or developing a website, establishing other new ICT capacities or units or ICT copyright, licensing and security issues
  • oversee the use of ICT in service delivery, database development, record keeping, reporting and making external submissions
  • authorise ICT health and safety and disability access policies and practice
  • supervise development and function of copyright, data protection and privacy policies
  • initiate continuing consultation and research on digital proficiency and innovative practice
  • initiate regular review of the ICT Plan
  • appoint the organisation leader or CEO or a member of the senior management team as ICT management officer
  • establish and specify the composition of a staff ICT committee to meet regularly and be chaired by the ICT management officer and include the senior staff ICT technical officer
  • develop a structural model for managerial supervision of ICT strategy and function.

Along with the governing body, the organisation leader or CEO has responsibility to ensure that the organsation meets the legal and regulatory requirements prescribed by Government.

The following links will enable a greater understanding of these in relation to IT.

Electronic Frontiers -  Data Protection Laws/Privacy Acts -http://www.efa.org.au/Issues/Privacy/privacy.html

Office of Australian Information Commissioner Laws http://www.privacy.gov.au/law

Australian Privacy Foundation - http://www.privacy.org.au/Resources/PLawsWorld.html

About the author
Infoxchange Australia
An Australian not-for-profit social enterprise encouraging the use of technology for social justice.
Copyright © 2011 Infoxchange Australia