IT management vs. IT governance

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Master of Science in Management Information Systems

Modern organizations depend upon sophisticated and expansive information technology infrastructure. From cloud-based data collection, processing, and storage platforms to mobile devices associated with the ever-growing enterprise internet of things, the businesses of today leverage countless mission-critical software and hardware assets. Of course, the IT departments overseeing these items must operate with great care, lest catastrophic system failures unfold. Most IT departments take advantage of two separate concepts when executing such essential duties: IT governance and IT management.

These two notions appear identical on the surface. In reality, each encompasses distinct operational methodologies critical to enterprise IT success.

IT stakeholders collaborate during a planning session.

Understanding IT governance

This concept encapsulates a collection of planning and implementation workflows designed to ensure overarching backend stability and return on investment. IT teams across virtually all sectors leverage such formalized processes when drawing up long-term departmental spending strategies and putting into place core assets that contribute to the bottom line, CIO reported.

Numerous stakeholders take part in IT governance, from niche technical specialists to executives. Most of these cross-functional groups leverage one of the many existing IT governance strategies. Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies, from ISACA, is among the most popular options, along with the Capability Maturity Model Integration, developed by the Software Engineering Institute. The former strategy centers on risk mitigation, while the latter emphasizes backend performance improvement.

IT governance, no matter the methodology through which it is executed, is immensely popular among modern business leaders, an estimated 90 percent of whom believe it facilitates organizational agility and lays the groundwork for positive financial outcomes, according to research from ISACA.

Understanding IT management

IT management encompasses multiple day-to-day infrastructure oversight processes that ensure sustained technological performance. Analysts for Gartner found that the various activities associated with this concept often address three distinct enterprise IT areas: infrastructure operations, application management, and user support.

Technical specialists responsible for addressing the first variable monitor internal networks and work out occasional connective kinks. Many also deal with ancillary matters such as third-party contractor oversight, staffing, and IT policy creation, TechTarget reported. IT personnel in charge of applications oversee the mission-critical modules that propel business operations, leveraging their programming expertise to ensure this key software performs as required. In 2018, many of these staffers also worked to integrate new enterprise applications into everyday workflows, as approximately 78 percent of organizations worldwide pursued software upgrades of some kind, according to survey data from Sapho. IT workers in charge of the third and final component of IT management, help desk operations, assist colleagues and customers who encounter trouble while navigating company-hosted online products. This is critical work, as employees who cannot properly use internal tools experience declines in productivity while consumers that encounter online trouble depart for more technology-savvy competitors. Both of these outcomes drag down the bottom line.

In the end, these IT management activities support holistic company success, ensuring key infrastructure is up and running at all times.

Achieving sustained career success

IT professionals intending to enrich their careers by becoming functional experts in one or both of these areas should start by developing the requisite skills. Individuals in the industry embarking on developing IT governance expertise must not only cultivate strong technical knowledge but also focus on building soft skills related to budgeting, communication, collaboration, and project management. Why? The technical specialists who lead governance programs must be able to work with cross-functional stakeholders to ensure top-down IT initiatives align with larger business goals and actually generate ROI. Those interested in IT management, on the other hand, should be able to navigate enterprise infrastructure with ease and have the backend skills necessary to contribute to specific IT functions, including application administration, data security, and user support. And, since the activities associated with each of these areas affect company financial health, some business knowledge is helpful.

So, how can IT professionals pursuing career opportunities in management information systems go about getting these skills? The online Master of Science in Management Information Systems program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a good option. Here, technical specialists can cultivate new capabilities through a robust 100 percent-online curriculum that addresses numerous key IT topics, ranging from Business Programming and Database Management to Information Systems and Social Media and Virtual Communities. Additionally, the online MS MIS program at UAB includes the course IT Governance and Management. Here, students engage with the core tenets of IT governance, unpack the COBIT framework, and review best practices from the ITIL and International Organization for Standardization. The course also covers the managerial variables that come with overseeing large-scale enterprise IT infrastructure.

Students enrolled in the online MS MIS program at UAB can embark on cybersecurity and IT management concentrations, giving them the opportunity to develop even more specialized and marketable skill sets.

Are you prepared to start cultivating IT governance and management expertise by getting a masters in management information systems? Connect with an enrollment advisor today to learn more about the online MS MIS degree at UAB.

Recommended Reading:

How IT project management is unique

Web developer vs. software developer: What’s the difference?