Time has brought with it different forms of modern technology that have become critical in the current business settings. From new age computer software, programs, state of the art facilities and machines to contemporary leadership trainings, practices, and strategies… Businesses all over the world do not want to get left behind else, they won’t last long in their respective industries.
With the advent of technology in organizations, it has become very important for a manager to at least have a background in IS (Information Systems) to effectively make decisions. The question is, “What does it take for a manager to be effective in decision-making?”.
As a graduate of a business program and a masters student of business management in the present, here are three skills that I personally think are necessary for managers to be able to make good IS decisions:
Managers should at least have a background in technology or in IS to understand how it works. It is impossible to know how things are when you don’t even know and understand the basic softwares or programs of your company. You need to have interest in technology and the desire to learn the basics of the organization’s softwares, programs, and support systems to make the right decisions.
Take for instance our leader back at work. As the first team under our business process, we trained under our business unit in Sacramento to prepare us for our work process. Our leader, supervisor in this case, had a background in BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) but is also not familiar in our kind of work stream so she had to train with us in order to have a full grasp of our work. In order for her to develop metrics and evaluate our performance, she needed to understand how everything works including our online tools and database.
Our leader is also equipped with basic trouble shooting skills from her previous jobs and made sure that we learned in order for us to be more capable at work. For complicated technological tasks, we have our IT department to handle our requests.
A leader or a manager is not required to have extensive or advanced MIS/technological skills – Just enough to be able to communicate with the professionals (such as the IT Department) or the people in charge of the technological aspects of the organization.
Effective communication is required to handle organizational tasks. Managers should be able to talk and coordinate with other leaders and departments since the IS does not just concern an individual but the entire organization. In times of emergency situations such as software errors or failures, the manager should not handle everything alone especially if his or her ability is not enough to face the problem. There should be discussion with the people involved.
As I have previously mentioned, our IT Department aids us when it comes to complicated tasks such as hardware fixes/installation, complex trouble shooting, IT consultation, service access, and etc. When the whole team is involved or if the issue is a high-level one, our supervisor is the one who communicates with the IT support and of course, we give our full cooperation. When it comes to trivial fixes, we just talk it out with our team since we have “resident ITs” or file service tickets on our own. Point is, effective communication within the key players is vital to avoid conflicts, misunderstanding, and other factors that may possibly affect work.
Information and reports should also be properly cascaded. Our company is very specific when it comes to our daily tasks and problem handling. We have weekly and monthly reports especially since our manager is at our Manila headquarters. To make sure that everything is running smoothly and issues are properly addressed, our leader sends reports either through e-mail, voice calls, or virtual conferences.
Conceptual skills are important for managers to view the entire organization and develop the best choices and plans for the success of the business. There will be instances in which the IS may have errors, needs trouble shooting, or improvement. In these situations a manager should be able to conceptualize a good plan or decision to effectively handle the situation. Right people to handle the job should be sought or the team or department in charge should be approached.
Managers should also be able to understand how the IS relates to the business as a whole and how it can be utilized to develop the organization. A leader should be able to interrelate different systems and setups to make a good plan and sound choices.
In our office, our supervisor decides for things that are within her authority. When it comes to our work, the business unit usually cascades decisions to our manager and in turn, our manager discusses this with our supervisor. Queries and other concerns regarding our work process are escalated by our supervisor to our manager and business unit but oftentimes, there are also situations that need immediate attention. When this happens, our supervisor head-butts with the team and decides after everything was discussed and contemplated upon.
Additional hands in the company should also be accepted if need be. Each member of the team has a specialty or know-how that may be able to help in facing issues or problems. It is the manager’s job to pin-point the weak points, strengths, and other abilities of each member to utilize during certain times. If there is an IT graduate with a background in trouble shooting, the leader may appoint him/her to help the team whenever necessary, especially when a technical problem needs urgent attention and the support team happens to be busy, as long as this does not affect the performance of the member. Of course due credit should also be extended, with proper metrics, for every important tasks volunteered outside the job description since the employee is not expected to do the task.
Managers need these three skills to properly make IS decisions. Without these basic skills, it will be hard to do the managerial tasks in a business setting that utilizes various technological advances.
These three skills were based from the three managerial skills according to the Management book by Robbins & Coulter. It was said that a manager needs technical, human, and conceptual skills. To relate them easier to MIS, I decided to make the three managerial skills a bit more specific.
White Puzzle and Hand image. (2003-2017). wiseGEEK. Retrieved February 2, 2017, from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-conceptual-skills.htm
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Robbins, S. P., Stuart-Kotze, R., & Coulter, M. (2000). Management. Scarborough, Ont: Prentice Hall Canada.