In today’s rapidy changing world of technology it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest trends and innovations. Part of maintaining a successful computer system is knowing what technology is right for you and when to move to that technology. This knowledge is acquired through experience and research.

Eight Principles for Well-Managed Computer Systems

Principle 1 Provide long-term, comprehensive, professional management.
Managing information technology (IT) can seem like a daunting task. IT management skills include a range of technical, managerial, judgment, and communications skills rarely found in a single individual. A first rate IT department needs a leader and strong technical staff to thrive. A top-notch outsourcing firm provides a “vertical slice” of an IT department and its staff members possess a wide range of experience and skills.

Principle 2 Involve executive management.
IT decisions are critical to organizational success and can often be costly and risky. Technology changes the way an organization works and executive management must be involved in all major technology decisions. Non-technical executives should not delegate essential decisions to tech-savvy junior staff.

Principle 3 Value the critical nature of shared data and communication.
Businesses today cannot compete without taking full advantage of the information that flows through the organization. Poor data organization and information loss are both wasteful and costly!

Principle 4 Be proactive in planning technology.
Systems are complex and management is expensive. Managers can make technology a cost-effective tool by anticipating IT needs and creating short- and long-term plans for addressing these rather than waiting until costly emergencies arise.

Principle 5 Be consistent and simple.
A complex computer system is pricey and difficult to manage. Whenever possible keep things simple, consistent, and basic. The rapid pace of technological change makes this a struggle; however, the ultimate results include lower overall costs, reduced downtime, and easier training.

Principle 6 Be on the leading edge (not the lagging or bleeding edge) of IT.
Although difficult, it is of critical importance that organizations keep current in the wake of constant technological change. The bleeding edge of technology is expensive and risky. Falling too far behind can be problematic because equipment and software begin to fail and compatibility issues arise. By staying near the leading edge, companies can maximize the benefits of technology while minimizing system costs.

Principle 7 Build and maintain a top-quality system infrastructure.
Infrastructure is the foundation of an information system and the base upon which programs and applications are built. Poor infrastructure (cheap equipment, inconsistent installations, messy systems, obsolete software) is risky and expensive and may severely interfere with system success.

Principle 8 Practice life-long computer learning.
Computer literacy is essential in today’s economy and requires time, effort, training, and continuous learning. Technology changes rapidly, making today’s level of competence worthless next year. Training programs have their place, but ultimately staff need to become life-long computer learners who are unafraid to experiment, learn new software, and upgrade their skills continuously.

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