Are you looking for what an ICT Manager’s role seems like for an international organization? Or are you preparing to get promoted for ICT Manager and hence the new opportunities – roles and responsibilities – are near you? I’m sharing my recent experiences of a written exam for an international organization working in the development sector.
Questions presented here for an IT Manager (or you can precisely call ICT Manager – as it should be) for an organization named ICT Nepal (the pseudo name given to have common understanding of the roles.) I do not claim these answers to be accurate or correct (as were produced in a live exam environment), however, should you have any suggestion or a different view, I’ll try my best to respond to you via comment section below this article.
Question 1: Our organization (ICT Nepal) is currently going through huge staff restructure as part of a transformation process. In this process, IT has been identified to be one of the critical roles. What would be your top priorities if you were appointed IT Manager?
IT is one of the critical roles for any organization. For ICT Nepal to cope with the current restructuring, IT should ensure the overall organizational capacity and productivity is maintained and uplifted in near future. Some of the top priorities should I be appointed as an IT Manager include;
- Succession planning: System and administer network and data security, including directory, group policy, firewalls, virus protection, and email security
- Identifying opportunities for team training and skills advancement. And Designing training programs and workshops for staffs
- Overseeing and determining timeframes for major IT projects including system updates, upgrades, migrations and outages.
- Managing and reporting on allocation of IT budget and conducting regular system audits
- Technical support including achieving less paper environment and work process or business flow automation
Question 2: Summarize the telecommunications and Information & Communications technologies landscape in Nepal. How could an organization like ICT Nepal leverage the telecommunications and Information technology work in its work?
The telecommunications and ICT domain are an always growing landscape in Nepal. Rather from the government, the private sector is helping foster its growth. This is evident that the private sector is introducing and deploying newer technologies and is always before the government does. Often, the government formulates policies once the technologies have been widely adopted in the organization and the mass communications.
The organizations like ICT Nepal can leverage the importance of telco and IT to achieve its goal and work productivity, seamless integration of ICT to its projects and daily operation. With the existing facilities in this area, ICT Nepal can introduce new technologies to be example for other organizations and lead work. ICT Nepal can also leverage telco and ICT4D to propel economic and social progress to enhance its existing and future projects and programs. In another aspect, ICT Nepal can also take part in citizen engagement using ICT4D and strengthen social networks while making services more efficient, participate in PPP for policy and regulatory frameworks, infra and capacity skill development with the government and other organizations.
Question 3: Summarize your understanding of the IT Manager’s role.
Summarizing my understanding of the IT Manager’s role in key points:
- Work as a key or focal person of IT
- To share vertical and horizontal knowledge in IT for organization’s overall productivity
- To find areas where IT could replace paper based and manual jobs, while addressing process-oriented jobs that could be automated
- Introduce newer technologies to the organization to empower organization and foster IT based knowledge of staff members while bringing in projects progress based on IT
- Deploy disaster recovery and business continuity plans for and from IT part and overall organization
- Build capacity of staff and organizations in IT domain
- Meet IT and technological compliance and introduce newer work-related technologies for betterment of the organization
Question 4: ICT Nepal might need to purchase and implement a new IT system at some point. As an IT Manager, how would you convince the Operations & Finance Director that the system is beneficial?
An organization of the scale like ICT Nepal should have a robust and updated technology, an IT system for an example. As an IT Manager, my role would be to analyze what the new IT system has to offer for us while addressing all our future needs (and of course, meeting all current requirements).
The main priority with new system would be to (1) bring in work efficiency and productivity to the staff members and the output of projects in overall, (2) comply with the existing and near future compliance and standard guidelines, (3) lessen the burden of daily paper-based and process-based jobs while implementing work automation and achieving business intelligence.
As per my experience, most staff in operation spend time performing some process-oriented task which could easily be automated and achieved using IT systems. These practical approach help me convince the Operations and Finance Director towards benefits of the new IT system.
Question 5: Imagine you are the IT Manager and you are faced with a budget decrease for the IT department. How would you deal with that decrease and prioritize various information-technology based projects?
This is very practical questions and there are only few chances that we often face with decreased budget in IT department. We predefine our needs for each fiscal year, identify need based on their importance and prioritize projects.
When we talk about budget deficiency in IT, it is ultimately going to impact other projects, staff members and the overall output of the program. In many cases deficit, can be handled. Like the cost of internet connectivity is decreasing annually, hence that helps us find an area to cope with or we could always negotiate with service providers or at worst we could lower the bandwidth and adjust our work approaches.
If budget deficit is related with hardware, then it is a tough area to address. First, we find alternatives to what we already have, we should always prioritize to reuse the resources keeping disaster recovery and business continuity in plan.
Another alternative is using open-source and free technologies while meeting the compliance of the organization. Moving towards these alternative helps an organization save a lot in years to come.
These are some of the alternatives, and we could also explore work-arounds so that budget decrease for the IT department do not impact IT-based projects.
Question 6: Have you had to deal with unrealistic IT requests from Management and staff in the past? How did you deal with these problematic requests?
In my career, I have seen some unrealistic IT requests both from the staff and the management. Often time, people from different project request unwanted IT hardware or software thinking that we – the IT guy – would not understand why they were questing.
However, this is not the scenario. In such case, we deal with what the staff is requesting why it is required and what importance the request carries in terms of work productivity and efficiency.
For management, unrealistic IT requests often comes as some suggestions provided to them from departments or projects. In most of the cases, the person to suggest such products or services often lack the latest market status. They were either requesting an obsolete product or something that could be achieved with what we already have in-place, or sometimes underestimating the power of IT personnel present in the organization.
Like, IT staff can usually develop some software pieces and it is not always required to buy from some large vendors. These things need to be understood both by the management and the staff. These are some instances of what I call misunderstanding IT, hence I deploy request management system to track history, purpose and assets in the organization to handle these problematic requests.
Question 7: According to you, why do ICT4D/technology supported/digital development projects fail?
Personally, I find sustainability to be the main reason why ICT4D supported projects fail. Initially when we deploy such projects we capacitate stakeholders and often times we provide support for certain duration or project age, and then the stakeholders are either still suffering from technical part (like budget management or upgrade issues) or human part (like skilled man power leaving the organization or an alternative left.)
In few cases, ICT4D projects also fail if initial planning was not performed well – like was the project implementation a taker’s part or the giver’s part of the influence. A well organized, and projected ICT4D projects generally benefit communities at large hence when the importance is felt at the community level, there are only chances that the projects fail.
Question 8: What are some of the top trends in digital development/technology supported/ICT4D Projects?
In global scenario of digital development or technology support ICT4D projects, the trend is to bring in project sustainability and foster community economy (beside capacity development.) To list some trends based on my experience and what we see around the world, ICT4D projects now involve AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) approach, Big data and Cloud computing services, community or regional financial technologies (like smaller chunks of cashless or easier transaction methodologies), alternative internet connectivity like loom and sat com.
However, not necessarily these trends have to be ones from our country and the need defines the trend. ICT4D trends in Nepal is rural connectivity, online marketplace for communities or rural areas, access to technologies, household economy, capacity of root level individual household in ICT itself. Projects covering these aspects are highly demanding but inadequately supplied.
Question 9: As IT Manager, what kinds of resources would you use regularly to stay updated on the most current technological advancements in the IT industry?
It is imperative that all professional stay up to date with technology that foster and bring in their work productivity. For IT professionals, this is a must, as we can’t afford to miss the latest updates in the technology industry.
As an IT Manager, I follow the latest and new technologies and often time I’m the charter member (the first few followers) to the new services and products introduced. Following the authors and inventors in the related field, IT professionals, becoming members of professional networks like IEEE, Engineers Australia, Nepal Engineer’s Society, taking part in open-source communities, tech podcasts and magazines, interacting with product/service founders via social media or network or mailing lists; and most of all sharing knowledge both in vertical and horizontal circle is what keeps me always updated on IT industry. I have been charter member in multiple Microsoft products, and open-source technologies like CMS and network services.
The most important thing in IT sector to keep oneself up to date is learn it and share it – which results in deployment as required. This will help realize how important newer technologies are to an organization. This is my practice.
This article “ICT Manager – roles and responsibilites” as mentioned in the first paragraph only represents my personal opinion of what are the roles and responsibilities of ICT, IS or IT Manager with focus on an International Development Organization aka INGO or similar non-profit organization. While I welcome your suggestions and feedback, in no way these answers resemble or should be construed true.
So, are you an ICT Manager or a future one? Agree with my answers? What do you do as an ICT or IT Manager? Let’s discuss below.
To cite this article use the following information:
Ekendra Lamsal (August 29, 2020). ICT Manager - roles and responsibilites QnA. Retrieved 2020, August 29, 2020, from https://ekendraonline.com/ict/ict-manager-roles-responsibilites/.