What Is a Computer and Information Systems Manager?

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An organization’s success often depends on whether it has the right tools to manage its processes effectively. Computer and information systems managers strategically connect organizations to the tools that can best facilitate data management, communication systems, automation, and other vital services that allow a business to run and compete in the market.

The role of a computer and information systems manager is what organizations rely on to help them implement and manage IT services ranging from network security to email to information reporting. These IT leaders can leverage their extensive experience and specialized education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems, to maintain efficient computer and information systems that are up to date and reliable.

Computer and information systems manager speaking with a colleague in an information center.

Job Description for Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers lead IT departments and play a critical role in solving an organization’s IT problems. This often involves implementing new digital technologies that improve how organizations operate.

For instance, a computer and information systems manager may help their organization migrate to cloud computing to reduce the need for hardware and save money. They also may search for areas in their business to integrate automation, streamlining processes across the organization’s departments.

This may include integrating:

  • Algorithms in marketing departments to develop targeted advertising
  • Automation in human resources to screen job applications
  • Chatbots in customer service to respond to customer questions
  • Automated data entry in sales to improve accuracy and speed

Such solutions can increase productivity and reduce human errors.

To understand the work of computer and information systems managers, taking a look at their technical and managerial responsibilities is useful:

Assessing and Managing IT Needs

Can an organization’s existing software resolve workflow problems? Does outdated technology require burdensome procedures that stymie workers’ efforts? Much of what computer and information systems managers do is assess the IT needs of their organizations to answer these questions and identify what IT gaps are holding their organizations back.

This requires communicating with department heads across an organization to get information about their technology needs. It may also involve creating surveys that ask employees to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing technologies in use.

To assess IT needs, computer and information systems managers review how organizations use their current technology to understand whether:

  • Adjustments to business practices can resolve bottlenecks or if the technology itself is creating bottlenecks
  • Organizations are using the full functionality of their technology

In tandem with IT needs assessments, computer and information systems managers research the latest technologies and software. This allows them to identify meaningful solutions that can fix IT problems and give organizations a competitive edge.

With a clear understanding of an organization’s IT needs and the available technologies that can meet those needs, computer and information systems managers recommend appropriate changes and upgrades. Computer and systems managers also oversee the installation, maintenance, and repair of computer hardware and software.

Supervising IT Departments

Alongside their technical responsibilities, computer and systems managers supervise and direct IT department activities.

This involves setting strategic goals for IT departments that are aligned with an organization’s larger objectives, as well as communicating those goals to the professionals in their departments. With specific and measurable goals in place, computer and information systems managers implement systems that track department performance.

Such monitoring allows computer and information systems managers to evaluate the work of IT employees and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Computer and information systems managers can then give IT professionals important feedback and strategically delegate work according to employees’ individual talents.

Other key managerial responsibilities of these IT leaders include:

  • Planning and overseeing the work duties of other IT professionals
  • Hiring and managing the training of IT professionals
  • Negotiating prices and contracts with computer technology vendors

Work Settings for Computer and Information Systems Managers

Nearly every industry depends on computers and the tools of digital technology. That means computer and information systems managers find work in nearly every type of organization, from healthcare facilities to retail companies to banks.

While these IT leaders find employment across many industries, the top industries for computer and information systems managers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) include:

  • Computer systems design
  • Finance and insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Enterprise management
  • Software publishing

Fundamental Skills for Computer and Information Systems Managers

In addition to understanding what a computer and information systems manager is, those interested in this leadership role should get acquainted with the highly developed skill sets required to take on the position’s responsibilities.

To coordinate an organization’s IT activities, as well as direct IT goals, computer and information systems managers should excel in the following areas:

Communication

Computer and information systems managers bridge the communication between the IT department and the rest of an organization. This involves explaining essential IT requirements, such as network security protocols, to the business or administrative side of an organization. It also involves ensuring professionals within the IT department understand the IT needs of the organization.

Systems Management

Helping organizations use IT tools, software, and hardware to work efficiently and reach their goals is core to what computer and information systems managers do. They should not only understand the role of technology in business but also know how to use technology to optimize the various processes within organizations.

This involves correctly gauging an organization’s IT requirements and skillfully managing network security, data storage, and hardware inventories, as well as monitoring user activities and network capacity.

Interpersonal Relations

Computer and information systems managers regularly interact with organizational leaders, IT department staff, third-party vendors, and business partners. Building productive working relationships with these individuals is key to the success of computer and information systems managers. These relationships affect computer and information systems managers’ ability to do everything from leading those under their charge to having successful discussions with company executives about IT challenges.

Negotiation

Computer and information systems managers are liaisons between technical and nontechnical stakeholders, which means their duties involve negotiation. Alongside establishing price points with technology wholesalers, computer and information systems managers must also convince other organizational leaders to invest in technologies. This involves using effective persuasion and demonstrating how a specific software, for example, could benefit the organization.

IT Project and Program Management

Computer and information systems managers may lead IT projects or programs related to software development, digital migration, and other initiatives that can improve an organization’s operations. Therefore, these IT leaders should have extensive experience planning, budgeting, and managing resources and costs, among other core IT project and program management duties.

Analytical Thinking

Assessing an organization’s IT needs and devising the best solutions to meet them takes excellent analytical skills. To come up with solutions that don’t simply provide short-term fixes, computer and information systems managers need to see big-picture issues. This involves carefully assessing the benefits and costs of adopting new technology.

It also means weighing an organization’s short- and long-term IT needs in relation to budget constraints and other limitations, as well as strategic thinking regarding allocating resources.

Business Management

Developing IT goals aligned with an organization’s larger business objectives takes extensive knowledge of business strategy and planning, along with financial management. Computer and information systems managers use their business management skills to help other organizational leaders understand how IT infrastructure planning and digital transformation work. Additionally, computer and information systems managers use these skills to implement changes to an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Computer and Information Systems Manager Salary and Job Outlook

Computer and information systems manager roles have the potential to be lucrative. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2020, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $151,150. Top earners made as much as $208,000 a year. Job location, experience, industry, and years of experience can all influence how much computer and information systems managers earn.

The BLS forecasts computer and information systems manager jobs will increase by 11% between 2020 and 2030. This outpaces the average 8% job growth rate projected for all occupations.

Start Your Journey to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager Today

Breaking down what a computer and information systems manager is can serve as an important step for individuals aspiring to become one. With the right education, students can gain the skills needed to build strategic technology programs that empower their organizations to overcome their challenges and thrive in the marketplace.

Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems offers a comprehensive curriculum, with courses such as Managerial Accounting, Business Statistics, and Cybersecurity Principles, to give graduates a well-rounded education in computer and information systems management. Explore how Maryville University’s program can help prepare graduates to become IT leaders and build successful IT careers.

Recommended Reading

A Look at the Future of IT Jobs

Business and Technology Education: MIS Degree vs. IT Degree

MIS Degree vs. CIS Degree: Differences and Career Opportunities

Sources

BDC, “5 Steps to Plan for Your Technology Purchases”

Comodo One, “Reasons Why Information Systems Are Important for Business Today”

Indeed, “Information Systems Manager: Duties, Salary and How to Become One”

Indeed, “13 Types of IT Services: What They Are and How They Help”

Intergromat, “Does Automation Increase Productivity? 7 Data-Backed Findings”

TechTarget, “5 Must-Have Skills to Succeed as an IT Manager”

Trio, “What Is Digital Transformation?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Systems Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020