Management Principles In Practice: An Interview With An It Director.

1531 words - 6 pages

In this paper, I attempt to determine if the principles we are learning in class apply in real life by conducting an interview with an IT manager. The subject is Rick MacDonald, who is the director of Systems and Operations at Cornell Information Technologies, which serves a significant amount of the computing needs of Cornell University. MacDonald has been working at Cornell University for eleven years and in his current position for five years.Organizational OverviewCornell University has 19,518 students at its campus in Ithaca, NY, along with 2,627 faculty and 8,572 staff. Cornell Information Technologies supports the business infrastructure, informational software, and instructional and operational needs of much (but not all) of Cornell's voice, video, and data customers. CIT has several divisions, including Customer Services and Marketing (CS&M) and Systems and Operations (S&O), the area covered in this paper. S&O is subdivided into 5 components: Advanced Technology & Architectures, Information Network and Communication Systems, Customer Service and Marketing, Distributed Learning Services, and Systems and Operations. Please refer to the Appendix for a graphical overview of CIT (Fig. 1) and for an organizational chart (Fig. 2) of S&O.S&O is further broken down into Academic Computing Services, Systems Services, Systems Support and Productions Operations Services (Ops). Each of these areas is run by a manager. ACS consists of Student Computing Operations, which runs the public computing labs on campus available for use by anyone at Cornell, and CIT Technical Support Services, the internal group providing support exclusively to CIT staff. Systems Services consists of the Messaging Group with provides the campus e-mail, list processing, electronic calendar, USENET services; and the Designated Services group, which provides cost-recovered services (dial-up, backup, network-printing, and storage farm services). In Systems Support the engineers and sysadmins provide DNS and DHCP services as well as support for other servers on campus. Lastly, Ops handles production control, physical security, and the Network Operations Center, CIT's only 24x7 point of presence. Each of these five areas is governed by an Assistant Director or a Manager, who in turn supervises lower-level managers.Management.The biggest challenge MacDonald faces is managing a staff spread among many technical services and many buildings on a large campus. Among four areas of management --people, knowledge, process, and money--he ranked people management first in importance, with the others tying as runner-up.The secret to his success with managing such a disparate group is to delegate and to motivate. The organization is not flat but hierarchical (cf. Fig. 2, Appendix), and he sees that the people closest to the work have as much responsibility and authority as they need to accomplish their goals. As a non-profit, CIT cannot offer variable pay schemes to...

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