06.Managing Information Technology - UNS...

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Published on January 15, 2009

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Statistical Organization and Management:Information TechnologyStefan Schweinfest, UNSD : Statistical Organization and Management:Information TechnologyStefan Schweinfest, UNSD Workshop for SADC Member States, Luanda, December 2006 Rapid IT developments advance capacities of statistical agencies : Rapid IT developments advance capacities of statistical agencies Powerful, cost-effective computers User-friendly software Computer networking Intranet/Internet (WWW) technology Managing Information Technology : Managing Information Technology General objectives: support of core function: producing and disseminating official statistics meet the needs of substantive users cost effective avoid information anarchy Two principal models: Highly centralized informatics organization “Federation of solutions” Some critical elements for efficient IT management : Some critical elements for efficient IT management Build on customized software or off-the-shelf products wherever possible Leave hardware infrastructure in hands of specialist group Promote training activities as integral part of IT development strategy Emphasize the importance of documentation Learn from past performance and experience of other similar organizations Why (and when) outsourcing : Why (and when) outsourcing Best solution when commercial products and services can be adapted to the mission requirements Market competition brings innovation and reduces costs Specialized skills found among vendors are difficult to maintain “in-house” Risks shared with vendors Outsourcing challenges : Outsourcing challenges Do not jeopardize core functions or confidentiality of information Maintain healthy business relationship with commercial vendors Balance risk sharing vs. rewards sharing (incentives/penalties) Develop necessary management skills for outsourcing ‘IT pressure points’ for Chief Statisticians : ‘IT pressure points’ for Chief Statisticians Continually new and different IT capabilities and products (facts or claims) Lobbying by internal staff for a product Pressure to reduce costs and improve delivery of products IT Project management: Good practices (I) : IT Project management: Good practices (I) Involve top-level management Employ effective risk analysis in guiding direction Avoid untried leading-edge technologies Opt for small projects Involve end users in project formulation IT Project management: Good practices (II) : IT Project management: Good practices (II) Formulate explicit and detailed IT project plans: analyze return on investment identify risks and mitigation strategies ensure modular development to avoid large-scale failures provide for oversight and review at crucial steps along the way IT Project management: Good practices (III) : IT Project management: Good practices (III) When purchasing IT products avoid new or immature technologies assess results of others who have applied the product determine product compatibility with existing IT architecture of the organization assess risks and price/performance of the product Conclusions : Conclusions Key challenge: Balance management discipline with drive for innovation in the application of IT Strategies for reducing risk of failure Involve top-level management Employ effective risk analysis Avoid leading-edge technologies Opt for small projects Involve end-users in project formulation

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