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Identifying the Systems Management Disciplines

If we apply the fundamentals of management to information systems management, we can tabulate the systems management disciplines necessary in any system, large or small. The only difference is how extensively the disciplines are implemented.




1. Setting Objectives

Service-Level Management

Identify, negotiate, and agree to services to be provided, quality measurements, and IT performance targets to be provided to users.

2. Planning

Application and Systems Design

Plan and design IT infrastructure to meet service levels committed to user.


Capacity Planning

Plan for system growth requirements.


Configuration Management

Create and maintain system configuration information.


Asset Management

Create and maintain asset inventory; track and monitor use of such assets.

3. Execution

Problem Management

Detect, record, resolve problems.


Backup and Recovery

Design alternative systems and resources to restore IT services immediately when problems occur.

4. Measurement

Performance Management

Monitor system performance data; tune system for optimal achievement of service levels committed to users.

5. Control

Change Management

Control all changes to the system to ensure that change doesn't degrade system performance.


Security Management

Control and administer access to the system to minimize threats to system integrity.


Availability Management

Monitor and control system resources and IT operation to maintain system availability.

The nitty-gritty of processes, data, tools, and organization to support these systems management disciplines can differ dramatically for each organization. This is due to the fact that each has its own unique set of systems to manage, business objectives, organizational setup, people and skills, and so forth.

It can never be overstated that good systems management requires attention to people issues more than any other technology concerns. At the end of the day, systems management is more than anything a discipline—a routinely practiced way of doing things by all concerned parties. No matter how much money is thrown into the task of systems management, if the IT personnel, users, and even vendors and suppliers don't fulfill their role in the entire process, it simply becomes useless. As can be seen above, many of the critical success factors for systems management depend on the people performing them, and any technologies used can help them do the tasks more efficiently—but never completely take them out of the equation.

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