Sunday, April 10, 2011

Director of Information Technology

Six months ago I started to research the role of the Director of IT. In particular, what are the roles and responsibilities of this leadership position within the adult educational technology space. Describing this role drew on many of my competencies; I find my graduate studies and background in teaching adults is very important in understanding the educational space, in the end I found myself referencing my leadership experience as a technologist most frequently.

Providing leadership to this role is multifaceted and requires skills, knowledge and the ability to communicate across the organization. My approach to describing this position was to search and read many descriptions that fell within the CTO, CIO, Director, Founder, Architect and Educational Technologist. What I found can be described within three themes. Each theme is described in detail in the three following posts;

Director of IT, Part 1: Responsibilities - Strategy & Planning
This post describes the directors responsibilities toward leadership within the strategic planning process and in building the IT team. This is a very long post and gets into many aspects of keeping the IT team strong, thorough and focused on success. Strategy and planning for the Director of IT is about building a great team (either internal employees or external partners, or a mix of both) and aligning the IT strategy with the business. The business will provide the strategic plan, where IT will provide a large part of the tactical plan.

Director of IT, Part 2: Responsibilities - Operational Management
This post describes the director as an active participant in keeping IT nimble, setting direction, staying up to date with technology trends, keeping the team focused, releasing systems and software regularly, communicating with the staff, the IT community and with the executive and directorship, aligning IT success to the business strategy and contributing to the educational software community.

Director of IT, Part 3: Position Requirements
Where the first two posts describe what the Director of IT is responsible, this post describes the skills, knowledge and experience required to be successful in the role. A Director of IT in the educational space needs to have a solid background in IT (where they have occupied many IT roles), have a graduate level understanding of adult education and a broad understanding of both proprietary and open source technologies and how these two inter-operate.