Abstract: Now the market is global, all the business is more competitive and projects are becoming business crucial. In this global economy market the IT is facing so many problems because lack of experts in the organisation, experts means the people who have both the IT and business knowledge. All the companies are looking for managers who will solve the problems, that persons are hybrid managers. Hybrid managers can understand the business requirements of the customer and they make the project members to finish the project in time within budget by using their business and technical skills gain from the past experience. This essay is about hybrid managers.
Introduction: In this essay I am going to explain about hybrid manager, characteristics of hybrid manager, why we need hybrid manager, how hybrid managers are useful to the organisation, how the organisation is recruiting and developing hybrid manager and the role of the hybrid manager in this global economy. The biggest challenge that the IT department facing is the perceived ongoing misalignment between technology competence and business requirement. Organisation needs manager who can act as a bridge between the business and IT. The senior managers play an important role in making the business success. Integrating IT with business, project cost and on time delivery with budget are very important issues in IT industry, organisation need a person who can manage all the issues. The senior manager should be a person who can understand the business and IT; this person can be called as hybrid manager.
Hybrid Manager: Hybrid manager is defined as "A person with strong technical skills and adequate business knowledge or vice versa, hybrid managers are the people with technical skills able to work in user areas doing a line job, but adept at developing and implementing IT application ideas" (Earl, 1989), a breed of the managers who can merge the information management skills with business management skills in the organisation. Such people are perceived as significant in enabling organizations to develop information system effectively in today's competitive commercial environment (Earl, 2001). Hybrid manager need not have an IT job or come from IT back ground. Actually some successful hybrid managers have come into IT after following careers in business functions.
There should be a manager in an organisation who can display certain experience and characteristics for all the key issues of successful functioning of Information Technology for competitive advantage or for achieving major change in organizations. These are an understanding of the business and requirement in technical competence that facilitated them to understand what is being planned. In addition to understanding of business and requirements, they exhibit two types of organizational skills. They know how to get the business and this implied that they know the business, and the people around it well, and they know how to get things done, possessing a set of excellent social skills- to listen, understand, negotiate and persuade(Daviding, 2008).
Characteristics of hybrid manager: The characteristics of hybrid manager are given in the bellow table. A hybrid manager has competence in both business and IT also needed general managerial skills, particularly those of a soft nature like communications and interpersonal skills. Successful hybrid managers also seem to possess certain personality traits, such as the desire to drive change (SMH news, 2005).
- Business knowledge: The Hybrid managers are good in general business principles and understanding of industry they are working in. They have good experience in all the areas of business so they can handle any situation smartly. In order to achieve our exigent corporate objectives where it should we are assembled we have to take most of the limited resources and the behaviour with a suitably commercial way this is one of the main principle in business(Clive Smallman, 1995). Source: (Skyrme, 1992)
- IT knowledge and Experience: The hybrid managers have some knowledge in all areas, understanding the capabilities of IT are more important than programming experience, specific knowledge at a detailed level. The successful hybrid managers accentuate information. They explore ways on which technology can access, focus and distribute. They know cost-performance tendencies. They learned how to trade-off the functionality against the cost and the time-to-market. They rely on connecting into specialist as they need it. Consequently they must also be qualified to selecting, managing and communicate with IT specialists (Skyrme, 1992).
- Organisation Specific Knowledge: organisation specific knowledge means knowledge about the organisation structure, culture, experts and motivation are important. Knowing "how to get things done around here" is an important often ignored, skill. The period of the time with an organization helps the process to develop this capacity. Good hybrid feat its personal networks that they have developed during the years, that helps to run the organization in a broad view (Earl, 2001).
- General management skills: Hybrid managers have effective communications and interpersonal skills to develop the good working relationships with all the peers, subordinates, superiors and to build the organisational partnerships. Good judgement is also important; they show many of the cognitive skills in successful general managers and decision making about the implementation of an IT system.
- Personal characteristics: when one finds right hybrid managers, he can struck by their energy, enthusiasm and commitment immediately. They actively want to lead the change. Hybrid manager proliferate the ideas, but also they are very interested in people. The work is at the moment in course to the asses the profiles of personality of hybrid managers using standard personality test. Hybrid managers need not be a technically skilled person or IT person. Hybrid managers are having the combination of Business Knowledge, IT skills, Organisational leadership capacity (Tansey, 2003).
Why do we need hybrid managers in the organisation?:
One way to overcome the inadequacy that have been outlined as existing in conventional methods of managing IT is to break down functional barriers by introducing hybrid managers they have knowledge in all the fields. All the companies are anxious to achieve the success and looking for successful management of IT and blend with their business so they need hybrid managers for this task, they can do the things properly. Hybrid manager alone cannot do anything; hybrid manager needs help from managers of all the areas of organisation then he can do something. In different surveys it came to know that in the 21st century global economy there are so many issues in IT industry in that: 1) 30% of system projects fail to meet customer needs. 2) Only 11% of organisations are successful with IT according to any object measure. 3) 40% of projects are not completed within budget or time. Apart from these there are so many issues are there like 1. Alignment of IS to business needs, 2. Strategic benefits of IT not understood by business managers, 3. Need to improve the IS-relationships and 4.Identification of competitive edge applications (Skyrme, 1992).
- Alignment of IS to business needs: this is the one of the main issue in IT. The IT technology services are developed and designed to support the business objectives, mission, purpose and strategies. IT alignment with business is very important one, successful IT/Business alignment requires more than executive level communication and strategy translation. There are 4 phases in the IT alignment cycle: Plan, model, manage, and measure. To do all these, the person should be an expert in all the areas of business and IT knowledge. If there is no proper alignment in a project, it doesn't achieve the customer expectations (Nugent, 2004).
- Strategic benefits of IT not understood by business managers: The mangers should be aware IT knowledge and business knowledge then only they can understand and estimate the benefits of IT. Without any one of these they cannot expect reach the customer needs and organization goals. The manager should be a person who has experience in IT and business only can run the IT successfully (Earl, 2001).
- Need to improve IS-line relationships: The critical issue that an IT manager is IS-line relationship. The main issue which the managers of IS organizations is increasing pressure to demonstrate the business value of the companies to investment in technology information. The employment relationships between IS department and the other various groups of organization can have an important contribution to the increase IS performance. In this regard managers are key players and need to improve the IS-line relationships (Earl, 2001).
- Identification of competitive edge applications: Identification of competitive edge applications is an important one in the IT, competitive edge application means ability of produce effective service to the customer than competitors do. The managers who are working in the IT organizations are key members in identifying the competitors task and estimating the budget like are very important, these can be done by the mangers with hybrid knowledge (Earl, 2001).
How hybrid managers are useful to the IT organisation:
All the above mentioned issues suggest need a closer relationship between IT and Business. Hybrid managers can play important role to solve this problems, with specific emphasis on: 1). Creating awareness of IT potential in the business. 2). Educating IT professionals in the business area, 3). Educating the business into what is achievable and realistic with IT. Hybrid managers will create the awareness of IT potential in business; he will explain about the IT, how the IT is needed in business, how the business uses IT and how to fulfil the needs of the organization. Hybrid manager has experience in all the areas of business and Information Technology; he knows better how to things can be done in all business and IT. All the IT professionals don't have perfect business knowledge, to understand business requirements they should know about business tactics. Hybrid manager can train and educate them in all aspects of business. Hybrid manager is person who can understand and estimate the business efficiently and educates the people how achieve the business goals and giving better services to customers what is realistic in IT (Skryme.D, 2002).
Hybrid managers are very important in three areas in IT industry development, delivery and directions, other organisation levels in all departments. These three are explained bellow...
Directions: Hybrid mangers can make changes in the organisation which are not present in the organisation before. By using the experience he can change the organization and brings things together to get the better result from the employees and organization. Improved internal communication in the organization, improved organization vision, promoting effective use of systems to run the organisation forward to capitalize on emerging trends like so. These are some the visions of the business activities and processes that enabled and enhanced by IT. Moreover, a good hybrid manager gives to the top management the confidence that this vision can and will be implemented. This will be done by constructing strong associations between IS function and the businesses on the top management. The important thing in the IT is maintaining the technology renewal program transparent to the main stakeholders. That is crucial to the confidence and the aid that maintain, particularly during the inevitable points of the tension that one finds in any important program of the renovation (Earl, 2001).
Delivery and Support: The conventional wisdom is that hybrid managers have little to offer in this activity area as compared to direction and development. Information services, for their cost effectiveness and customer service are very important operation in the organisation. The information services this resulting in a shift of emphasis towards a more commercial and market-oriented operations, and an increase in consultancy-type services. Service-level agreements are a vehicle through, which expectations of the user clarified and IS the function commits to given level of services for a given price. This is just like development, a very much bridging activity between business needs and IT means. The responsibility of hybrid manager is development and management of services level between IS and the business. These agreement includes all the services that the IS can provide project management and development as well as delivery, support and maintenance of hardware and software system (Earl, 2001).
The word hybrid refers to a personnel with good quality, broad qualifications of management and will help the effective communication through divisions. According to the Earl and Skyrme (1992), the fact which is often omitted arena of the discussion is that the hybrid managers cannot work indeed in insulation. The hybrids will be effective if they can work with a certain number of other principal managers. The Earl (1992) defines three additional roles in particular: the visionary, the chief with the idea of what IT could do for the businesses; the business manager, which is usually, IS director with the authority to allocate the essential resources; and skilled technician who can conceive and develops technology (Willcocks, 1994).
Earl and Skyrme (1992) hypothesise that the character of hybrid could be "visionaries" or "catalysts". The term visionary means the people with distinctively strong perception combined with logical thinking abilities and therefore creative and seek recognition of their competence. Catalyst means the people who have intuition and take decisions based on feelings more than logic; they are good at building association, alliance and having excellent communication skills (Earl, 2001).
There are several examples where the hybrid managers have achieved this status and their organization has been benefited. Colin Palmer, when hybrid manager at Thomas Holidays successfully introduced the TOPS reservation system for travel agents and became deputy managing director of Thomas Tour Operations Hybrid can bring significant changes in project direction, resulting better outcome. One hybrid managers can do any work with in short period than an analysts do (The sunday Times, 2001).
Hybrid manager suggests short-cuts in the normal analysis methods that will lop five months off the project time scale. In UK so many companies adopted the hybrid mangers and succeeded in achieving the goal. In UK 90% of IT projects are successfully completed on time and within budget after the hybrid managers entered into role. Many IT managers are supporting the department of Hybrid managers; the evidence on the ground is that more needs to be done to address the fundamental career, education, training and development shortfalls. The clamour for hybrid mangers has grown drastically in all the IT sectors during the last few years. For example the British Computer Society's (BCS) demanded for the UK to develop 10,000 hybrid managers by 1995 to compete the country in world markets (Earl, 2001).
Recruiting and developing the hybrids: In the present competitive business every organization is looking for hybrid managers. Senior management is important in recruiting and developing the hybrids. In the interview the management asks the questions related to some specific skills, relationships, flexibility, ability to work on their own and soft skills like communication skills (Bpisolution, 2001). Depending on the employee performance they are recruiting and organisations are trying to develop the hybrids for the business; Hybrid managers need an efficient training. There so many MBA and PG courses are available to train the people. Organisations are sending their IT managers to broaden their skills in business and spending a lot of money for that (Clive Smallman, 1995).
According to Dr. Skryme (1992), there are two ways to develop the hybrid managers. The one is to assist the computer programmers entailed with information system to develop general management capabilities and comprehensive business knowledge. The second ne is to take human resources who have the wide business knowledge and understand the end-user computing (EUC) practices and promotes their qualifications and knowledge of management about the information systems. Many investment banks choose second approach because it has not always been easy to educate information systems professional to become hybrid managers (RIETI, 2008).
So many companies are getting benefits by introducing hybrid policies includes Esso, British Airways, Lucas Industries and Midland Bank. Esso report progressed productivity and staff retention rates, and claim 90 percent of projects that engaged hybrid managers finish on time and within cost budget, this is up from previous figure of 60 percent. All the four Companies have invested a big amount of budget on training the managers and also for developing the education policies for all the level staff to facilitate the positive changes in the managerial attitudes. The National & Provisional building Society is another example for successful hybridization programme (Gerry O'Connor&Clive Smallman, 1995).
Advantages and disadvantages to the IT Organisation: Hybrid managers can bring a number of benefits in the organization like 1.Encouragement for a proactive attitude to change,2.Improved internal communications, 3. Bridging of cultural and political gaps within the organization,4.Promotion of better understanding of and more effective use of systems, 5.Making the business aware of the existing and potential capabilities of IT, 6. Envisioning new possibilities for the application of IT, but tempering it with an assessing the benefits and risks associated with new technological advances, 7. Reinforcing the business benefits of IT to line managers, 8. Ensuring IT managers are aware of business issues and opportunities, 9.Showing the IS function how it can respond to emerging and changing business needs. (Homes and Gary, 2000).
There are some disadavantages to Organisation, organisation structure and culture will change, it takes time to adopt the other employees, cost effective and some organizations loss managers in the other departments because every manager is trying to become a hybrid manager. Some time it may possible that technicians become hybrid managers in the organisation in that situation the the managers who are working in the other department feel difficulty to take the orders from the new hybrid managers. The switch from technician to manager can be very unsettling and poeple cane find themselve feeling doverwhelme by all things that they are suddenly responsible (Clive Smallman, 1995).
Conclusion: In this essay I explained about hybrid manager, characteristics of hybrid manager, why do we need hybrid manager, how the hybrid managers useful to the organization, advantages and disadvantages to organisation and recruiting process and developing of hybrid managers in the organisation. In the present competitive world to succeed in the IT business we need hybrid managers who can understand the business and IT very well. The hybrid managers will align the business and IT together and bring the changes in the organization, train the employees in all aspects and make them understand the customer needs and organization objectives. In this recession and competitive global economy every organization needs hybrid mangers to achieve the company goals and customer expectations on time and within a budget.
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