He ICT Standard for Management is a practical guidebook for managers who decide how to utilize and develop information and communication technologies (ICT) in a company. They include business managers, CEOs, CFOs and especially CIOs, who have overall responsibility for managing ICT operations. The ICT Standard was created because companies need clear, straightforward and easily applicable ICT management practices. As ICT is a central part of a company, it must be managed as any other strategically important function. First and foremost, business needs should govern ICT management. 

ICT refers to all information and communication technology within a company. ICT management in turn refers to the organization responsible for the central part of ICT operations. The ICT function consists of the following five management streams: 


  • Business Alignment
  • Strategy and Governance
  • Sourcing and Vendor Relationships
  • Project Management
  • Service Management


For clarity, the ICT Standard is written primarily from the perspective of medium and large-sized companies. However, the model is scalable as such to fit small and very large companies because key management tasks remain substantially the same irrespective of company size. Certain fundamentals must always be in place, well-managed and measurable. 


ICT Standard Forum maintains and develops the ICT Standard for Management. Its operation is based on the collective creation and development of best practices. Results are available to community members following open source principles.

A vast, versatile and active community enables effective utilization of ICT management best practices in both private and public sector organizations. Sharing tools, articles and experience assists ICT managers in gaining competitive advantage that can benefit the whole organization.


The home pages and the community of the ICT Standard are part of the international ICT Standard Forum community. By registering at www.ictstandard.org, you become a member of the international community. The ICT Standard Forum arranges community events as well. The goal is to boost networking among persons responsible for ICT management and sharing best practices. 



Background and Purpose for Developing the ICT Standard


The purpose of a company is to create profit for shareholders and value for customers. ICT supports these objectives. Investments and resources used for implementation and management of ICT vary according to company size, but all organizations have one common objective:


ICT management must be well-governed, authorized by company management, and it must produce results as agreed upon with the Business. 


From the viewpoint of a company’s financials, ICT represents a growing cost item. Often, however, business development using ICT is the most efficient way to increase productivity, create new business opportunities and achieve long-term savings. Thus ICT management requires professionals with good business skills.


All ICT tasks must be effective and aligned with the company strategy. ICT management must understand the requirements business sets for ICT tasks. Optimally, ICT management together with the Business has the ability to combine and harmonize business processes. 


The field of ICT has lacked well-defined and uniform management models. Most established models – for example ITIL, COBIT, PMBOK, and PRINCE2 – have been developed for specific purposes and professions, such as auditing, service management and project management. As a result the models are too detailed and complicated for general ICT management. 


ICT Standard for Management takes an alternative approach. It considers ICT management as part of general management. As such, the ICT Standard applies very well to business-driven ICT management. The ICT Standard is comprehensive but simple, making use of detailed methods already available from other ICT models and standards. This assumption has kept ICT Standard straightforward and easy to adopt for business management as well.  


The ICT Standard for Management combines business-driven ICT management with international management models.



Challenges faced by corporate ICT management have influenced and guided the development of the ICT Standard. The identified challenges are: 

  • Corporate management finds it difficult to grasp the entire ICT landscape and to understand what ICT and ICT management is all about. 
  • ICT professionals unnecessarily mystify ICT and ICT management, presenting them as complex issues requiring deep and detailed ICT knowledge. 
  • There are no unified models for business and ICT cooperation, decision-making and responsibility sharing.

ICT management is not perceived as a strategic asset and consequently is not managed as a strategic function. 

The list above emphasizes the need and demand for formalized, well-governed and effective ICT management. The ICT Standard was developed with these challenges in mind, and this guidebook provides the solution. 



The Cornerstone of Hands-on ICT Management


The ICT Standard is business-driven and considers ICT management as a part of general management. The standard is, however, based on detailed and active research and application of international ICT management standards, their content and core principles. The ICT Standard strives to be a model specifically applicable to ICT management.


ICT Standard fundamentals for versatility and broad applicability include: 

  • A genuinely hands-on perspective to ICT management.
  • Applicable regardless of the size and nature of company’s ICT operations.
  • Complete solution, including both the model and supporting tools and methods.

Experience has shown that ICT standards serve as a strong foundation for ICT organizations, whether they are internal or fully outsourced, local or global, or any combination thereof. As an example, internal ICT organizations focus their resourcing on service production. Such resourcing does not accommodate the changing needs of the Business and, regarding demand, often leads to over- or under-resourced services. Moreover, resourcing frequently involves skill-related challenges, which in particular increase the pressure to outsource the service production. Still, ICT management tasks must be identified and performed in a formalized manner, regardless of the degree of outsourcing. 


As the degree of outsourcing increases, the focus changes to sourcing as well as planning and management of operations. In this situation all the functions of the ICT Standard remain, yet the roles, needed competencies and responsibilities change. The ICT Standard is a brilliant tool to understand and plan these kinds of changes.

The ICT Standard is industry-independent and scales well to companies with net sales from millions to billions. In addition, the ICT Standard improves cooperation between companies and their ICT service providers by defining roles and providing a formalized model of operation. 



ICT’s Role in the Company


ICT management has two main roles. On one hand, business expects ICT management to develop distinctive solutions, which improve competitiveness and support company goals in the best possible way. On the other hand, business expects ICT management to purchase standardized services in the most cost-effective manner.


ICT management consolidates demand and supply.


To serve as an enabler of corporate business strategy and to bring added value to the company, ICT management must actively help and challenge the Business to identify its needs and to find the best possible solutions. This helps ICT to develop in the right direction. In essence, this is about finding a balance between the demands of the Business and the supply of ICT. ICT management must also inform the Business of the new opportunities arising from the new possibilities in information technologies and information systems. 


The main goals of ICT management are: 

  • Ensure business continuity with the help of an appropriate service and system architecture.
  • Improve the profitability and cost-efficiency of the company through automation and effective utilization of information.
  • Enable business growth through scalable solutions.
  • Coordinate and resource ICT development effectively.
  • Ensure quality of ICT services.



The ICT Standard describes the entire ICT management area – it is not a representation of the ICT organization. Whether outsourced or internally provided, the ICT management of any organization is responsible for the same tasks. The five streams of the ICT Standard and their respective functions are presented in figure below.

The ICT Standard describes the management and the structure of a company’s ICT in four distinct streams (horizontal axis), connected by a common stream (vertical axis). 


The streams are:

  • Business Alignment (common stream)
  • Strategy and Governance
  • Sourcing and Vendor Relationships
  • Project Management
  • Service Management

Management streams and functions.


The order of the horizontal streams describes top-down transition from strategic long-term planning towards daily operational activities. Similarly, the number of resources increases from top to bottom. When deploying the ICT Standard the same top-down approach applies in most cases. 


The vertical Business Alignment stream connects all streams. Business Alignment presents the practical ways of implementing cooperation between the Business and ICT management. It also ensures that ICT management supports the needs of the Business. Business Alignment steers the goals and operation of the other streams. 


ICT Standard – Management streams and functions.

Posting from: ICT Standars

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