In their debut business management title, Wiggins and Abernethy outline basic concepts for successful information technology management.
Wiggins, a chief information officer at South Carolina BlueCross BlueShield, and Abernethy (Computer Science/Furman Univ.) “explore a set of concepts that [they] believe are fundamental for the management of information technology (IT) as a successful business.” These ideas are drawn from a decade-long collaboration creating professional development IT programs for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Their goal is to help IT professionals balance efficiency with effectiveness and art with science—in other words, client operations with IT. The authors maintain that business software users need to be educated in the field because, as is often the case, their expectations are not aligned with the limitations of hardware, software and telecommunications. Likewise, the authors state, IT employees must be exposed to and embrace common business practices under which non-IT businesses operate, in addition to maintaining technical competence. The presentation is largely theoretical, drawing on models from the likes of Drucker and other recognized industry groups. Abstract thinkers may benefit from the elementary framework; the promised “step-by-step” guide may be disappointing for others, however, especially considering that the examples drawn from BlueCross BlueShield don’t represent varied, substantial case studies in the industry. But there are several hands-on examples that may prove useful, including an industry-specific chart that outlines tasks for various job roles. Many of the general concepts are substantiated by a bibliography that mixes time-tested models with current technological literature, and the final third of the text is offered as an executive summary. The book’s primary shortcoming—it focuses mostly on one organization’s success—is fairly acknowledged by the authors, yet it would have been helpful to see more concrete examples of that success. Still, busy professionals will benefit from a close reading; they may even be inspired to inquire about the professional development programs unobtrusively advertised in the epilogue.
A well-organized, conceptual text for students, IT professionals and software purchasers.