The Ultimate Guide to IT Operations Management

With a growing need for IT professionals, the IT Operations Manager is a key role in any organization. As such, it can be an incredibly exciting and fulfilling career. An IT Operations Manager is responsible for the planning, execution, and delivery of all aspects of an organization’s information technology infrastructure.

So how does one get started in such a role? In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about IT operations management.

What is IT Operations Management Anyway?

IT operations is the process of managing the day-to-day activities of an organization’s information technology (IT) department. The goal of IT operations is to ensure that all systems and services are up and running correctly and efficiently. 

IT operations management (ITOM) is the administration of the technology infrastructure that makes up an organization’s IT environment. This includes the hardware, software, networks, and data center facilities that support the day-to-day operation of an organization. The goal of ITOM is to ensure that all of these components work together seamlessly to support the business. 

IT Operations Managers are responsible for assembling and overseeing teams of IT professionals who carry out the day-to-day tasks of IT operations. In large organizations, there may be several layers of management, with each layer responsible for a different aspect of IT operations.

The duties of an IT Operations Manager include:

  • Planning and design of the overall IT infrastructure
  • Implementation and deployment of new systems and applications
  • Management of day-to-day IT operations
  • Troubleshooting of IT issues
  • Capacity planning and performance tuning
  • Security management
  • Disaster recovery planning

With the ever-increasing reliance on information technology, ITOM has become essential for organizations of all sizes. By ensuring that their IT infrastructure is well-managed and running smoothly, organizations can avoid costly downtime and disruptions to their business.

How IT Operations Management Works

ITOM includes a broad range of activities, from provisioning and monitoring to capacity planning and incident management. To be successful, ITOM requires a deep understanding of how all of the components in an IT environment interact with each other. It also requires a keen eye for detail and a dedication to continuous improvement. 

While ITOM is often lumped together with other forms of IT management, such as Service Management and DevOps, it is actually a distinct discipline with its own set of best practices and tools. For example, ITOM relies heavily on monitoring tools to provide visibility into system performance and identify issues before they cause disruptions. Additionally, automation is often used to streamline common tasks and reduce the risk of human error. 

Any business that uses computers or other technology needs IT operations management to keep things running smoothly. This term refers to the process of planning, designing, and controlling the systems that are used to store, process, and distribute information.

It also encompasses the people and resources that are needed to maintain these systems. In order to be effective, IT operations management must be closely aligned with the business goals of the organization. For example, if a company is aiming to improve customer service, the IT operations team needs to design systems that will help employees serve customers more efficiently.

To be successful, IT operations managers need to have a strong understanding of both business and technology. They must be able to identify the specific needs of their organization and then select the right tools and resources to meet those needs. 

Example 1: Data Center Administration

In many companies, IT Operations Managers make decisions on which software platforms to use. A platform is a system that allows other software to run on it.

For example, a massive DTC enterprise may decide between using Snowflake and BigQuery for data warehousing. They will need to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of each option in order to make the best decision for their company.

When making the decision, ITOps must consider:

  • Budget
  • Scale
  • Performance
  • Data types
  • Integrations

The IT Operations Manager must also be able to work with other departments, such as the marketing team, in order to ensure that the selected platform meets all of their needs.

Once the new data warehouse platform is selected, the IT Operations Manager will be responsible for setting it up and maintaining it. This includes tasks such as provisioning servers, installing software, and configuring networking.

The IT Operations Manager will also need to monitor the system to ensure that it is running smoothly and taking action if any issues arise. For example, they may need to troubleshoot database errors or performance issues.

Example 2: Custom Software Programming

Many organizations rely on custom software to run their businesses. This type of software is designed specifically for the needs of the company.

IT operations managers must work with the software development team to ensure that the code meets all of the necessary requirements. They also need to test the software before it is deployed to make sure that it will work as intended.

For example, a content marketing agency may use a custom-built website with multiple functionalities including:

  • An autonomous sales funnel
  • A fully custom CMS
  • A blog with suggested reading
  • Interactive pop-ups that engage readers
  • An AI chatbot
  • Custom pricing tools that allow prospects to quote themselves
  • Software that tracks consumer behavior on the website

The IT Operations Manager would be responsible for ensuring that all of these components work together seamlessly. They would also need to monitor the system and make sure that it is running smoothly. In the event of a problem, they would need to troubleshoot the issue and take action to fix it.

Example 3: Deciding on a New Service Desk Ticketing System

In this example, an IT Operations Manager is tasked with choosing a new ticketing system for the service desk. The current system is outdated and does not meet the needs of the business. After evaluating several options, the ITOps team decides on ServiceNow.

ServiceNow is a cloud-based ticketing system that offers many features, such as:

  • Automated workflow
  • Self-service portal
  • Integrated knowledge base

The IT Operations Manager must then work with the service desk team to implement the new system. They will need to train employees on how to use it and make sure that it is properly integrated with other systems.

Example 4: International Logistics

Let’s say the IT Operations Manager is responsible for managing the logistics of a company that ships products internationally. There are many factors to consider when shipping products overseas, such as:

  • Customs regulations
  • Export/import licenses
  • Insurance
  • Shipping routes
  • Packaging

The IT Operations Manager needs to make sure that all of the necessary paperwork is in order and that the products are properly packaged. They will also need to track the shipments and make sure that they arrive at their destination on time.

In the event of a problem, such as a lost shipment or damaged goods, the IT Operations Manager will need to figure out why the software they use caused a problem. They may need to work with the developers to fix the issue or find a workaround.

How to Get Started With IT Operations Management

ITOps is a complex field that requires a broad range of skills, but getting these skills has never been easier. While there are dozens of potential pathways, here is the most common path to becoming an IT Operations Manager:

Step 1: Get a Degree in an Appropriate Field

For most, a Bachelor’s Degree from a four-year university is the best place to start. Appropriate majors for someone who wants a career in ITOps include:

  • Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • Software Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Business Management

If you’re looking for more specific education, there are many schools that offer two-year and four-year programs in areas like computer science, information technology, or business administration.

At a four-year college, students can take classes that will introduce them to the basics of IT operations. They can also learn about specific tools and technologies that are used in the field.

In addition, students can gain valuable experience by working on projects with other students and faculty members. By completing a four-year degree program, students will be prepared for entry-level positions in IT operations management.

Step 2: Work as an Intern or Apprentice

Internships are a great way to get into IT operations, as they provide individuals with the opportunity to learn about the field and gain practical experience. Many people first get internships while they are still in college, which can help to give them a head start in their careers.

Internships can also be a great way for people who are already working in IT operations to learn new skills and broaden their experience. In addition, internships can be a good way to meet people who are working in the field and potentially network for future opportunities.

In order to get an internship, individuals can search online for postings or contact companies directly. It is important to note that internships are typically unpaid, so individuals should be prepared to work for free.

Step 3: Get an Entry-Level Job in IT Operations

Starting out as an entry-level employee in ITOps is usually the only way to eventually become an IT Operations Manager. While there are other paths that can lead to a management position, this is the most direct route and will give you the best chance to learn the necessary skills.

As an entry-level worker, you will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including monitoring systems, installing software updates, and providing user support. These tasks will give you a solid foundation in the day-to-day operations of an IT department, and you will also have the opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues.

To find entry-level roles, check on LinkedIn and other job boards for postings. You can also reach out to companies directly and inquire about open positions or talk to recruiters.

Step 4: Advance Your Career In Management

Once you have moved your way up from a junior role to a more senior role, you will be in a good position to apply for management positions. Before applying for management jobs, it is important to make sure that you have the necessary skills and experience.

In addition to the technical skills required for IT operations, managers also need to have strong people skills. They must be able to communicate effectively and work well with others. They also need to be able to handle conflict and make decisions that are in the best interests of their team.

In order to improve your chances of getting a management position, it is helpful to take on additional responsibilities at your current job. You can also volunteer for leadership roles in professional organizations or take courses that focus on management skills.

Here are some more things you could do to get ahead of others:

  • Taking additional courses or getting a certification in your field
  • Building a network of contacts in the industry
  • Attending conferences and networking events
  • Writing blogs, posting LinkedIn content, or giving presentations on topics related to IT operations
  • Going back to college for a Master’s degree

Step 5: Diversify Your Income

Once you have made a name for yourself in the world of IT operations management, the sky’s the limit in terms of potential career paths. The more you are perceived as an expert in your field, the easier it will be to create a fulfilling career as an IT Operations Manager.

As you continue your career, you can move to different companies and take on new challenges. This often comes with salary bumps and other benefits, such as equity in a company or more vacation days.

In addition to working for a traditional employer, you can also create your own opportunities by consulting or freelancing. This can be a great way to earn extra income and have more control over your work-life balance. It is also very fulfilling, as you get to help others carve their own pathway for career success.

You could even create your own software company or another business venture. As someone with both technical and business acumen, an IT Operations Manager is uniquely positioned to lead a successful startup while having a fundamental understanding of technological processes.

Final Thoughts on IT Operations Management

There are many different paths that you can take as an IT Operations Manager. It is a versatile and in-demand role that provides plenty of opportunities for career growth. No matter what your goals are, with hard work and dedication, you can achieve success in this field.

If you are thinking about a career in IT operations management, this guide should give you a good idea of what to expect. Use the tips and advice in this article to get started on your journey to a successful career in IT operations.

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Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira