From the desk of: Sam C. Chan

Clarifications on the Role of Out-Sourced IT Director

October 9, 2004

My roles & relationships with all of you vary―from CTO/CIO partner on retainers, to contracted advisor. For majority of you, I am the IT Director, working on an out-sourced basis, rather than in-house and full-time.

My jurisdictions and duties, expectations and requirements, capabilities & limitations are identical to those of my in-house counterparts. I am charged with overseeing the IT side of the operations, and report directly to the CEO (owner or partners).

In addition to the obvious tasks of implementation and support, I'm also responsible for strategic planning & visions, standards & policies setting, vendor evaluations, platform & directions, and coordination. All IT-related happenings should be cleared with me, and I'm in-turn responsible for tracking them and reporting on-demand. Failing to inform me on changes, or performing unauthorized/un-coordinated IT tasks would seriously undermine my effectiveness, and ultimately resulting in extra costs to your firm.

The procedures, chain-of-commands, authorization, record keeping, delegation, division of labor are identical to those of on-site IT Directors. My priorities, allegiance & missions also should be more like those of a team member, rather than an outside vendor.

The only thing to keep in mind: My compensation scheme is very different from that of an employee, which has 2 major implications:

  • Whenever feasible, you should minimize needless utilization of my services, as each transaction incurs incremental expenses, unlike in-house IT, which is already paid for or committed. However, you should exercise good judgment and not over-do the "savings" as it could end up being penny-wise, pound-foolish. I will always advise you if a given task does not require my level of service. We're both responsible for refining the process, and the division of labor, in order to achieve optimal results.
  • Each time you call for help, I'll use my best professional judgment. If I conclude that no actions are needed, you can rest assure that it's not because I'm simply avoiding extra work. Remember: If I believe work is warranted, based on your firm's directives regarding IT attentiveness level, I would have "prescribed" it.  I do have that standing authorization.

Sam C. Chan


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