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An IT applications manager is responsible for one or more computer programs for an organization. The programs may include applications such as payroll systems, customer relationship management systems or online stores. IT application managers often oversee staff, budgets, service levels, disaster recovery, and vendor relations. This role can require an undergraduate degree in a related field and technical experience.
In this role, the application manager usually directs the work of application developers. He or she will typically have human resource management responsibilities such as hiring and firing, as well as conducting employee reviews. Those in this position also typically assist with training plans for the people on staff. The manager should also ensure that the staff is following any policy or procedures the organization has developed related to the department's work.
Along with managing staff, the IT applications manager may need budget for maintaining and upgrading applications. The manager may meet with the application’s users regarding their needs for the application, review industry trends, and recommend upgrades or replacements. Those holding this position typically will provide the needed technical staff to implement, install and test the upgrades.
Often, duties include working with an application’s users to determine their support needs and to develop service level agreements. The manager must then ensure that the department has the staff and resources to meet those agreements. At some organizations, the IT manager is expected to provide support for the application at virtually any time, and is often on call seven days a week.
This staff member is also likely to be instrumental in determining the needed levels of security and back up for certain applications. Disaster recovery is an essential concern for many organizations, especially with mission-critical applications. The IT applications manager may be involved in developing disaster recovery plans and in conducting disaster recovery exercises.
Many times, the IT applications manager will negotiate with vendors. Vendors may seek to provide applications or technical services. The manager may also work with the vendors that are already providing applications and services to ensure they are meeting the terms of any agreements.
An applications manager position typically requires a high degree of technical knowledge, along with knowledge of the organization’s business needs. Organizations may want people in this type of managerial position to have at least an undergraduate degree in an information technology oriented field, and to have experience in a technical role. The ability to communicate with people of varying levels in the organization and varying levels of technical knowledge will help the IT applications manager be successful in this role.