The Operations Role Cluster includes skilled specialists who focus on the technology areas and production-systems tasks necessary to run the business on a daily basis. Enterprise operations roles include dedicated specialties such as messaging, system administration, telecommunications, networking, and database administration. The personnel carrying out these specialty functions require experience with and knowledge of the latest advancements in technologies and tools (as well as pursuing ongoing education and certification to increase their knowledge) to ensure that the systems are implemented, maintained, and supported in the most efficient, automated ways possible and at the lowest cost.

More specifically, the Operations Role Cluster performs the scheduled and repeatable processes such as data backup, archiving and storage, output management, system monitoring and event log management, and print and file server management. Operations management groups create and track large amounts of documentation on technical procedures and standard processes. The Operations Role Cluster also participates across functional groups to ensure that the teams meet operational commitments to support customer SLAs.

Reports by industry analysts state that the IT staff positions most difficult to recruit and retain are in the operations roles, specifically systems, network, and database administration. In the late 1990s, these roles were not considered as glamorous as those in Web and e-commerce development; however, as the Internet matures, those once-glamorous technologies are becoming more commonplace and, as a result, qualified staff is becoming easier to find.

E-commerce raises the importance of keeping systems running-with high availability and reliability. These positions are the main focus of many IT service management organizations and require staff members who are skilled not only in their specific technologies such as the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 platform, but who also have strong organizational, project management, and communication skills.


Key responsibilities of the Operations Role Cluster include:

  • Managing account and system setup controls.
  • Managing messaging, database, and telecommunications operations.
  • Creating key performance indicators and metrics reports.
  • Managing network operations and directory services.
  • Managing systems administration.
  • Creating and managing user accounts and permissions.
  • Performing batch processing. Managing firewalls.
  • Providing application services.
  • Providing host integration services.
  • Managing directory service operations.
  • Managing intranet-hosting service operations.
  • Performing desktop services.
  • Managing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and other business-to-business trading interfaces.
  • Providing security administration.


Key skills required of the Operations Role Cluster include:

  • Ability to oversee, monitor, configure, and maintain corporate networks, such as telecommunications, wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN), radio, and wireless.
  • Expertise in server hardware and network operating systems.
  • Knowledge of desktop operating systems.
  • Ability to define operational procedures, policies, and priorities.
  • Ability to monitor bandwidth use, analyze traffic patterns and volumes, and determine impact and implications of issues.
  • Ability to perform complex server and networking configurations and changes.
  • Understanding of viruses, their impacts, and appropriate precautions to take.
  • Knowledge and experience in voice and data networking, including radio frequency and wireless applications. Knowledge of Internet and intranet technologies.
  • Technical expertise in the implementation of multi-vendor and multi-protocol networks.
  • Understanding of network and operating system security.
  • Understanding of backup and restore methods and related technologies.
  • Understanding of business goals of the end users and the organization in general.
  • Ability to maintain a library of system documentation.
  • Ability to work with the help desk to resolve issues from end users.
  • Ability to operate IT infrastructure, shut down, and start up systems.
  • Ability to assist in database installation and startup/shutdown.
  • Ability to monitor and tune system performance and watch for abnormalities.
  • Ability to write batch files and scripts to perform administrative tasks more efficiently.
  • Understanding of scheduling capabilities in the operating system or by using third-party tools.
  • Ability to administer printers, scanners, redundant array of independent disks (RAID) storage, CD-ROM towers, and optical storage jukeboxes, if applicable.