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CHAPTER 1 Introduction ACRP Report 59: Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer (referred to throughout as "the primer"), provides insight and advice to help airport executives plan for and communicate about information technology (IT) at airports. This primer is based on the knowledge, expertise, opinions, and recommendations of airport executives and other airport industry professionals col- lected through focus group discussions, anonymous online surveys (the source for the quotations used throughout this primer), interviews, and case studies. In addition to proven techniques and tools applied at some airports, this primer provides innovative solutions for common IT issues. 1.1 Purpose of the Primer In today's airports, IT is a core component of all systems. Airports are offering more com- prehensive services to their tenants and customers in the normal course of doing business. This primer was developed as a user-friendly management tool to help airport executives and IT professionals: · Identify and communicate effectively regarding common IT issues. · Articulate sound IT principles for implementing IT systems. · Implement a standard IT system lifecycle process for their airport. · Effectively describe the benefits and value of IT systems when formulating airport strategic goals and making financial investment decisions. · Understand the fundamental architecture concepts of IT systems. Ultimately, the information in the primer should facilitate understanding among airport exec- utives and help them work together more effectively on IT projects, leading to better performance and reliability of IT systems and fewer cost overruns and delays during system implementation. 1.2 The Communication Triangle This primer has three audiences because three separate groups fall into the category of airport executives--the CEO, the CIO, and the stakeholder executive. Readers may not have these exact titles, but they are likely to fill one or more of the typical executive roles described in the following. · CEO--The chief executive officer, typically called the airport director, is responsible for align- ing the company, internally and externally, with his or her strategic vision. · CIO--The chief information officer, or information technology manager, is responsible for the airport's computers and communications systems, including infrastructure, hardware, and software applications. The CIO implements IT projects and operates systems already in place. 1
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2 Information Technology Systems at AirportsA Primer · Stakeholder executive--A stakeholder is anyone who uses technology systems and cares about the systems' performance. For the purposes of this primer, the term stakeholder execu- tive refers to senior airport managers who report to the CEO and represent users who depend on IT systems, including those in charge of property management, operations, maintenance, security, finance, and human resources. The three-point relationship between these executive roles can be described as a triangle of communication, as shown in Figure 1-1. The triangle shape is appropriate because all legs of a triangle depend on each other for structural support, just as the three executives in the airport communication triangle must communicate effectively to implement complex technology. The IT communication process is continual, not a one-time effort. For example, when a CIO and stakeholder executive work together to get a new system approved, that step is not the end Figure 1-1. Triangle of communication