What is a Functional Manager?

What is a functional manager?

A functional manager is the link between application users (for example employees, students or customers) and the technical side of an organization (the IT department). You have an important position, because you answer user questions and ensure that the applications work properly. You also translate user wishes into requests for the IT department. This often goes wrong without a functional manager. Users do not always know what an IT department can do for them, while it is often not clear to the people in the IT department what the users' wishes are. Because you understand both the content of the applications and their technical operation, the applications that IT develops fit well with the wishes of the users.

A functional manager is not the same as an application manager. The latter is purely concerned with the technical operation of applications, and not with their content. However, these job titles are sometimes used interchangeably. In smaller organizations, the work of a functional manager and an application manager sometimes coincide.

As a functional manager you are the connecting link between software users and the IT department. Because you have knowledge of both the content and the technical side of applications, you are a good discussion partner for both parties. In this role you ensure that the information provision works well and meets the needs of the organization and its users. To do this, you perform analyses, but you also talk to users. It is very important to ask questions so that it becomes clear what exactly the wishes are.

Because you, as a functional manager, know what is technically possible, it is quite easy for you to translate these wishes into a request for the IT department. The developers then start working on this. To ensure they understand the user's needs, review the software designs they create. This way you ensure that the newly developed applications actually meet the needs of the organization and the users.

One of your other tasks as a functional manager is to provide technical support to software users. For example, you answer questions, help with installation where necessary and provide software training so that everyone understands how the programs work. To achieve the greatest possible ease of use, you also ensure that the applications function properly. To do this, you keep the software up to date, coordinate user tests and report bugs and other incidents. Everything for the best possible use of information systems.