8 Branches of Business Management

By business.com editorial staff,
business.com writer
Feb 20, 2012
Image Credit: Have a nice day Photo/Shutterstock

Breaking down the different types of business management can be tricky, but determining the key characteristics of each is a great way...

Business management can't be boiled down to one department, one aspect, or one person. Breaking down the different types of business management can be tricky, but separating and determining the key characteristics of each is a great place to start. While some fields of management overlap, There are eight sectors of business management, each as equally important as the others: financial management, marketing management, human resource management, strategic management, production management, operations management, service management and information technology management.

Financial management

Financial management, the most important part of business management, in the corporate world is about finding a healthy balance between profit and risk so that even with a setback, the business is profitable in the long-term. This type of business management involves planning, directing, and coordination between accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a business. Financial planning, control and decision making are the three key elements of financial management. Short-term financial management is often referred to as "working capital management" and relates to cash-, inventory- and debtors management. Both the assessment and technique of financial decisions fall under this type of business management.

Marketing Management

The business discipline focused on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of a company's marketing resources and activities is referred to as marketing management. Whether you're talking about brand management, strategy, or pricing, these are all a part of marketing management. The four major areas of marketing management are company analysis, collaborator analysis, competitor analysis and customer analysis. Spending time analyzing the different aspects of a business is necessary for developing the best branding opportunities and executing marketing tactics for the best ROI possible. The scope of a business' marketing management depends on the size of the business and the industry it's a part of. Effective marketing management will use a company's resources to increase its customer base, improve customer outlook and feedback, and increase the company's perceived value.

Human Resource Management

Referred to as HRM, Human Resource Management focuses on the recruitment of, management of, and provides direction for the people who work in the organization. Compensation, hiring, safety and wellness, benefits, and all that encompasses employee administration fall under HRM. A common misconception about HRM is that it is the responsibility of a human resources department or individual to execute HRM. However, the managers of all departments should understand that effective HRM enables employees to contribute effectively and productively to the overall company direction and the accomplishment of the organization's goals and objectives. This is the responsibility of an entire corporation, not just one department or one person. In previous years, HRM was more focused on personnel administration. Now, HRM needs to add value to the strategic utilization of employees and the employee programs to positively impact the business.

Strategic Management

Strategic management is the application of strategic thinking to the job of leading an organization. Many of the other branches of business management revolve around strategic management because the success of a business is often based on the strategies of finance, marketing, operations, etc. Strategic management focuses on the "big picture" of a business -- where do we want to be and how can we get there? Perhaps the most chameleon branch of management, the most important element of strategic management is formulation of the organization's future goals despite external factors such as regulation, competition, and technology. Strategic management is adaptive, incorporates competitive strategy, and keeps an organization relevant.

Production Management

The decision making that comes with the manufacturing of products or services is production management. Production management techniques are used in both manufacturing and service industries. Machines, methods, materials and money are the "4 M's" of production management because this type of business management is about converting the raw materials into a finished product, or service. One of the main focuses of production management is ensuring that production is efficient -- this includes inventory control and employee training. Inventory control is by far the most important responsibility of product managers and involves tracking all components of production from required materials and finished goods to general supplies. Another major focus of a business's production management team is research and development (R&D) of both the production process and the product itself. Businesses looking to expand, cut costs, and develop newer and better products must conduct R&D as a part of their product management.

Operations Management

Operations management involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient, no matter the department. Managing the operations of a business means dealing with a plethora of departments, strategies, and processes. Operations teams need to consider the acquisition, development, and utilization of resources that their business needs to deliver the goods and services that clients want. Similar to other branches of business management, operations management must work with other departments and branches. Depending on the industry of a business, operations management can vary, but the end goal is the same: make sure the company and all aspects of it are running as efficiently as possible.

Service Management

Service management varies completely on the industry and the business, but is essential to a company's success. Service management is sometimes viewed synonymously with IT service management, but the two differ in a few different areas. Service management usually incorporates automated systems along with skilled labor and often provides service development, even if it is not IT related. Managing and streamlining workflow for the automation or support of human decision making is only one focus of service management. Service management is what enables a provider to understand the services that they are providing from both a consumer and provider perspective and ensure that the services facilitate the outcomes that their clients want to achieve. No matter the service, managed service providers need to understand and manage the costs and risks involved, as well as the value and importance of the services to their clients.

IT Management

Managing the technology resources of a business to meet its needs and priorities is referred to as IT management. IT managers and teams are focused on making sure the technology of a business is aligned with the strategies set in place. IT configuration, service, and financial management are the three key elements of IT management as a whole. IT management means meeting business goals while fulfilling the expectations of customers. Managing IT means focusing on individual components and the delivery of end-to-end services using the best methods for reducing costs and improving employee efficiency. IT management incorporates the education and development of managers who can effectively manage the planning, design, selection, implementation, use and administration of emerging and converging information and communications technologies.

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
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