— An emphasis on services.
— Consulting support for each of the service areas.
— A Program Office (PO) to manage the percentage of work that is outsourced, the
account executive structure, and the central IT organization/lines of business
prioritization of work; the PO is comprised of representatives from central IT
organization and the divisions.
— A technology Council that links the services and management of the central IT
organization to the lines of business and divisions.
boundaries or by codifying new responsibilities. In order to make the proposed
technology organization effective several things must be true:
— Skillsets must be re-examined: skillsets that supported mainframe-based
applications, data center operations, and related activities are less valuable today
— and will certainly be less so in the future — than architecture design, systems
integration, distributed applications (so-called network centric applications),
project management and program management skillsets.
— Incentives must be re-examined: we must revisit the reward structure to make
certain that the skills, talent and activities that mean the most to the company are
generously rewarded, while those of less importance are rewarded accordingly. It is
essential that the “right” message be sent here: employees must believe that (a) there
is a clear vision for the business/technology relationship and (b) they will be
rewarded for their dedication to this relationship.
— A new breed of business/IT professionals must be fielded, professionals with an
understanding of broad and specific technology trends, business trends, and how to
convert the intersection into system requirements and system specifications. Such
professionals will work directly with the businesses to understand how technology can
be cost-effectively aligned with business strategies.
And Away We Go
There’s obviously lots to do. And it won’t all happen overnight. The reality of our
profession is that they will still be brush fires to extinguish, vendor crises to
manage, and financial disasters to avoid. But while all this chaos continues to swirl
around us, we nevertheless need to think about how to make our business/technology
organization less contentious and more efficient. A series of discussions will begin
immediately to decide how to implement the kinds of changes described here. Thanks.
(End of open letter.)
This generic organizational structure can be implemented – complete with embedded
biases – in your organization.
Organization Effectiveness Metrics
It’s critical that you measure the effectiveness of the organizations you create.
Annual surveys, interviews and other instruments should be used to determine if things
are working – or not. It’s best to have the assessments made by consultants with no
vested interest in the results.
Depending on what you choose to outsource, you should also develop a set of metrics
that will permit you to (a) first compare what you!&ve got now to what was the case
before outsourcing and (b) if the outsourcer’s performance is up to snuff. Of course
there should also be metrics to determine if in-house professional are performing
adequately, should you decide not to outsource.
Organizational structures should be volatile as they adapt to new business models, new
technologies, and new corporate structures. Prepare for changes long before they need
to be implemented!
Click here to read Part 1 of this column.
Click here to read Part 2.
Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova
University where he conducts applied research in business and technology alignment. He
is also the founder & CTO of TechVestCo, a new-economy consortium that focuses on
optimizing investments in information technology. He can be reached at