can only be practiced in organizations with repetitive missions, with professionals
trained in the discipline, and in organizations deeply committed to rewarding
disciplinarians and punishing violators.
be found in generic disciplines like design and engineering … not in fads like
“BPR,” “TQM,” or other evangelical movements that ultimately trace their discipline to
design and engineering.
own competitive advantage by selling “silver bullets” to IT managers vulnerable to
promises that are seldom – if ever – kept.
forces that will drive this ratio include increased employee acquisition, support and
retention costs, increased costs of doing business due to increasing regulation, and
the costs connected with maintaining huge corporate technology infrastructures.
In light of these realities, you have a number of organizational options available to
you. You can continue to support (read: care and feed) a large in-house IT staff –
and organize accordingly – or you can begin the transition to a more creative IT
products and services acquisition strategy that will require you to make some
significant organizational changes.
As your business evolves it’s essential that you undertake a brutally candid
assessment of your core competencies today and – especially – what they should be
tomorrow, and then begin to define the organizational structures that will exploit the
Acquisition & Support Requirements
So what do you need?
The bottom line is simple: if you haven’t conducted any alignment assessments then
you cannot organize effectively. If you’ve organized before you’ve made these
assessments then you’re already non-aligned, since it’s impossible to cost-effectively
map your IT requirements around a pre-defined organizational structure before you know
The core competency process discussed above will help a lot here. Asking tough
questions about what you need to do – and should do – will help you determine your IT
requirements and help you, in turn, map your acquisition and organizational options.
This is no time for the faint of heart. You must candidly assess what you should do
and then define your organizational structure.
Optimal Organizational Structures
One of the steps you can take that will help you transition from perhaps where you are
today to where you might very well need to go tomorrow will be explored in Part 2, which will run tomorrow. It describes an approach to organizational alignment that builds from the
above assumptions about your situation and current and future core competencies.
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 [email protected].