There is no single optimal organization design for IT departments, but rather a set of appropriate practices that are adapted through learning and benchmarking processes, according to a new report by people3, a Gartner, Inc. company.

“Designing an effective organization structure is a challenge that is more easily said than done,” said Diane Berry, managing vice president of people3. “With such a challenge in mind, IT leaders often wish to find the one ‘perfect’ IT organization model that will address all the problems in their current structure. Instead of reinventing the wheel, many IT leaders turn to a ‘quick fix.’ Unfortunately, the results of taking a short cut as such are not always promising, and could be much more costly in the end.”

According to the report “Structuring for Success: Building Blocks for IT Organization Design,” IT leaders need to answer four questions: what works, what does not work, when will it work and why.

“Answers to these four questions reveal the essence of a ‘best practice’ for a specific organizational setting, and will help IT leaders determine whether a specific ‘best practice’ is appropriate for their organization,” said Berry.

The report recommends that IT and business leaders should go through the four basic steps of the organization design process to increase the rate of success of their IT reengineering initiatives. The four processes are:

  • Business Driver Assessment – Identify the business drivers that lead to the development of a re-engineering strategy.
  • Organization Readiness Assessment – Ensure that all the constraints and barriers to organizational re-engineering are evaluated and taken into consideration during the design and implementation processes.
  • Structure Model Assessment – Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each IT structure model (centralized, decentralized or federated [hybrid]). Select the organization design that not only is aligned with business strategy but that also fits the culture of the organization.
  • Business Impact Assessment – Conduct a series of “what if” business impact analyses during the organization design phase to minimize any potentially negative impact on the business and evaluate how well the new structure achieves the business and IT objectives.

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