Posted by: Sarat Varanasi | May 26, 2010

Explore the debate: How to align your IT team – by Process or by Technology?

In my 15 years of experience, I have seen organizations align their IT teams by Process and or Technology.. In pursuit of formulating perfect teams, an issue as straight forward and simple as this can get extremely complicated.

Aligning by Business process could mean formulating teams by

Sales and Marketing Process, Delivery and Operations, Finance and Accounting, Manufacturing and Inventory

Or

Order to Cash, Procure to Pay, Hire to Retire, Financial reporting & Consolidations, Budgeting & Forecasting .

Aligning by Technology can also have various flavors. One flavor could be to align by app groups

ERP Apps, Web 2.0 Apps, DW Apps, CRM Apps, Network and Infrastructure groups

Or

.Net teams, C and Java Technologies, Oracle technologies, Social Media technologies etc.

This can get complicated when a combination of one or more above mentioned options are utilized.

So, what are the Pros and Cons of each option?

 

Align by Process

Align by Technology

Pros

  • Single point of contact for end users and business process owners
  • High level of business understanding and process knowledge for the IT teams becomes the basis for true partnership
  • Enables IT team to be proactive thinkers on how technology can build a competitive advantage
  • End to end view of process issues leads to quick and effective resolution and development of technical solutions
  • Gives the team a chance to work on various technologies for a particular process. Ex: Sales and Marketing teams can work on analyzing web 2.0 impact and also work on rolling out CRM applications
  • Technical teams can provide high level of service irrespective of business process
  • Provides a clear career path to the IT teams
  • Specialized knowledge of processes in apps like ERP and CRM can make roll out of additional functionality an easy task

Cons

  • Some team members might have to undergo longer training periods/learning curve on new technologies
  • Ownership of issues/or horizontal capabilities can get fuzzy in certain situations
  • Technology teams cannot be true partners with business
  • Deprives teams working on maintaining custom or legacy applications a chance to learn new technologies
  • Ties down the IT team to a particular technology stack.

 

My take, in this day and age IT to be successful has to be a partner with business and hence aligning teams by process is the only way to do it. Aligning teams by technology does not provide any benefits to the business.

What have you seen work and or not work in your organization. Drop in a comment or send me a note at vsb75@yahoo.com.

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