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How to ensure a smooth IT reorganization

Rich Hein | Sept. 11, 2014
IT reorganizations are costly both in terms of resources and productivity. To minimize those costs, CIOs and IT leaders should understand the nature of the problems they are looking to solve, have a solid strategy and be sure that business strategy is at the heart of the reorganization efforts.

IT reorganizations are costly both in terms of resources and productivity. To minimize those costs, CIOs and IT leaders should understand the nature of the problems they are looking to solve, have a solid strategy and be sure that business strategy is at the heart of the reorganization efforts.

Know the Problem

Before going down the reorganization path consider other ways to fix what is ailing your organization. It all starts with having a grasp of what the actual problems are. Once you have that knowledge, you can decide what your next actions should be. "IT leaders should first ask themselves what they hope to accomplish," says Julie Stansbury, CIO of GE Capital Treasury.

Determine Where to Start

Communications with key stakeholders, IT teams and C-level management is a must to find out where your organization is falling short and what you are doing right. How you decide to approach the conversation may be different, but getting the real scoop from all parties involved is paramount.

"I began by having conversations with my business partners. I gathered input from them on their experience working with the IT group, particularly around pain points or areas of potential improvement. I also gathered input from my IT leadership team around the same sorts of questions. I had a lot of roundtable, small-group discussions, and found that a frank dialogue was the key to determining the course of the reorg," says Stansbury.

Common Reasons a Reorg Might Be Needed

According to Bryan Kirschner, director of the Apigee Institute, IT leaders need to ask themselves three questions when considering a reorg: "

1. Are we outside-in?

2. Are we cloud-first?

3. Are we mobile-centric?"

A "no" to any of these questions is a major warning sign. In today's era of mobile and the cloud, having an insular IT department isn't enough to survive and succeed," says Kirschner. Organizations need to always beware of the changing landscape. Sometimes that means breaking down silos and making sure you are delivering a great customer experience or product, whether it's to a paying customer or a company employee using an IT solution.

Let's look at common reasons an IT department gets reorganized.

1. IT isn't delivering results

Is your IT department regularly missing deadlines and going over-budget? This is a real reason to consider a reorg, but leaders should again ask themselves, "Is there another way to fix these issues?"

According to a recent survey from the Apigee Institute nearly half of all companies fail to meet expectations when developing mobile apps. "These companies are seeing a key warning sign: failure to meet expectations deploying something that's becoming a necessity for any enterprise. IT, at a minimum, should do no evil — in this case, not be the obstacle to something essential to competing in the new mobile-centric market context," says Kirschner.

 

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