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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.

2. New leadership on board

Many times new leadership will bring about sweeping changes. Experts warn, however, that this isn't always a necessary or prudent path. "Reorgs should have a strategic rationale behind them, not just a sense, for example, that it's been awhile since the last reorg," says Stansbury.

3. New technology changes company mission

The world of technology has become firmly entrenched in most of today's businesses. It's forcing some companies to rethink the way they do business and that could mean big changes for IT.

"We're seeing demands to deliver modern digital experiences and capabilities for the business as a growing force. Let's take the retail sector as an example: Walgreens has found that customers who shop in-person, online, and using their mobile app spend six times as much as single- channel customers. The upside of delivering great omnichannel experiences and the downside of failing to do so is going to swamp traditional reasons to reorg like shaving costs a few percent," says Kirschner.

Do You Have C-Level Buy-In?

C-Level buy-in can make or break most any initiative and reorganizations are no different. "To gain their buy-in (C-level executives) it is important to get their input up front as to what's working or not working in the current environment, and to share your objectives of what you intend to accomplish with a reorganization. Following up with your C-level peers after the reorg changes are made, to get feedback is also a good approach to sustaining their buy-in," says Stansbury.

Be Aware of Team Morale

Once it's underway there will be a lot of questions and perhaps anxiety. It's hard to get things done in an atmosphere where people are worried about the unknown. Experts agree that communications is the key. Getting your IT workers involved and onboard with your strategy is an important part of keeping morale high and workers engaged.

"Reorganizations can be stressful for employees they're waiting to see how things change and what that means for their day-to-day work. It's critical to keep your IT teams and IT leadership involved in the entire process. That way, they have a stake in the reorg rather than feeling like changes are being put upon them. In our own reorg, I made sure to keep the entire business informed of our changes and the strategy behind them, using a variety of communication mediums including roundtable discussions, blogs and Web chats. The sooner you can bring clarity around those questions, the better," says Stansbury. The bottom-line is that leaders need to be upfront and transparent in regards to what the reorg means to their workers and the business as a whole.

 

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