Modern IT is characterized by changing framework conditions. In addition to the pressure of cost-effectiveness, IT should also be innovative and demonstrate a high service mentality. Basically, many magazines read that the modern IT organization should be as central as necessary and as decentralized as necessary. But how is this supposed to work and what form of IT organization is there? There is a demarcation between IT organizational forms and IT organizational models. For completeness, I also recommend reading the other article.

Reading Tip: IT Organizational Models

Decentralized IT organization

In decentralized IT, there is clear leadership and order assignment to IT. In short, each unit has its own IT (see figure). The advantage is that they are close to the line and therefore often have higher orientation towards the department. However, the department is then disciplinaryly responsible for IT, which reduces the importance of it. There is also the risk of redundancy and silo thinking.

Decentralizeite it organization
Decentralized IT organization

Central IT organization

Central IT is an IT department for the entire enterprise. Thus, the departments submit requirements to IT. IT thus has its own staff and resources. It also implements its own strategy and plans the overall architecture. There is always no silo thinking and IT comes from a single source. Cross-cutting solutions could also be found. However, an increased effort of coordination is necessary in order to prevent possible IT blindness as well as general solutions, i.e. not perfectly tailored to the subject area, but compromise solutions. In this model, however, IT is also very “powerful” in the company.

central IT organization
Central IT organization

Hybrid IT organization

As central as necessary and as decentralized as possible, the hybrid IT organizational form applies in parts. IT admins are used per area, which adapts it to the department. This means that at least IT can be designed more individually without being directly decentralized. Advantages are the proximity to the line and the fact that the admins can technically talk to IT on an equal footing, which is often more difficult for the department, provided that there are no IT changers employed there. Dangers, of course, are political effects such as infighting and re-thinking.

hybrid IT organization
Hybrid IT organization

Project IT Organization

In this approach, IT is retained as a converter and each department has individual IT admins. However, there is also an IT office, which as a cross-sectional department plans it in the company together with the departments. It is self-contained, but has the IT office as a “lawyer” for the departments. In this way, silo thinking can be avoided, but the IT office will tend to establish itself as a place of power struggles, as it must represent the departments. Opportunities in this model are definitely cross-cutting solutions and synergies.

Project IT Organization
Project IT Organization

IT-Organizational Forms – Selection Procedures

In order to decide on a model, it should only be taken into account what importance IT has for the business model of the company. Of course, in a digital world without IT, almost nothing works anymore, but it does not always play the absolutely decisive role. Let us think of cat food, which is primarily controlled by production and logistics and supported by IT. It’s different at Apple, which is a software company.

Reading tip: What is an IT organization

Example 1: High importance for day-to-day business and low for strategy

This could be a highly software-oriented production or a company that provides products or services using software. A decentralized or hybrid FORM of IT organization is worthwhile here.

Example 2: High importance for day-to-day business and strategy

This is usually an IT company like a software house with a software product. HERE IT is the central point. A central or hybrid FORM of IT organization is recommended here.

Example 3: Low importance for day-to-day business and low for strategy

This can be, for example, a logistics or food factory that is more likely to produce products and support IT with small, less perceptible functions. Empohlen becomes a decentralized or hybrid IT organization form here.

Examples 4: Low importance for day-to-day business and high for strategy

If this happens, it could be, for example, an IT consulting company with knowledge products. Especially here, the it organization project as well as a central IT can be worthwhile.

Reading Tip: IT Organization 2020

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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