Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

A Source of Clean and Efficient IT: “Fusion Teams”

The need to support digitization and optimize business-led IT while contending with a complex and volatile business environment, has fundamentally changed the way teams are built and reorganized, leading to a demand in “fusion teams.” These replace traditional teams separated by business lines and solely focused on discrete IT functions where their individual expertise lies. Fusion teams form across these traditional boundaries, integrate business and technical skills, collaborate continuously to deliver technology, and draw leaders across the enterprise. The unit is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Despite the benefits, only 25% of fusion teams can provide the required results on time. Success often comes from four “fusion behaviors” shared by teammates. The first is a coaching commitment: sharing expertise to better achieve overall team objectives. The second is a learning mind-set: being open to improving skills outside one’s own area of expertise or function. These two work together to ensure a collaborative environment and to improve the collective skillset. The third is an open disposition: contending with risk and finding new ways of working outside typical process-centric and functionally-focused attitudes. Finally, having a digital acumen: developing a broad-based understanding of how digitalization affects the operating model and creates other company-wide changes. Focusing on these behaviors makes team formation more of a science than previously thought. For our class projects, our teams of course are made up of MIS majors, but each member brings a unique background, interest, and point-of-view. These differences can fuse together with the right behaviors (hopefully) to create a more effective team.

With the right composition and enough support from leadership, fusion teams will provide greater business value to a firm through more practical solutions and continue to change IT’s image as simply a cost center. Yet, what problems can the creation of a fusion team bring? Are there other team compositions that might be more effective in achieving IT goals?

One Response to A Source of Clean and Efficient IT: “Fusion Teams”

  • The idea of fusion teams is thorough and interesting, but it can also be difficult for people who come from such different traditional boundaries to work together as their working styles may be extremely different. Many times, teams that cannot provide the required results on time were not an efficient group that was able to work together fast enough to come up with a good solution. There are, however, some different types of group compositions that many major companies now deploy. For example, Deloitte sorts its employees through a custom personality test with four different outcomes. Each of the four outcomes has a different method to approaching group work, so all of the teams within the company are balanced to have at least one of every personality type in order to increase efficiency. It’s also customary for employees to regularly take the test over time to adjust for any changes in personality and behavior in the workplace.

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