The structure of an IT organization is integral to the types of values it can provide to the company. According to the article “The Built-to-Purpose IT Organization” by Colleen Young, there are three main options for line management structures of IT organizations: technically aligned, business unit aligned and business process aligned. These options, respectively, increase in the value IT provides to the company’s business operations and overall strategic goals. Business process aligned IT structure offers maximum value to the company as it tailors IT services to serve the needs of specific end-to-end business processes. At my current job at a global consumer packaged goods company, I work in the IT function that supports IT needs of R & D, which gives me the opportunity to witness first-hand the effectiveness of a centralized, business process aligned IT structure. My manager, the R&D IT service manager has built a partnership with R&D people and has extensive knowledge of R&D business processes. Thanks to this effective collaboration, we are able to efficiently find opportunities to use technologies to optimize R&D operations.
Another reflection I had when reading the article was that the three structures don’t have to be mutually exclusive. My company has technically aligned teams (security, infrastructure, etc.) as well as business process aligned teams such as my team, or Marketing IT, Supply Chain IT, etc. and this model has been working successfully. Based on this framework, IT organizations can have a hybrid or a mixed structure combining two or three of the above options to maximize value creation.