How can CIOs improve IT department design? Have you done anything creative or had any unique roles/teams in IT departments you have led?

1.3k views1 Upvote5 Comments

Former Chief Technology and People Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I personally thought pretty traditionally about what are the functions within IT, and was willing to stray from that as necessary and also did see where suddenly complicated things, like, "Well, is Drive or Box or Dropbox an application or an infrastructure tool," right? So it's gotten more and more confusing, and I never did quite evolve to the, "Hey, we've got this productivity and collaboration team now."  But I can see where it's going to head in that direction. 

I would say one of the things that I spent quite a bit of time on was organizationally, how do you have a global IT team, and how do you balance local care and feeding and support with a global perspective on the problems the functions are trying to solve? I found that to be really critical, because you would really worry about a team that was so far away, and whether or not they were getting the higher-level support that they needed. Yet at the same time, if I was going to have a work day team working around the clock, I needed them working around the clock and not saying, "Well, my boss over here said I should do this, but you said I should do this."

So that is something that we spent a lot of time on. And definitely, we ended up settling on global service models, and intact teams, yet we had some site leadership and guidance that we really leveraged more for engagement with the rest of the functions that sat in that site, as well as the values, the culture, the fun or softer skill side of things to make sure that that team always felt like they were very well taken care of. That was sort of where I did spend time, and I didn't get a lot of help from HR, not because there might not have been somebody that could help me, but they were working on other, probably bigger problems. In the end, it had to be a model that my leadership team and my organization bought into.
Board of directors, former CIO in Software, Self-employed
I think about the typical touchpoints and process flows as anchors to the org structure: i,e.where the money flows, the hire to retire and the deep connections into engineering.
2 Replies
Former Chief Technology and People Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

This last one is one of the hardest jobs in IT.

Board of directors, former CIO in Software, Self-employed

It is. Being able to be that credible influencer on both business and engineering . Technical chops and business acumen are key. You really have to meet the company where they are in terms of maturity, size and mindset. I tend to look for people who are not title minded and that can roll up their sleeves and are very versatile.

CIO in Energy and Utilities, 11 - 50 employees
Yes, it all depends on business AND CLIENTS' needs. In one hand you have to make everything work fine in order to operate the business. On the other hand you have all innovation and improvement projects for IT and the company. Also you MUST participate in all strategic business initiatives to be prepared to enable the technology side and make it happen.
I have led many cross-department initiatives, both internat and external, have had ups and downs but great experiences in the end.

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