Couple of years back, signals started pointing towards the Bimodal IT or Two-speed IT becoming irrelevant soon. In the article ‘The idea of bimodal or two-speed is nearing its death’, I had mentioned that the reasons for this change were primarily to do with people, and their insecurities and motivations. People drive changes more than changes driving people. So, it’s obvious that establishing a smooth team structure is the foundation for any major change.
Enterprises are experimenting with various organization structures and are trying multiple changes to make it work efficiently. This article is an attempt to consolidate the learnings and present guidance with some of the key roles necessary and their responsibilities.
Design principles for the org structure
The org structure guidance presented in this article is based on the following principles:
Units of IT organization
These are four distinct teams in the IT Organization (See Figure 1), whose responsibilities can be loosely de-coupled:
Governance: This team defines the organization-wide frameworks, policies, platforms, tools, patterns and practices. It is multi-functional with technology, finance, security, risk and process skills. It is typically loaded with abstract thinkers, innovators and architects.
Product Management: This team liaises with business users, collects requirements, conceptualizes reusable service offerings, assesses repeatability, engineers those services, builds the blueprints and templates to automate the offering, develops pricing for chargeback/showback and maintains a virtual P&L.
Change Factory: This team takes every one-time change requirement (ongoing changes to the offerings are done by Product management team), atomizes the steps in micro-level tasks and leverages in-sourced/out-sourced/crowdsourced workers to execute the change. Examples of changes are Datacenter to Cloud transformation or Monolith to Microservices transformation etc.
Operations: This team is responsible for Day-2 operations in an event-driven model. An additional responsibility, other than attending to incidents/service-tickets, is to identify automation candidates, develop runbook scripts, and add to the repository.
Figure 1: IT organization structure
This is a team with multi-functional advanced skills. The roles include:
Platform and Tools Architect: Responsible to define the requirements of hybrid multi-sourced IT platform, implement and manage it, integrate tools across different infrastructure providers
Patterns and Practices: Responsible to identify commonly used application patterns, infrastructure patterns, assess re-usability and provide recommendations to the Product Management team
Security and Risk: Responsible to define the security posture of the organization, distinguish the different security levels for applications and data, and provide guidance for the Product Management team to bake the requirements in every product that they develop
Cultural change is required in IT organizations. Every service that they provide to the business users should be a “product” and it has to be dealt with in a product management fashion starting from ideation till revenue-recognition. The roles include:
Business Liaison: Responsible for working with business users and Patterns and Practices team to define the requirements of the offering and feed the inputs to the Service Engineering team
Service Architecture: Responsible for architecting the offering with right parameterization for re-usability
Service Engineering: Responsible to design, develop and test the offerings
Finance Controller: Responsible for developing pricing models for the offerings
This team is a mix of in-house, outsourced and crowdsourced workforces for managing large one-time changes.
Atomizers: Responsible for breaking the large change into micro-tasks. The criteria to break tasks are: 1) one person can independently execute the task, 2) the person has role-based access only to that task and not the entire system
Line Managers: Responsible for a given track of activity, establish the factory-line and populate manual or digital workers to progress on the line
This team is responsible for Day 2 operations and continuous improvement
Automation: Responsible for watching high-traffic, high-effort manual activity to manage Day2 operations and developing runbooks and scripts to minimize effort and time.
Incident/Problem Management: Responsible to manage incidents and service tickets requiring human attention.
Looks like a massive change… How to?
It’s a major cultural change and plenty of re-skilling and normalization may be required to get to such an org structure. And it costs money. Some of the roles can be modified job descriptions for existing skillsets, but a majority will need reskilling. Practically, establishing this org structure could be a 12-18 months’ timeline and it’s worth the effort – a team with frictions and inefficient organization structure may cost more than the actual transformation costs.
The roles and responsibilities are presented at a high-level in this article. For more detailed job descriptions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of Datacenter Innovation Office, Wipro
Govind has 23 years of industry experience across the breadth of the technology spectrum - Application Development to IT Operations, UX Design to IT Security Controls, Presales to Implementation, Converged Systems to Internet of Things, and Strategy to Hands-on.
Prior to Wipro, he spent over 10 years at Microsoft as Technology Strategist. He has also worked in the CIO/CTO organizations of Texas Instruments, Automatic Data Processing, D. E. Shaw & Co. and PCL Mindware.
He has an M.B.A. from ICFAI University specializing in Finance, M.S. in Software Systems from BITS Pilani and B.E. (EEE) from Madras University. Professionally, he is MCSE, CISSP, PMP, ITIL Foundation certified.