There are three very clear and distinct types of IT organizations that directly correlate to IT Organization Maturity. Each IT Organization Type has its own levels of influence, effectiveness, and its own culture, dictating how that organization operates and how it impacts the Business it serves in very clear and different ways. Your own IT culture, how your staff works within it, and the levels of influence it has on your Business are all directly dictated by the type of IT organization your leadership, either knowingly or unknowingly, has established. Understanding these three IT organization types will help you understand what your existing limitations are, what your options for change are, and what it takes to change your culture, should you pursue doing so.
The Three Types of IT Organizations
There are three very clear and distinct types of IT organizations that every IT professional and every Organizational Development professional should be aware of. They are:
- The Order Taker IT Organization (a.k.a. The Order Taker): Does the bare minimum and is viewed as having the least amount of value by the Business. (See below for details.)
- The Advisor IT Organization (a.k.a. The Advisor): Does a lot and has some value but is still often viewed as being inferior to the Business. (See below for details.)
- The Revenue Generator IT Organization (a.k.a. The Revenue Generator): Generates its own revenue and creates highest value by contributing to real profits. (See below for details.)
Each of the three types of IT organizations has its own clear and distinct traits that distinguish it from the others. These traits are directly tied to, effect, and help us understand IT organization cultures and performance.
And, whether your an IT leader, a manager, an employee or a consultant, knowing and understanding these types of IT organizations, their traits, and their cultures can help you make better decisions about your own individual careers, how to work within such organizations, and (if you’re a manager or leader) how to improve your organization’s performance.
Key Performance Indicators defining IT Organization Traits, Maturity, and Culture
When looking at, analyzing, and comparing IT organizations it is important to have clearly defined metrics, called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), that facilitate the processes of doing so. The traits used by the IF4IT include…
- Available Funding
- Freedom to Act and Execute
- Creativity and Innovation
- Internal Automation
- Technical Skills (addresses skills gained from formal career development, from research performed, and gained from implementing solutions)
- Staff Morale (addresses job satisfaction)
- Staff Loyalty (addresses internal response times and staff turnover)
- Flexibility (while freedom addresses ability to act, flexibility addresses how quickly staff can and does act)
- Knowledge Maturity (while transparency is about collecting and managing data, maturity addresses sharing, learning from and using that data for benefit)
- Project Success
- Vendor Autonomy
- Delivery (addresses the speed and quantity of things delivered)
The above indicators or measures allow us to understand how each IT organization addresses and deals within that indicator’s domain space. They also allow us to assign a maturity level, which further allows us to compare different IT organizations to each other.
This publication discusses the three canonical types or models for IT organizations, and sets the indicators to Low, Moderate/Medium or High, across the board for each IT organization type. When measuring your own IT organization, using the same indicators, you may find that you have different/varying scores for each indicator. For example, your organization may be Low in Available Funding but High in Transparency. Each of the three canonical models are meant to be baselines that help you measure and analyze your own organization.
Detailed Traits, Maturity, and Culture of each IT Organization Type
The details describing the traits, maturity, and culture of each IT organization type are too long to include in one single web page. To reduce page load time, each IT organization type has been separated into its own standalone web page. Simply click on an image, below, to read about the details for that specific IT organization type.
Benefits of Understanding the Three Types of IT Organizations for Different Stakeholders
For IT Employees
Understanding each of the three types of IT organizations and their traits allows IT employees to identify and understand the types of organizations they work for, further allowing them to make determinations about their career paths. For example, do they want to stay in the organization they work for or move on to a better one?
For IT Managers
Understanding each of the three types of IT organizations and their traits allows IT managers to better understand what is going on with their employees and consultants. It helps them understand the perceptions employees and contractors develop, the issues they are dealing with, and the hurdles that may be impacting things like their productivity and job satisfaction. With such understanding, managers can better adjust how they engage, motivate, and work with their staff.
For IT Leaders
Understanding each of the three types of IT organizations and their traits allows IT leaders to determine current state maturity of their IT organizations, make decisions about future state direction, and create strategic plans (e.g. roadmaps) for how to get to such new levels of maturity.
For general Organizational Development professionals
Organizational Development or Organization Design are disciplines used by professionals who usually sit in or work with Human Resources (HR) organizations. These disciplines aid in the design and change management of transition toward new organizations, regardless of the purpose of the organization(s) they are designing.
Far too often, Org. Dev. professionals are involved in but do not clearly understand the development of IT organizations because they (the organizations) often have very different requirements and needs than do the Businesses they serve. The details in this publication are important, not just to IT leaders who are designing their organizations but also for Org. Dev. professionals who are working with HR organizations and/or IT leaders to successfully design and establish IT organizations within industry-specific enterprises. It is critical to understand the traits of each of the three types of IT organizations so that you can understand the cultures and performance you will have, before building them.
Summary and Conclusions
- There are three very distinct types of IT Organizations. They are the Order Taker, the Advisor, and the Revenue Generator.
- Each of the three types of IT organizations has a different level of IT Organization Maturity (a.k.a. IT Maturity).
- Each of the three types of IT organizations has a different culture that drives maturity.
- Knowing the traits and cultures of each the three types of IT organizations helps IT professionals design and build better IT organizations.
Contact the IF4IT
If interested, you can Contact Us to learn more about IT organization traits, maturity and culture or to have us help you assess an IT organization with you.