IT Restructuring Mistakes to Avoid

TSP • @myTSPnet


As the IT world constantly and rapidly evolves, more tech departments are leading digital transformation initiatives. However, finding the correct new way for IT work to be done is essential, but too often overlooked. Driving sustainable change requires going beyond overhauling organizational charts and business processes.

A 2019 survey of CEOs and senior business executives by Gartner found that after growth and technology, corporate structural development was one of their top priorities. Similarly, the Conference Board’s annual survey of CEOs and C-suite executives revealed that creating new business models because of disruptive technologies was the second biggest internal priority for 2020. Because of this prioritization, experts predict that many CIOs will be tasked with restructuring and reorganization within 2020.

Given how challenging restructuring IT can be, CIOs should avoid the following common mistakes when implementing reorganization.

When setting strategies and determining which projects to tackle, CIOs typically focus on hard facts. Often this means CIOs focus on how they will reshape the organizational chart and the benefits that will accompany the restructuring strategy, such as delivering solutions and services at a faster rate. However, less obvious features of organizational change are often an afterthought. For instance, it’s key for CIOs to consider how implementation will impede organizational culture.

Ultimately, both conventional change management strategies and large-scale reorganization initiatives are more likely to be successful if there’s support not only from executives and managers, but also from rank-and-file employees. Since everyone in the organization will be affected by the changes, it’s crucial that the CIO effectively communicates his or her vision by tailoring the message to the interests of both employees and stakeholders.

One of the biggest mistakes a CIO can make is focusing too much on successfully implementing new restructuring rather than concentrating on ensuring the desired results are delivered. When the IT initiatives are concrete, CIOs and their teams can get too fixated on tactical changes, products or groups organized around functions that they don’t fully resolve the end goals they are intended to enable. 

CIOs must identify what they will need from other executives and departments to deliver on their promises of change, such as moving to agile methods. To aim for the right objectives, CIOs should focus on the needs and values of the stakeholder first, while keeping in mind that stakeholders can be customers, partners and leadership.

Although CIOs often miss where and how a reorganization’s effects will be felt, it’s important to keep in mind that changes in one department rarely only impact that single group. When completing an IT restructure, take a holistic approach, fully anticipating how changing IT structures will affect workers, departments and technology requirements throughout the organization. It’s vital to consider the impact on areas that are left unchanged by the initiative and whether there are gaps in efficiency and security that will need to be addressed.

Furthermore, CIOs should move beyond immediate restructuring to focus on playing the long game. While this may be challenging considering the amount of work required to reorganize teams and processes, remember that considering only immediate objectives can create short-lived structures that may not withstand the test of time. The CIO should consider what will work at least a few years ahead, as IT and businesses will evolve.

When major changes in the IT department occur, CIOs are responsible for retraining employees to confidently work with the newly implemented technologies and processes. However, CIOs often overlook the work necessary to successfully drive cultural change as the enterprise’s operation is reorganized.

If an organization decides to centralize its analytics capabilities into data and analytics centers, executives will have to consider how their employees would work within the new and less hierarchical structure implemented. Ultimately, the success of IT restructuring requires CIOs to ensure that everyone in the organization is aligned with the new structure, or else it will not be able to deliver any value.

As businesses continue to become increasingly dependent upon the evolution of IT structures, CIOs and their teams should be mindful of the full implications of reorganization. From ensuring that workers, from CEOs to interns, are comfortable with the new process to testing the compatibility of pre-existing programs, CIOs have a substantial responsibility to their companies — be sure to avoid these hindering IT restructuring mistakes.