For most part, current structure of IT departments is a relic of the past. The idea of a large central team that has App Dev team, Ops team, Infra team, desktop support team etc is proving to be one that also does not listen well enough to business users. While some CIOs are able to embrace shadow IT and look for opportunities to get ahead of user requirements, it is still due to heroic efforts by them. The organizational structure is not optimized for it.

When MIS or IT departments started, computers were complex and required expert level skills and building a central team made sense. This is still true if you are managing your own infrastructure. However, the case for managing one’s own infrastructure is non existent for 95% of the companies out there. They are simply embracing status quo, when moving away from it will give them huge benefits.

When used correctly, IT can provide competitive differentiation for business. However, in majority of the cases, IT is a cost center and mostly an unpalatable tax that businesses have to pay. There isn't lot of love for IT within rest of the organization. In majority of mainstream businesses, IT is located in the basement or a separate building, because its one of those ugly things executives wish not to see. IT, the way they operate is an unpalatable but mandatory tax for business.

This won’t last. CIOs can not expect to hold their job or keep their staff employed for long if they embrace the status quo. CIOs have to actively redesign their IT. Here are my rather simpler prescription to get started on redesigning IT. This is is just to get a debate going.

1. Put in place a plan to retire existing infrastructure and reallocate infra budget to app development.

Owned infrastructure is inefficient and will become more inefficient as time goes on. Every server, storage you buy is a PITA that you need to manage for a long time with no or questionable benefits.

2. Move as much ops as possible over to a public cloud provider ( or a hosted dedicated cloud if you prefer ).

You still need to have some ops, but not server admins or storage admins. You will need folks with automation skills in ops.

3. Make app dev managers have a dotted reporting to Line of Business Execs and tie performance bonus to LOB rating.

Because building apps for apps sake is an useless exercise.

4. Move mundane tasks such as desktop support etc under Business execs

These are fact of life and you can’t really get away from having these resources, but put them next to business units, so they can deliver a better service. Yeah, the Desktop as a service is a failure, so don’t count on it.

5. Elevate CISO to top level IT position and give them as much resources as possible and a team

Because no matter how efficient you run, if you get hacked, its game over.

Finally, if you are doing a private cloud project on-prem, your priority is not redesigning IT, but its rather getting your head checked out.

That’s all folks — welcome your thoughts.

Parody + Tech commentary.

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