The promise of decentralized IT lured many companies to adopt this model. On the surface, it sounds good. Each department or business unit would have its own business relationship manager, or BRM. With that person interfacing directly with the business unit, there would be no waiting for operational support. There is one person to talk to about all IT needs and get those needs prioritized. Or, at the very least, that is what this model promised and why so many companies adopted it.
The reality is a bit different.
All of the problems that a centralized IT department normally deals with are now in the hands of the BRMs. The BRM is responsible for ongoing operation needs, project implementation, strategic planning, and any other IT need that his or her business unit might require. The BRM person is the go-to person for executives, managers, and employees to discuss any and all IT issues.
This person has too much to do and very little authority to do it. Do any of the following problems sound familiar?
- Constant fire-fighting
- Work piling up
- Too many priorities
- No time for strategic planning
- Lack of communication between business units and the IT department
The decentralized model, when not thought-out and implemented smartly, causes the same issues as the centralized structure.
What can a company do about this?
The biggest mistake made when implementing the decentralized model of IT delivery is trying to pile too much on a single BRM. Certain IT issues are best addressed by a centralized model; other issues are better handled in an organized, decentralized model.
- Strategic planning and architecture – This layer of service comes from the central supply hub with input from each business unit. This keeps the business architecture standardized while making sure that each unit gets the resources and planning they need.
- Service enablement – Instead of working by business unit, this layer works on a project model. When implementing new software or hardware across business units, this model is efficient yet still allows for the business unit voice to be part of the process.
- Operations – Day-to-day operations work best with a mixture of centralized and decentralized work. The centralized units work on company-wide issues and give back-up support for the decentralized operations. That group works on the ongoing support issues within the business unit.
Each organization has its own needs when it comes to IT service delivery. Creating the ideal configuration depends on realizing your organization’s needs and using the right mix of centralized and decentralized services.