Business Relationship Management for the Digital Enterprise


Chapter 7. Transitioning to a Digital IT Operating Model


This Chapter examines the concept of an IT operating model and its implications for the digital enterprise. It considers principles for IT operating model transition and how to differentiate between genuine transition and reorganization.

“Do you need to have an IT operating model?” This LinkedIn group question led to an interesting discussion. One of the noteworthy aspects of the discussion was that several participants viewed an IT operating model as something optional that IT organizations may choose to have or not have.

All IT organizations have an IT operating model. It might not be well communicated or well understood. It might be implicit rather than explicit. It might be badly broken. But every IT organization has an operating model or they would not be able to operate. The significant questions to ask about the IT operating model are, is it:

  • Formalized? (i.e., has it been designed with deliberation, not just as an accident of bygone reorganizations?)
  • Effective? (i.e., does it consistently deliver what the business needs in the most
    effective ways?)
  • Efficient? (i.e., does it make the best possible use of assets and resources?)
  • Clear to those who depend upon it? (i.e., Do stakeholders and members of
    the organization understand it?)
  • Healthy? (i.e., is it continuously improving and sustainable?)

With collaboration tools such as wikis, social networks, and prediction markets, designing the IT operating model can be performed in a more collaborative and impactful way. It can be done using wikis, so that the products of the design become living documents, collaboratively managed, integrated into workflow and truly representative of the way work actually gets done.

An IT Operating Model for the Digital Enterprise

There are three reasons to consider digital enterprise implications for IT operating models:

  1. The types of IT products & services to be delivered in a digital enterprise are quite different from those in a Web 1.0 world.
  2. The ways that IT products &  services can be delivered are also different.
  3. Designing & executing an IT operating model in a digital enterprise is also different.

I’m most excited about point 3. It’s something I’ve been exploring through multi-company research and consulting engagements, and have found that Web 2.0/3.0 provides a powerful platform through which to design, actualize and evolve an IT operating model.