Rapid growth asks much of an IT organization, and sometimes the answer is structural change. We helped a large philanthropic foundation that was fast outgrowing its IT organization’s ability to efficiently meet its business needs. Our client engaged us to help define the core scope of IT; refine its customer engagement model, align the IT organizational structure; delineate roles and responsibilities; and balance the cost of delivering IT services with the scale of the organization.

It’s not about the org chart

Many reorganizations are created behind closed doors and mistakenly focus on drawing that new org chart far too early.

Instead, we recommended an open approach that engaged IT stakeholders in creating a structure by focusing on their priorities: How do they want to engage with internal customers? What work is core to their success?

Meeting in four teams—each with an IT lead and a Point B consultant—we led a series of work sessions that united stakeholders around what matters most in the areas of customer engagement, IT scope and core work, structure and roles, and processes and tools. At key points, we brought the teams together to “connect the dots.” We kept the CIO in close touch with work in progress and allowed for plenty of checkpoints to affirm the emerging organizational direction with senior executives.

New insight, new structure

The teams’ clear definition of IT’s core work and its new customer engagement model became drivers for a new, more customer-driven structure. Rather than the typical organization by IT functions (such as Applications and Infrastructure), IT is now organized around primary customer functions, from Grants and Contracts to Decision Support. Each has a cross-functional IT group dedicated to supporting their client’s full range of IT needs. This structure ensures that IT strategy, projects and resources are aligned with the foundation’s most important work going forward.

Leading to change from within

Understanding and buy-in are key to the success of any reorganization. We started the change management process early by engaging stakeholders in the design phase. As stakeholders realized the ability to chart their own destiny, they became champions and change agents. Earning their early support led to a fast, smooth implementation that has been hailed a success by the CIO, the IT organization and its customers. It’s a process that our client has asked us to lead for other organizations at the foundation.