CXO

Video: Counterpoint -- Five reasons to decentralize your IT department

See the top five benefits for decentralizing your IT department -- and the trade-offs you have to make if you decentralize -- in this episode of Sanity Savers for IT Executives.

See the top five benefits for decentralizing your IT department -- and the trade-offs you have to make if you decentralize -- in this episode of Sanity Savers for IT Executives.

Also, take a look at the original article that this episode was based on, the original discussion thread, and last week's video that provided the top five benefits of centralization.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

7 comments
No User
No User

Truth be told IT departments nation wide or world wide as the case may be are not rushing to decentralize/centralize nor beating their heads off a wall debating whether or not to do so. It's a case by case scenario based on need, benefit and cost. That is if the topic ever happens to even come up anywhere. And since you undoubtedly will soon have a follow up article on the Movement Back to Mainframes I offer this post in advance for that one as well. Jason, the over whelming vast majority of companies (if not all of them) change one way or another over time and thus adapt departments, occupations and personel. That does not constitute a TREND. It's life! So if they take it out of two and put it in one or take it from one and put it in two please don't confuse that with a TREND. It's just life and both people and companies do that some don't really even know why they just do. The bottom line on any benefit from doing so is... 1. Completely situational 2. Completely negligible 3. Completely up to the imagination It is absolutely Not an Option for every IT department or company. There is no way to tick off a list of benefits in this case the (5) like they would apply to all companies and every situation. It would be much better and closer to the truth if it was presented as... "This is what some folks are doing and here are the reasons they give for doing it". It's not a you do this and you get that situation. The same thing goes for the Mainframe, Cloud, IT-business alignment and pretty much anything you write articles on that you present as a TREND that we need to be aware of and prepare for. Life is all about change and when it really comes down to it there are not that many profoundly different options per a given situation and so as you see folks making the same or similar choices to the untrained eye that could very well be viewed as a TREND. ;)

philr
philr

Sadly journalism creates fashions among those who do not put in the hard yards to assess their real needs and assess the cost/benefits of the various options they have identified. I have had the dubious experience of being told what to do by an executive who did not have the knowledge, or technical authority to give such an order. (He is selling cars or similar now!!). Such "executives" pay far too much attention to what they read and are weak analytically. I know of one "executive" who thought he could replace his IT manager by contracting in a PC support person. The contractor's company folded. Truly bizarre things happen out there. Smart people pay a great attention to the quality of the information feeds they receive. I read many of the items from Tech Republic for my amusement rather than anything else. This article was one of them. :-)

jdiamond
jdiamond

I am amazed at the assumptions that are made in this video. I work with a customer who is desperately trying to centralise its IT because daving it decentralised (or federated as they like to call it) is costing them in terms of duplication (I will admit that this point is made in the video) and also in terms of cost of not having a standardised architecture - in that I mean not having to support many hardware types and OS types, applications, supporting SW (monitoring, management, security) which can happen with decentralised IT departments. On top of that you have off shore development teams - would you have these split by business unit too? Wow, I can see the costs spiraling out of control. It does make me wonder if the maker of the video has actually ever worked in a large IT organisation (especially in the Financial Services Sector).

bob
bob

These trends seem to follow the same cycle but 90? out of phase as the centralized/decentralized computing resources. When the bottom line is costs, the IT department trims down and becomes centralized. When the bottom line is worker efficiency and satisfaction, IT departments spread out and get to know their customers by being part of the business process. As we enter into a "tight" economy in the U.S. we will probably see more centralized, smaller IT departments as the companies begin to chew off their limbs in an effort to survive. Along with the centralization of IT personnel, the budget for IT will become restricted and any department needing more resources (printers, disk drives, software) will be expected to pay for it out of their own budget, thus decentralizing the IT infrastructure. Then, when times are good, the IT department will (as it should) insist on the budget required to pull all of those resources back under one control (for cost savings, efficiency and other business and legal reasons) which will alienate the departments that paid for them and force the IT department to send out "local" support personnel to placate the masses. Thus, the cycle continues...

greg.hruby
greg.hruby

InfoTech is just another "service" in most organizations - whether cetralized or not. What's really needed is for each organization to understand the complexity of its system. Once you have a picture of your individual organizations dependency on the IT system, you'll have a shot at addressing how to support it so that business gets done, money gets made. If that isn't worth the time, then neither is the carping when it fails.

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