by Polly Schneider Traylor

Alternative Ways of Structuring IS Architecture

Nov 15, 20012 mins
IT Leadership

Culture, personalities and lines of business play a large part in deciding which organizational model the IS group follows. Establishing an operational deputy CIO position is one option. The following are three other common organizational models that CIOs use.

Office of the CIO: A corporate CIO with three to four senior vice presidents on equal footing. Suitable for organizations that are small or narrowly focused in the scope and complexity of the business so that the CIO can effectively handle both strategy and operations. Also good for organizations where politics and culture require a central CIO position to avoid alienating senior staff members or business executives. Appropriate when the CIO has the skills to wear both the operational and business strategy hat.

Federated model: A corporate CIO with divisional CIOs in each business unit. Typically, divisional CIOs report to the general manager of their respective business units with a dotted-line relationship to the CIO. Could be combined with the operational CIO deputy model (DuPont is an example of this blend). Most prevalent in large, multinational, decentralized organizations.

Co-CIOs: Sometimes seen in merger situations combining two distinct businesses and IT organizations. Can be extremely confrontational, especially if CIOs have equal stature, experience and power.