• Veit Schulz, Director |

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the work environment changed abruptly, boosting digital transformation. Whenever possible, companies shifted from on-site to remote work. This is unlikely to change in the future, meaning that the IT department should consider changing its operating model.

Working from anywhere results in new IT requirements impacting IT operating models

The outbreak of COVID-19 literally changed the way we worked overnight. What was first deemed to be a temporary effect seems to be staying for good. Many companies initially scrambled to introduce new technical solutions allowing employees to collaborate remotely. However, these short-term fixes were only a first step. In order to satisfy the changing business requirements, IT managers should ask themselves if their operating models also need an update.

An IT operating model reflects the configuration of IT across six dimensions: service delivery model, processes, people, governance, technology and performance insights and data. Now that Working from Anywhere has become much more acceptable, IT managers should critically assess the current capabilities of their IT organizations. To make this easier, we have compiled some assessment questions for each of these 6 dimensions of the IT operating model. They are good place to start thinking about where to begin and what needs to be done by whom and when.

Service Delivery Model

  • Is the current service delivery model still adequate for the new environment?
  • Which IT services should be provided from which location?
  • Which IT services truly require physical interaction?
  • Does IT still need a physical helpdesk / on-site-support or could support be entirely remote?
  • Could specific services be outsourced to an external company?
  • Could interactions between the business and the IT organization be automated?
  • Could the level of self-services be increased?
  • Are there any legal restrictions for providing IT services from outside Switzerland?
  • What specific cost-reduction opportunities does this new situation offer?

Process

  • How should processes be executed now? Which additional steps and controls are needed?
  • Are hand-over points between different roles or departments defined properly in process flows?
  • Which level of automation is right for which business process?
  • Which processes could be automated?
  • Are IT processes, especially those relevant for remote collaboration, properly documented?

People

  • How should the organizational structure, roles and responsibilities be changed?
  • What kind of changes are required for a successful IT project execution if traveling and/or physical proximity are not possible?
  • Which project methodologies (e.g. waterfall, SCRUM agile) are fit best for employee collaboration in the company?
  • What are appropriate career development paths and how can feedback be provided consistently?

Governance

  • Is the current governance and reporting structure still appropriate for Working from Anywhere?
  • How are roles and responsibilities within the organization affected? Are roles and responsibilities clear to management and employees?
  • Which escalation paths should be changed and optimized in consideration of hybrid collaboration?
  • Which management approaches and processes should be changed to enable the effective management of virtual / hybrid teams?

Technology

  • Which IT solutions are required to execute critical business processes virtually?
  • Are people trained for using the collaboration tool effectively?
  • Which solutions help strengthen collaboration across the workforce?
  • How scalable is the existing IT infrastructure and is this IT infrastructure fit for the future?
  • Can the current IT infrastructure handle sudden high loads (for instance, due to a virtual town hall)?

Performance insights and data

  • How is the performance of IT processes or IT services measured?
  • How have employee performance objectives changed due to hybrid work models? Can current performance tracking methods still be used for this?
  • Which KPIs have gained relevance for assessing the performance of the IT department?
  • Which service level agreements for IT services have changed (e.g. to reflect higher requirements for specific IT services)?
  • Which critical company data must not be accessed from outside Switzerland?

The questions listed above are just some of the relevant aspects that should be considered when adapting the IT operating model. However, they are of a generic nature and a deeper analysis of the current situation should be considered taking into account the characteristics and priorities of your company. Nevertheless, it is key to ask these questions now so that the IT department can deliver IT services effectively in the new working environment.

Get more insight: Work anywhere, together - Digital Transformation (Factsheet, PDF)

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