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This issue's dive into project management got me thinking about the unique needs of certain departments and how to staff for those needs.
I'm not talking about desktop support, where it's fairly common to allocate IT end-user support staff on a department-by-department basis. I'm thinking instead about groups and departments with needs that are significantly different from those of others in the organization. Some common examples are R&D and engineering teams and even specialized product teams.
On a larger scale, companies often debate just how much of IT to centralize when the company consists of major divisions developed through acquisitions. When economies of scale are discussed as acquisition benefits, IT consolidation is often one of the targets.
It's also much easier to claim that you'll consolidate the IT teams than it is to do it. On large scales, and particularly when it's a true merger of similarly sized companies, fully combining IT operations is a multiyear process--the sort of thing that has consultants drooling on their pinstriped suits and paisley ties with the wide knots.
But what about those unique needs of smaller groups, sometimes startup efforts within a company? Basically, IT has three options: