CIOs can take these three steps to understand their companies' global strategies and then ensure that the IT organization's approach to globalization matches corporate thinking as well as local needs and regulations.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 25, 2005

2 Min Read

Aligning the IT organization with the business' global strategy carries specific challenges. The first step is to understand the company's priorities, goals, and governance style. Here are specific steps you can take in the first 90 days.

Month 1 > Determine the global governance orientation

Complete the following statements (select one choice for each):
> Our business predominantly aims for: a) cost advantages and consistency among products and customer experiences; b) global efficiency, flexibility, and learning capability; c) worldwide diffusion and adaptation of parent practices; or d) strong national bases and local autonomy.

> We aim to: a) maximize all synergies; b) maximize specific synergies related to how we compete; c) identify specific product, process, or customer synergies; or d) forgo synergies in pursuit of agility and responsiveness.

> We aim to: a) centralize our assets and capabilities; b) have a federated balance of assets, centralizing strategic assets and capabilities; c) have mostly decentralized assets, centralizing only specific core capabilities; or d) decentralize our assets because our businesses are nationally self-sufficient. Determine your global governance orientation by checking your answers:
predominantly a: centralized; predominantly b: federated; predominantly c: parent-led; predominantly d: multilocal.

A mix indicates that your business may be acting at cross-purposes with its strategic focus, desired synergies, and placement of assets, which can make it tough for IT to support globalization. In that case, work with business colleagues to clarify trade-offs the business must make.

Month 2 > View your structure by governance orientation

Map your current structure against the four governance orientations by looking at where and how each of the IT macroprocesses is performed—centrally, locally, or mixed—and where each of the key IT roles exists.

Month 3 > Create alignment

With map in hand, work with business colleagues to begin aligning the IT organization. Investigate the use of outsourcers to speed the transition.

Categorize the countries where your company operates by their diversity and IT maturity. Consider how you can adjust operations to accommodate disparities. Consult with business decision makers in those countries.

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