The I.T. Organization Model: Centralized vs. Decentralized

This is one in a series of blog posts discussing Divurgent’s 2014 IT Organization Best Practice Study.  To view earlier blogs from this series, click here.

If you have been around IT for any extended period of time, you have seen the debate and implementation of centralized and decentralized IT organizational models swing from one extreme to the other. Today, within healthcare, the most effective model appears to be a hybrid – some centralization (i.e. IT standards, project management, IT infrastructure investment) and some decentralization (i.e. process design, device support, end user support).

The position of IT Site Liaison has emerged as a critical role. This position provides a face to the mysterious IT at the other end of the phone and provides IT with real-time feedback on important concerns and trends within the organization. This position is critical for IT to change the perception of IT from being a reactionary roadblock to a proactive partner.  While new tools are available for providing remote support, face-time with IT users, even if only a few times a week, is seen as beneficial to the organization.

As IT organizations look to reduce IT investment, they correctly look at standardization and creating economies of scale through centralization of IT activity. Therefore, with the pressure being placed on the IT budget, organizations are trending toward centralization of selected IT services as a cost cutting measure. However, a large centralized IT group can also be viewed as less valuable and able to meet the needs of the organization. IT “face time” is needed to fully leverage the IT investment and remind the organization of the value IT brings.

See What CIOs Are Saying About This Topic

“I can see the need for more site managers/liaisons to aid communication with IT and provide that on-site face of IT.”

“We get pressure from the physician offices. They want the face-to-face support. We have yet to go through a culture change that finds remote support acceptable.”

“Centralization is not just about economics, it is also about change control. We have a trouble in keeping good discipline around change control with everybody reporting to the CIO.”


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