Most businesses are hierarchically organised. They have departments, which are responsible for a group of employees. There are various ways of structuring departments, for example by customer, product, region or discipline. IT services generally depend on several departments, customers or disciplines. For example, if there is an IT service to provide users with access to an accounting program on a central computer, this will involve several disciplines.


The computer centre has to make the program and database accessible, the data and telecommunications department has to make the computer centre accessible, and the PC support department has to provide users with an interface to access the application.


Processes that span several departments can monitor the quality of a service by monitoring certain aspects of quality, such as availability, capacity, cost and stability. A service organisation will then try to match these quality aspects with the customer’s demands. The structure of such processes can ensure that good data is available about the provision of services, so that the planning and control of services can be improved.


process is a logically related series of activities for the benefit of a defined objective.


We can study each process separately to optimise its quality. The process manager is responsible for the process results (i.e. is the process effective).

The logical combination of activities results in clear transfer points where the quality of processes can be monitored. In the restaurant example, we can separate responsibility for purchasing and cooking, so that the chefs do not have to purchase anything and possibly spend too much on fresh ingredients that do not add value.

The management of the organisation can provide control on the basis of the quality of the process as demonstrated by data from the results of each process. In most cases, the relevant performance indicators and standards will already be agreed upon. The day-to-day control of the process can then be left to the process manager. The process owner will assess the results based on a report of performance indicators and whether they meet the agreed standard.

Without clear indicators, it would be difficult for a process owner to determine whether the process is under control, and if planned improvements are being implemented.

Functional oriented organisations often find it difficult to respond to rapidly changing markets,

Functional structured organisation

Characteristics are:

  • Fragmented
  • Aimed at vertical and functional matters
  • Many control activities
  • Emphasizes high/low relationships
  • Encourages relation dependence
  • Exchange loyalty/security
  • Information is ‘secret’


Disadvantages are:


  • Walls; no further than here
  • Customer focused? “We (the IT department) know what’s good for you.”
  • Steering people instead of steering activities
  • Communication? (Because we have to; we are after all one company)
  • Political decision making (“the political arenas”)
  • Who is IT? Who is responsible for IT?



Processed based organisation


  • Entire tasks
  • Aimed at horizontal processes towards client
  • Control, as this adds value
  • Emphasises interdependence and uniting leadership
  • Emphasises interdependence of independent persons
  • “Security” is sought in individually added value
  • Information is accessible



Advantages are:

  • No boundaries, but interconnections
  • Customer focused: what is the added value?
  • Steering activities in stead of steering people
  • Communication because it is useful (fulfilling the needs of the customer)
  • Decision making is matching & customising
  • IT service provision is a process  

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