According to the Global Policy Forum, as of 2014, there are over 40,000 multinational corporations working through 250,000 affiliated firms. That’s a lot of data being shared across borders. That’s also a lot of IT employees working to keep information flowing and secured.
Do you work for a multinational company? If so, then you know that IT plays a critical role in connecting everyone. Your infrastructure has to support multiple offices, devices, and tools, whether your IT is on-site or in a central location.
How does one determine how the IT department will be structured? The size of your global company and its offices can help you make the right call in designing your IT organizational structure. Let’s explore the benefits of managing IT locally or at your corporate headquarters.
Managing IT Locally:
- Team on-site to address to critical/high priority issues
- Help desk support more readily accessible
- Hardware installations/integration may be performed more timely
- Hands-on training of technology
- Localized projects and tasks can be handled and managed
- Communication and language barriers may be limited
- Global deployment has to be time to reduce disruption
- Limited resources, if outside of corporate office
Managing IT Centrally:
- Global support can be provided to address common/shared issues
- Global resolution of critical/high priority issues and updates
- Limited travel required
- Can monitor activities from one location
- 24/7 support, if resources permit
- If 24/7 support is not provided, time zones and locations can become barriers
- Cannot be on-site to support local projects and hardware installations
- Communication and language barriers may be significant and could hiring multilingual employees
- Limited resources, if centralized team structure is not balanced
What will work for you?
Your company’s goals and strategies can help you determine how to design the ideal IT team across its many locations. What will work for one business may not work for another. Look at how your company is organized and what business needs are being served in each location. This could indicate how you and your employees can provide the best level of support possible.
A local structure may work if your overseas operations are significant and require full-team support. By having local employees, the IT infrastructure in a specific location can ensure matters are handled efficiently. By having centralized employees, global matters can be addressed singularly, rather than by office.
As business and technology become more global, companies will need to find ways to manage work activities, data exchange and security. In addition, companies are hiring more remote employees, the location of IT will only matter based on reporting structure.
At some point, will IT become more centralized? Possibly. In the meantime, IT needs to be structured around employees and partners where they are and how they work for you.