How many IT areas are there in the company?

Dr. Eric Schott looks at different IT areas and shows how companies can push digitalization through a collaborative positioning of their IT.

Leaving the “Shadow ITs” and possible bimodal variants (still rare in practice) aside for the moment, many companies have divided the tasks into three IT areas:

  • the classic Corporate IT (Office IT)
  • IT in production
  •  IT in products

Corporate IT is mainly responsible for Office applications and legacy systems such as SAP etc. At this time, IT in production (Production IT) is heavily influenced by Industry 4.0 requirements, with the main focus on increasing flexibility and efficiency in digitized factories; Lean Production or Predictive Analysis / Predictive Maintenance are relevant solution concepts that are connected to customers, suppliers and other partners using digital interfaces. IT in production (Product IT) is gaining in importance. It is characterized by systems that offer customers significant added value through their connection to other systems. Examples include software for home automation (Smart Home) or cars (Smartphone apps of car manufacturers).

At present, we are observing that these three IT systems often work independently of each other. Actually, there are many overlapping areas that could be considered suitable for (gradual) collaboration:

  • The objective of a successful digital transformation is a hot topic in all three IT areas.
  • It also includes the wish, or requirement, to strengthen the digital competence of the company's employees.
  • Ideas from one IT world could also be very effective for the other: for example, a Social Collaboration tool in Corporate IT - which is intended for collaboration within the company - could also be used to strengthen collaboration with external partners in Product IT.
  • Finally, all three IT areas have an interest in customer-focused IT Service Management.


Exchange between the three IT areas

From the viewpoint of Campana & Schott, the gradual and intensified exchange process between Corporate IT, Production IT and Product IT is therefore an important success factor. What are some of the starting points?

  1. The first step should at minimum consist of an informal exchange process between the various IT areas.
  2. This would be followed by a review as to whether Corporate IT can get involved in the value-added aspects of Product IT.
  3. In addition, Corporate IT and Product IT can come to an understanding with respect to customer focus: which requirements of external customers can also be transferred to internal (company) customers?
  4. The joint use of infrastructure or legacy applications offers great potential in this context.
    a) What is the potential of integrated ERP use (incl. goods management) all the way into Product IT?
    b) Does it make sense to turn to a higher-level use strategy involving a platform such as Azure? In more general terms: which Cloud strategy should be used to connect the IT areas with each other?
  5. In all cases, IT Service Management must be set up as a higher-level system, hence as a horizontal connection.
    a) The objective: the gradual consistency of processes across the three ITs.
    b) Integrated network services or service desk processes could be considered candidates for the start phase.
    c) This also offers possible cost advantages, if it has the effect of consolidating the total number of providers.
    d)  IT Service Integration subsequently delivers the manner in which internal and externally provided IT services are consistently managed end to end.