IT Function Map: understand what your IT dept. is all about

The IT Function Map is a powerful tool for improving communication and the quality of thinking about the IT Function. It provides comprehensive frame of reference and common language that will help you solve many of the challenges facing IT leaders.   

The need for a birds eye-view of the IT Function

As an IT leader you operate in a demanding and constantly changing world. You face challenging questions such as:

  • Should we insource or outsource?
  • What do we do about BYOD?
  • How do we prevent the growth of “shadow IT”?
  • How can we prove IT provides real business value?
  • How can we get more value from our BI investment?

There are lots of IT vendors offering to solve these issues. Unfortunately each vendor takes their own view of the problem, and has their own ways of expressing both the problem and the solution. The confusing terminology and marketing hype can make it even harder for you to understand the core issues and find workable solutions.

IT leaders need to be able to stand back and put their problems and solutions in context. You need a complete view of the IT function, so you can see where problems are, what impact they have, and how proposed solutions might improve the situation.

If you search you may find some models of the IT function, but in our experience these are either proprietary (and not available for widespread use) or limited in scope (not covering all the key functions performed by IT). This is why we have developed the FurleyDigital IT Function Map – a simple, comprehensive and open view of the IT function. It provides a framework for our work, a common frame of reference for our clients, and a common language that reflects industry terminology while still being vendor agnostic.  And it can help you.

Introducing the FurleyDigital IT Function Map

The IT function map is based on function mapping principles developed over many years consulting to a wide range of organisations. At the top level the IT Function Map is a one-page view of the IT function summarised into 7 Service Portfolios:

IT Function Map vn4
The IT Function Map covers 7 service portfolios

Each of these Service Portfolios can be split down further into Service Domains – specific functions that generally are separate within IT. The whole model covers the 36 domains that make-up most IT departments.

We can evaluate each of these domains from four perspectives:

  1. How mature are the processes used? (based on Capability Maturity)
  2. What is the current state of the technology assets managed with this service?
  3. What is the current state of the tools used to provide these services?
  4. Do they have the capacity to cope with demand?

The benefits of the IT Function Map

The IT Function Map provides a common frame of reference and a common language for IT leaders. And the key benefits of you using it are better communication and improved the quality of thinking.

People are much more likely to solve a problem when they can understand it clearly, and are able to collaborate with others on a solution.  As a famous strategist said: “What has not been made simple cannot be made clear, and what is not clear will not be done.”

The IT Function Map provides clarity over the IT Function, but don’t be fooled by its simplicity – the framework can also provide a high degree of rigor for thinking through issues.

How can you use the IT Function Map?

FurleyDigital use the IT Function Map as a framework for evaluating IT technology, processes and organization, as a way of communicating strategy and as a means of identifying where improvements can be made.

You can use the IT Function Map for many purposes including to:

Explain the IT function

  • Demonstrate the complexity and diversity of activities
  • Provide a context for a specific domain
  • Develop a service catalogue
  • Improve IT Business alignment

Evaluate the current state of the IT function

  • Evaluate individual team performance
  • Identify and measure KPIs
  • Identify process bottlenecks

Develop an IT strategy and roadmap

  • Highlight areas for future attention
  • Communicate strategy and show how it aligns with business priorities
  • Identify areas for investment in core capabilities
  • Identify areas that can be outsource and those that can’t
  • help transform thinking from supply to demand

Clarify your IT organisation structure

  • Explore structural options
  • Clarify and align roles

Explore budget and funding options

  • Form the basis for activity based costing
  • Benchmark spend
  • Discuss charge-back and show-back options

Why use the FurleyDigital IT Function Map rather than others?

The IT Function Map is not dissimilar to other models, but we believe it has some unique benefits for our clients. The IT Function Map is:

  • Comprehensive. The 32 domains cover every key aspect of the IT function in most organisations, including some new domains that are not found everywhere.
  • Open Source and available to everyone. FurleyDigital want it to be adopted as widely as possible and for every user to contribute improvements.
  • Based on function not process. Processes are how things are done, and are always being improved. Function is why things are done – the outcomes expected. Functions tend to stay much more constant over time, so the model stays relevant even when processes change.
  • Based on general systems thinking. The map encompasses all the aspects of the function  – people, process, and technology – not just some of these.
  • Based on industry terminology and frameworks. The IT Function Map is designed to co-exist with other industry frameworks such as PMBOK, ITCMF and ITIL. It gives their work context and sometimes even helps users understand where they are incomplete or inconsistent.

 Find out more

To find out more about how you can use the IT Function Map please contact us