IT Silos?

wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
Is your org highly siloed in regards to IT? I know there is a tread to try to break down the IT silos, but anyone work for a place that has been successful in going from a highly siloed environment to one that is not?

Had a meeting the other day with like 5-6 teams, all needed to kick off a small POC. Just seems like a smaller, more diverse ad hoc groups would be much more efficient.

Comments

  • 5ekurity5ekurity Member Posts: 346 ■■■□□□□□□□
    i used to work for a large organization that had people very siloed in their roles. While they were SME's of whatever they were in charge of doing, and very good at it, they often lacked the vision of the bigger picture (even if they were non-siloed prior to moving into that position - think Tier 2 to Tier 3 type job). From an employee perspective, becoming so siloed is terrible if you ever want to expand your skill set or reach into something else IT related; you'd basically have to start over just to switch lanes.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,829 Mod
    This. I worked for one of the nations largest banks and it was VERY siloed. It was so awful. It's how I was pigeonholed into an identity and access management role for almost 6 years. And it's not always just having IT functions siloed, its then breaking those silos down further into well you support this part of the bank, and they support other parts of the bank doing that same function. I'm so thankful I was given the opportunity at a competing firm and I now do a mix of risk management, policy and compliance, audit, and controls work. If you ever find yourself stuck, just pound the books and learn other skills and try to find a place that will take a chance on what you know.
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes, and it's killing us. The financial industry, by it's business model, is very conducive to silo type teams. There is little cross-functional work performed where it could be.
  • 5ekurity5ekurity Member Posts: 346 ■■■□□□□□□□
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    If you ever find yourself stuck, just pound the books and learn other skills and try to find a place that will take a chance on what you know.

    That's exactly how I got out. I got friends there still who do such specific stuff, when they put together their resumes they look like they really don't do much of anything. It's so specific to this organization that their skills appear to be unmarketable outside of the organization. Good for the organization, terrible for the employee.
  • 5ekurity5ekurity Member Posts: 346 ■■■□□□□□□□
    MSP-IT wrote: »
    Yes, and it's killing us. The financial industry, by it's business model, is very conducive to silo type teams. There is little cross-functional work performed where it could be.

    My prior place was an insurance company. The other problem you run into is people don't want to share what they know, because then they can be 'replaced', so there is no movement in the organization and people become stagnant. Some people will be complacent, others will want to move on and realize they need to take a step back before they can move forward again.
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Seperation of Duties is what is killing us. Stagnancy is the norm here.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    Nope, and more experienced and better off for it. I've worked in silo'd environments and talk about not getting anything done. People have their own agendas, the larger the organization the more agendas and harder it is. I prefer technical issues to non-technical ones.
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    My first two positions were silo'd to an extent because it was in support of a large user-base.

    My first position laid the foundation for customer service, troubleshooting, and working in an enterprise environment.
    My second position allowed me to get very technical, expand in to linux, and administrate parts of an enterprise environment.

    My third (current) position is a small IT shop with a good budget and a lot of modern technologies. I'm responsible for the whole IT stack (read: no outsourced technologies) and do mostly L3/L4 work.

    Everyone has their own path in life and professionally...I enjoyed my time in silo'd positions and they contributed to my smooth transition into a small shop.
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I'm getting the jist of this convo but for clarity sake: Silo = ?

    I think I work in one of these places...


  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    Silo is where you have a very narrow set of responsibilities and there's not a lot of skill-crossing between teams.

    This is typical of very large organizations/enterprise settings with internal IT shops. For example, you can have your network team which further breaks down to the firewall guy, R&S guy, hardware guy, etc.
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    lsud00d wrote: »
    Silo is where you have a very narrow set of responsibilities and there's not a lot of skill-crossing between teams.

    This is typical of very large organizations/enterprise settings with internal IT shops. For example, you can have your network team which further breaks down to the firewall guy, R&S guy, hardware guy, etc.

    Yep, I work there. I see how it should allow members of each team to specialize and focus and really know their craft well but what really happens is people play pass the buck until it hits someone that just resolves the issue. Or it tumbles down the latter until it lands at the helpdesk/desktop support for "triage" in hopes that the issue resolves itself by the time it gets down there.


  • QordQord Senior Member Member Posts: 632 ■■■■□□□□□□
    QHalo wrote: »
    Nope, and more experienced and better off for it.
    This exactly. I don't know of any other business where I (desktop support title) would be given the chance to manage both Windows and Linux servers, be handed scripting tasks, and manage the wireless network throughout 12 different locations. In our IT department, there are 9 of us that are technical and we're supposed to have double backups for all duties. This doesn't necessarily happen in every case, but we're sure trying.

    I'm looking at my current job as a step into a Jr JOAT. By having a good amount of exposure to a lot of different technologies, I have a pretty good idea of what I enjoy (like Windows server management) and what I don't (like licensing), and where to try and steer my career. IT is a very broad field, and I think having a position with varied duties is helpful in navigating the otherwise overwhelming job of finding what your passion. Although, on the flip side of that, I don't get enough time with any one technology to be really good with it.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It's interesting to read the responses. I know that in the past there have been plenty of discussion about the benefits of focusing a career on being a joat versus specializing. I would have expected to see responses espousing the benefits of a silo-ed organization.
    wes allen wrote: »
    anyone work for a place that has been successful in going from a highly siloed environment to one that is not?
    Are you asking about taking a company that has a technology organization which is silo-ed and trying to make it less functionally isolated? I currently work for a company that has technology organizations which is setup in such a way. And frankly, I am quite frustrated by the pace and the constraints that it places on the business. But unfortunately, to scale effectively, I've not yet found the happy medium where it's commercially feasible to avoid silo-ed functions. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle depending on the complexity and risk-tolerance of the business. The problem with trying to break-down the silo's has been resource skillsets. It's very expensive to fund an organization that dependent on having people that have very broad technology skillsets. And the risk tends to increase because the subject matter knowledge starts to get concentrated in a smaller group.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    If an organization is making millions / billions of dollars using a silo'd structure why would they change it? If you have been in IT long enough you know change can be extemely painful and risky.

    If I was an exec. I'm not switching the system around to lean up or agile my IT department.

    Wes to your original questions - No I have not seen this successful. The only way I have seen this even remotely successful is out sourcing the IT departments to MSP's. Passing the risk to another organization.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    'The way we've always done it'. Dangerous thinking these days. Converged platforms and devops is showing this method of thinking and way of doing business going the way of the dodo. Having to gather 5 teams to get a project done is not efficient. At least I've never seen an organization able to pull off a business critical deployment that involved so many areas turn it around quickly and be successful. Smaller teams with a broader skillset can run circles around teams like that.
  • wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
    QHalo wrote: »
    'The way we've always done it'. Dangerous thinking these days. Converged platforms and devops is showing this method of thinking and way of doing business going the way of the dodo. Having to gather 5 teams to get a project done is not efficient. At least I've never seen an organization able to pull off a business critical deployment that involved so many areas turn it around quickly and be successful. Smaller teams with a broader skillset can run circles around teams like that.

    This.

    Just think how many teams need to be involved to spin up a new webapp server - I think it might 7 where I work. You are talking weeks, at best, usually. Then there is the ping pong of who is responsible, and not wanting to take on anything that might be outside of your silo, etc.

    I can see the need to having somewhat specialized skills, esp. in a large and complex enterprise, but at the same time, traditional IT is taking a beating from the biz side of the house for not being responsive enough.

    I can see, more and more, the draw of SDN, etc. When you have pre approved configs /changes and can spin up a new server, with all FW. VLAN, etc settings ready to go with a couple clicks, it has to be an improvement over the way it is done today.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    Just imagine being able to be agile enough to deploy a new development and production infrastructures in a few hours or days instead of weeks or months. That's where the real money starts coming in. That's all determined by time to market and that requires super agility.
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    wes allen wrote: »
    This.

    Just think how many teams need to be involved to spin up a new webapp server - I think it might 7 where I work. You are talking weeks, at best, usually. Then there is the ping pong of who is responsible, and not wanting to take on anything that might be outside of your silo, etc.

    My employer recently performed this action, it started Feb 20 something. Its still on going, and that date was the "go live" date and does not include the prep before hand.

    Its not for lack of planning, everyone did their jobs well. Its that a key person or two took vacations after the go live and now they are playing catch up while working around other team members that are on vacation. Its never ending. They get a few pieces finished and run into the vacation roadblock. That person gets back, they get a few more pieces put together then run into another person on PTO for 4 days and get delayed again. Over and over.

    edit: Left out that there was a problem after the go-live requiring a re-work of sorts...which is what they are all working on now.


  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    Wes to your original questions - No I have not seen this successful. The only way I have seen this even remotely successful is out sourcing the IT departments to MSP's. Passing the risk to another organization.
    The problem is that you can't really out-source risk. The business is still accountable for service delivery to it's customers and for the bottom line.
    N2IT wrote: »
    If I was an exec. I'm not switching the system around to lean up or agile my IT department.
    It depends on the motivating factor though. Like you, I haven't seen work either in very large enterprises. For me, it's really about the economics. My nirvana is probably somewhere in the middle, there are certain IT functions which are highly commoditized and agility may not be required such as telephony services, certain network services, desktop management, etc.. But the IT services that are need to deliver revenue producing products do need to be nimble.

    @Qhalo - I was wondering when someone would bring up DevOps. While I think there could be benefits in a highly homogenous organization, I don't think it works in large enterprises with disparate lines-of-businesses with varying products which depend on different technology stacks.

    @wes - similar to you - standing up a webapp server touches about a half-dozen teams where I work. We are very risk adverse and the silo's are intended to help us scale and protect changes which impact our customers. But I think that from a line-of-business perspective, it's probably still to slow and there is probably an intersection where silo's start to become a constraint on the business. T
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