Overview of Step 3c – Enter your business units
In this step you need to fill in the Business Units of your organisation, also known as departments, divisions, or functional areas.
How to use the screen
- Business units are organized just like locations and products in two levels: Business Unit Group and Business Units (BU).
- In the blue area you have to enter the BU group name and below you can fill in the sub categories. Any item can be deleted by clicking the red x next to it.
- If you need to enter more BUs, click on Add Column and a new blank business unit group will display.
- Once all your BUs have been entered click Save & Continue
Business Unit Group: the first level segregation of business activities within the structure of your organisation.
Business Unit: the second level segregation of business activities within your organisation.
For more details see the Glossary.
Why do we need the structure of your organisation?
Every company has a number of key dimensions which they can use to measure themselves. For IT the most critical is the process dimension that you entered at step 2 in our workflow, but in order to structure the information further we also need information about your organisational structure. We have chosen the three most common organisational dimensions on which to do this by: products, locations and business units. We use this information in our method, and our reports show your IT usage. By comparing how an IT service is used on different dimensions it is possible to identify excess complexity and savings opportunities.
What if I only have one product, location or business unit?
Some organisations may only require two of these dimensions in order to review their landscape but most will apply to all our customers. It is possible that an organisation has many products covered and supported by many departments or business units, but operates from only one location. Likewise, it is also possible that one product is delivered from many locations with the support of multiple departments or business units. This is not a problem, you can just enter one item and ignore this dimension for the reporting, it will still be valuable to compare the other two when defining your assessment.
What is a business unit and how do I compile my list?
You can use the business unit entry in a number of different ways depending on how you manage your firm. Start by making a list of all the departments in your company following your organisation structure. It is a good idea to perhaps choose only the top two or three levels in the organisation rather than every single small cost centre. We recommend that you choose a level or group the list together with the aim of having a sensible target list between 8 and 20 business units, or departments in about 4 to 8 groups which follow your company structure. Do not forget to include your support functions as well as your production and sales units. Do not forget to include the IT department itself as a management unit.
If you are a large global firm you may find your best route forward is excluding all the locations and concentrating on the functions (e.g. Finance, HR), since our location view will only give location based information. If you have a large number of smaller departments in one area, perhaps grouping these into a ‘Rest of xxxx’ group or ‘other’ may also be a good idea to avoid having too long a list. Medium sized and smaller firms should have less problem finding a sensible list of 20 units. The system does not restrict your choice of groupings other than limiting the number of items you can enter, according to your price plan.
Do you have some examples that can help me structure my list?
We can give you two examples to think about and help you with your structure. Let us consider a service based company such as a travel agent and a physical goods supplier such as a clothing retailer; we have also used these examples earlier in our help manual.
As we mentioned on previous help pages, our example travel agent has a central head office, a number of regional sales offices, a regional support office for travel agents using their services, support regionally for their main holiday areas, and access for representatives in each resort. The business is organised into sales channels at the front, organising the supply chain in the middle and supporting the resorts in the back. In addition to this they also have the usual common support functions, and so we can imagine something like this for the groupings of business units:
As in previous help pages, our second example of a clothing retailer operates through two different small chains of high street shops and also has a series of concessions in larger department stores. They also have a separate dry cleaning business that was recently acquired and is being added to the portfolio. In this case the company has two head offices that are being integrated – one from the retailer and the other from the merging cleaning business, plus an internet sales depot and outlets in different towns. This would be an example way to structure the business within Strategy4IT:
1) How many business units can I enter?
This depends on your price plan – 9 for the trial version or 32 for the professional version. We advise to keep the total number under 20 for readability of the results.
2) I have too many business units for my plan what can I do?
If you are on the trial version please upgrade to the full professional version to gain more space for entry. If you are already on the professional version then you can consider grouping minor departments together – for example grouping ‘All Sales Offices’ together as in our travel example above. In grouping the items together consider if they are actually very different or not, for example, all the small departments in multiple offices you have in one area may share exactly the same systems and services. If so, it is reasonable to group them; if there are substantial differences in their IT think about sub-groupings to make the most sense for your firm. If this is proving challenging please contact us and one of our consultants will be able to guide you through the process.
3) How many business unit groups can I have?
The business units are available in groups. You may find one group is all you need if you are a smaller firm, a larger one in the extreme can have as many as eight or more groups. The only restriction is on the total number of units you can enter so please use as many groups as you need.
4) When I added/amended the group name the first business unit line changed?
We have a speed entry feature in Strategy4IT, which means when you enter a group name the first business unit is defaulted to the same name. You can simply type over the first line if it is different.
6) I want to delete a business unit I have already entered and mapped later in the workflow – can I do this?
You can delete a business unit by clicking on the red cross next to it, but any mapping data entered in step 6 will be lost when you press save.
7) I want to reorder the list – can I do this?
If you have not passed step 6 or are still on the first stage of your entry you can just type over the list to reorder. Once you have passed step 6, which maps systems to the business units, it is difficult to reorder the list in this version of Strategy4IT without deleting and re entering all units in a group. However, we will be adding a reorder feature to a future release of this tool.