Improving strategy through organizational design


in I.T. consulting firms



By Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico

Our days are pretty common to listen to questions such as defining strategy, having a strategy set of minds, making strategical decisions, etc. This type of terminology is expected in the business arena; however, when the concept of strategy realizes its importance, it becomes revealed that the idea is highly discussed and poorly understood.

A strategy is concerned with the creation and direction, alignment, and commitment needed to achieve the enduring performance potential of the organization. The strategy could be understood in two different but complementary aspects: thinking or conceptualizing and making the strategy. In other words, it is to determine the course of action that the organization should take according to its vision, mission, and goals that allow the organization to succeed and to endure.

On the other hand, there is implementing the decided strategical way, designing the structure, process, people, and incentives to help the strategy go live. It is when it becomes mandatory to implement the best possible way that is already decided regarding strategy. So together, we find a model of organizational design.

When it comes to I.T. consulting firms, organizational design is equally relevant to any other type of business with the difference that I.T. exists in a wholly volatile and constantly changing market. Innovation is crucial in the sector and has marked the industry and somehow the survival and success of the companies. Consulting firms evolve in the knowledge field, is what they sell, and what is focused on. So, both aspects make them unique, and it will be the focus of this paper.

The beginning

The first step before getting into the model of organizational design suggested by Burton, Obel & Håkonsson (2015) is to understand what the organization does and what the goals are searching for. The importance is to be aligned with the mission, vision, and organizational values that might vary from entity to entity. I.T. consulting firms, in general, have a core mission to benefit others from the use of the specific technology they develop, manufacture, use or recommend.

When discussing a consulting firm, the primary product is a service offered ideally with the best-qualified professionals who know the recommended technology. That will help the customer move to the next level in whatever needs they might have. So, an I.T. consulting firm should have in their mission, vision, and goals the aspects that deliver others the best technology possible at the moment with the best potential technicians or I.T. professionals.

Organizations in this industry have to review where they have located regarding goals, either efficiency or effectiveness oriented or even better in this sector, it is necessary to have focused on both aspects. Firms in this quadrant confront competitive, complex, and volatile environments that require both product innovations and low cost to compete successfully. Both high efficiency and high effectiveness will demand high information processing capacity. But the means to create the ability are very different. I.T. consulting organizations should leverage their knowledge and I.T. practices to implement efficiency/effectiveness goals better.

Assessing Strategy


Burton et al. have stated that, as mentioned, a strategy is the operationalization of the firm’s goals and efficiency and or effectiveness; and the structure is the means to achieve them. Achieving high performance in business results from establishing and maintaining a fit among three elements: the strategy of the firm, its organizational design, and the environment in which it operates. (Roberts, 2004).

Reviewing the organization’s strategy should be aligned with the organization’s goals, whether it becomes a reactor, defender, prospector, or analyzer without or with innovation.  The I.T. industry is, by definition, an industry focused on innovation, an exploration strategy type of industry-focused on discovering new products or new ways of doing things, improving current outcomes, enhancing features, etcetera. At the same time as searching for new ideas, the industry mandates to exploit what is already developed and working fine in the market, either an actual product or service and profit it for at least some years.


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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2021).  Improving strategy through organizational design in I.T. consulting firms; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XI, November.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/pmwj111-Nov2021-Larios-improving-strategy-through-organizational-design.pdf

About the Author

Angelica Larios, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico


Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as an I.T. director and a business manager for several Mexican firms.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral candidate in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA; she has been a volunteer since 2007, starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President, and in several positions within PMI (CMAG, VBAC, EMAG ) that supports the PMI Global Operations. Angelica has been elected as a member of BOD of the ILA (International Leadership Association) (2021-2024).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com

To view other works by Angelica Larios, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/angelica-larios/.