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Citzar is an Information Technology Service company with core competencies in information technology consulting, integration and implementation. Delivering solutions in Information Technology Service Management (ITSM), Workplace Improvement, Integration and Information Assurance. Citzar also delivers solutions like Networking, Security, Identity management and Storage solution to customers in various sectors of economy like Banking, Oil and Gas and Insurance sectors.Citzar is in partnership with major IT manufacturers like IBM, HP, CISCO and DELL to deliver these solutions.
In 1997 the company was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. The company's strategy is to continuously fine-tune its expertise by developing assets such as best practices, methodologies, frameworks, tools and solutions.
The company has managed and delivered several high profile projects including:
A $60 million Enterprise Management and Security System project for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The implementation of a project covering Security Policy, Identity Management, VPN Provision, Network Security, Auditing and Banking Application for the Nigerian Automated Clearing System (NACS). The project was a joint project with NCR Canada and was worth $89 million.
Today Citzar Nigeria is one of the best IT organizations in Africa.
THE ASSESSMENT USING MCKINSEY'S 7S MODEL
The McKinsey's 7S Model
One of the most widely recognized business models today is the McKinsey 7S Model.
The framework examines the relationship of seven key variables (Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills), each of which are distinct yet highly interdependent.
The variables are divided into two categories, hard and soft. The Hard variables (Strategy, Structure, and System) consist of formal processes, business lines, departments, organizational charts, and strategic statements. These are generally easier to define, identify and manage. While Soft variables (Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills) are typically more difficult to define, less tangible, and easily influenced by environment and culture.
The premise of the model is that the variables must be aligned if an organization is to be effective. Misaligned variables represent organizational deficiencies relating to performance, but more importantly opportunities for corrective action. In order to determine the effectiveness of CITzar Nigeria., I will explore the 7S variables in details, as they relate to the company.
An organization's strategy is in essence their overall plan to create and maintain a competitive advantage. More specifically, it is the actionable items that an organization implements in order to achieve its objective, as well as to cope with change.
Since our society is continuously evolving, IT companies must move alongside with it. I observed that Citzar's aims are adapting to these changes in order to stay focused on their customer's wide ranging needs.
Citzar's business lines and departments are also driven by high service levels, efficiency of processes, and performance expectations.
Citzar is committed to the professional development of its employees by maintaining an environment that is conducive to ongoing education, growth and excellence.
CItzar's corporate strategy revolves around creating a better rate of return for their investors than the average of their competition. It is centered on accountability, prudence and transparency, while ensuring high levels of ethical standards.
It is clear that Citzar's strategy has positioned them well among IT companies, allowing continued pursuit of their overall growth plan.
A key issue in accomplishing the goals identified in the planning process is structuring the work of the organization. It is the extent to which the units of the organization are explicitly defined and its policies, procedures, and goals are clearly stated. An organization chart displays the organizational structure and shows job titles, lines of authority, and relationships between departments.
I observed that the company is divided into structures in which authority rests with the functional heads; the structures are divided into departmental groups.
At the top of the hierarchy, there is the Chief Executive Officer. Below that level is the Chief Operating Officer. These two collectively make strategic decisions for the company. Next level is the Vice Presidents of different departments like Information Technology, Sales & Marketing, HR & Administration, and Finance. Different departments have different levels thereon. The structure is displayed in the following organization chart. (Exhibit 1).
It is evident from the chart that the organization is functionally structured in which authority rests with the functional heads (VPs); the structure is sectioned by departmental groups.
I observed that there are some shortcomings that can reduce the efficiency of the complete system.
Coordination of functional tasks is difficult. For example when the IT team and the people from sales department sit together for discussions, the coordination between them becomes difficult as the sales team look for the profits in the project whereas the technical team looks for the feasibility of the project.
The decision making is centralized as well as decentralized. The strategic decisions are taken by the CEO, COO and the VPs of different departments, whereas the decisions for day-to-day operations are taken by the corresponding managers.
These are the daily inner workings that support the strategy and structure of an organization. They take the form of processes and procedures (formal and informal) and range from workflows to sales techniques. These may be the HR System, Admin system, Financial System, Technical system, document storage. Citzar has all these systems and all of them are in place and doing a good job so no change is required. All these systems are monitored by a command centre which has different teams who look after these systems, their functioning and maintenance.
4. Shared Values:
These are the core values of the company that are evidenced in the corporate culture and the general work ethic. These are the values and beliefs of the company. Ultimately they guide employees towards valued' behavior.
a. I observed that the company's culture is very free and friendly; teams are given the target dates for the tasks. But there is no restriction of timings i.e. an employee can personalize his working hours a bit and finish the work. Dress code is very casual. Team work is encouraged, every weekend there is a small get-together and a big party is thrown by the manager after the successful completion of the project.
b. Understandably, the value of an ethics code is usually discussed in terms of how much it will help reduce your organization's risk of ethics problems and all the costs related to those problems.
c. The company fundamental values are build on Innovative and creative, respecting colleagues, looking always for improvement and positive change, constantly driven to improve our performance.
An organization's style is better described as its culture. These are the underlying norms, beliefs and values that develop over time, and serve as a frame of reference for the employees. The positive correlation between Style and Shared values is apparent as they tend to overlap. I observed that the management style of the co-owner/ general manager basically evolved around his own values and character. It is extremely centralized, very hierarchal and directive. Risk-taking is strictly not allowed. The managers, especially sales and marketing, are very reactive to market trends and competitors moves. Imitation is favored over innovation. In short, managers should stick to whatever worked in the past. Teamwork does not exist since all managers are trying to cover themselves within a blaming culture. Although the co-owner/ general manager always encourages his staff to work as a team, however, the structure and the systems in place acts as continuous sources of power conflicts and evading accountabilities. The managers were almost like consultants; they advised the general manager of what to do and the final decision rested only with him
Staff is the group of employees and their general capabilities as a whole.
Organizations are made up of people who differ in age, gender, ethnicity, and abilities. Such diversity in an organization's human capital is necessary in order to be competitive in the global marketplace.
a. Team is composed of account manager, project manager, project leader, team/module leader and developers. Account managers take care of billing rates, schedule and delivery of the project. Project managers have the whole view of the project; they have the business as well as technical knowledge. They monitor the project through team leader and decide the scheduling or rescheduling of the project. Team leaders monitor the tasks of each developer and help them technically. Developers do the real development and testing of the assigned tasks.
b. Most of the time developers, who only have the technical know-how, lack the business knowledge in the development and their tasks get delayed for these small issues. I will introduce a trainer from the client who has the business knowledge and can teach developers the real requirement what end users need, so that the tasks can be finished on time and they are good quality wise also.
c. Gaps are definitely there in the required competencies. The technical experts lag in business policies and the business analysts do not have a satisfactory amount of technical knowledge. Also there are communication gaps between client and the project team..
Distinctive capabilities of personnel or of the organization as a whole are its skills. These are the special abilities which distinguish the company from others in the same line. This company has the expertise in its banking software which is widely used by lot of clients.
a. Company's strongest skills are in information technology. They are able to provide any kind of solution for businesses like Banking, Insurance etc.. They provide onsite support for the insurance companies by deputing their technical persons at client's place.
Skills are continuously monitored as the project development goes on through a point system. People have various appraisals through which they are judged. Persons who perform well are duly rewarded in terms of a raise or promotion or just incentives depending on his performance.
Summary of Assessment
Based on the above assessment, Citzar operates in a manner that is effective. Definitive objectives are set, and not communicated throughout all organizational levels. The environment does not promote innovation and growth, which will not drive performance. With any organization as large and as complex as Citzar however, it is nearly impossible to avoid some of the pitfalls that were discussed
The Action Plan
To be effective, our company must have a high degree of fit or internal alignment among all 7Ss. Each S must be consistent with and reinforce the other Ss. All Ss are interrelated, so a change in one has a ripple effect on all the others.
Therefore, Citzar needs to revisit the 7Ss in an attempt to boost its performance and to gain competitive advantages to help Citzar survive in this competitive IT market.
To engage the company's stakeholders in redefining the company mission and strategies, so that we can reposition the company to the changing environment. This can be achieved by following procedures.
Understanding the plans for the allocation of firm's resources to reach identified goals.
b. I will facilitate a brain storming session that include all shareholders and the management team to identify the company mission and agree on the company's strategic goals.
c. Analyzing the approaches undertaken in order to maintain its share of clients in the market and going for expansion in the domain of other competitors.
d. Follow up on client after servicing them.
A major modification to the company structure is needed to effectively execute the company strategies and to address issues like the power conflicts, the lack of accountability as a direct result of not clarifying roles and responsibilities and mainly to build a solid ground for team working.
As seen in (exhibit 1), Citzar has a very centralized and also decentralized, function based structure. The current structure, as has been mentioned earlier, causes distortions that affect other compasses' needles by being.
I suggest a new organization chart as seen in (exhibit 2)
This new structure will address as explained in (exhibit 2) will address mentioned issues that causes the other Citzar compasses' needles to misalign.
One of the strengths of the company is its IT Technical &Infrastructure unit. We need to build upon it and to support it with other management systems. An important and urgent one is a Manual of Authority to complement the restructuring initiative of the quick win. The manual will help the shareholders and me in assigning responsibilities to managers and empower them to take the needed decisions to achieve the company's agreed goals. Other important management systems like remuneration, performance appraisal, business performance reporting and internal audit are crucial to insure that staff is motivated and that business processes are being monitored and evaluated constantly.
The blaming culture will be substituted by accepting accountabilities culture after the implementation of the restructuring that will clarify roles and the introduction of the management systems -namely the manual of authority- which will empower managers to take calculated risks. This will also result in a more team approach behavior from managers; this will be done through the drawing of the departments' boundaries and the unity of command which will reduce power conflicts.
5. Shared Values
Customer focus, teamwork, and accountability should be anchored if the company is to compete within an ever diversified economy.
Conducting training programs for different departments in order to fill the competency gaps
Improving communication channels throughout organization.
Creating transparency between the departments.
There is need for an up-to-date poll of skills within the company to compete within the market; the company should embark on a campaign of training, redeployment and attracting new recruits. Only this will ensure the survival of any company within this fast moving work environment.
In addition I will recommend the following
Conducting training programs for different departments in order to fill the competency gaps.
Easing the coordination of functional tasks across departments.
Involving technical experts also while making a business deal regarding undertaking of the project so that the feasibility of the project can be rightly assessed.
Improving communication channels throughout organization.
Secondly, Am going to use this is a period to inspire employees. This would include reaffirming the importance of their individual roles, and instilling confidence, dedication, and continued motivation. I will also focus my efforts on the functional divisions of the company as opposed to the business and corporate areas.
For example, I will focus on updating HR policies, ensuring efficiency in organizational reward system so that it can motivate, retain and attracts the best brain in the industry. In addition, relationships with my former co-workers will no doubt be affected. They would no longer simply be my colleagues, but rather individuals who ultimately report to me.
Finally am going to employ the service of an external consultant to assess the company organizational structure and then compare the result with my own discovery.