How should you structure your IT team? Examples & organization charts
In the simplest terms, an IT team is a motley crew of tech experts that oversees the company’s computers and related hardware, software, and solutions. Unfortunately, that definition probably won’t suffice if you’re trying to devise an actionable business organizational chart. To make matters worse, you can’t just download an organizational chart template and apply it to your business because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
But don’t give up hope of establishing a logical hierarchy. We’ll walk you through what you should know about developing an IT organization chart and explain potential functional departments and position titles.
Common org chart models for IT departments
Most IT departments have either a functional organizational model or a matrix organization model. Both focus on projects and have a clear chain of command, but they differ slightly in their approach.
A functional structure organizes the IT team into units based on their function. This groups employees with related areas of expertise, like networking, into the same subdepartments.
The matrix structure does not follow a traditional hierarchy. Instead, each team member reports to multiple leaders. While this can promote innovation, a matrix organizational structure is inherently more complicated.
Factors to consider when structuring your IT department
Several key aspects may determine what department structure is best for your IT team. Consider these factors before drawing up your org chart:
In-house vs. outsourced
While many businesses favor an in-house IT team, others prefer to rely on a managed IT services company. Either option has potential benefits. An in-house team knows your business, gives you more control, and can often respond more quickly. However, outsourcing is often more affordable and provides enhanced off-hours support.
If you have a small business, it’s often more cost effective to outsource. However, small businesses that maintain in-house IT teams frequently hire generalists who can wear many hats. Larger teams are more often organized around functions.
Your business requirements and organizational goals may shape your departmental needs. For instance, a business that relies heavily on custom solutions will likely need a bigger engineering team than a competitor that uses exclusively off-the-shelf software.
Information technology department functions and roles
An information technology department can consist of any number of functional teams. These teams further break down into a wide array of roles.
While we’ll try to make it look as straightforward as possible, make no mistake that an IT org structure is highly complex. Each business has its own setup, which may omit certain roles, add other functions, use unique position titles, or group functional departments differently. We’ll provide a broad overview of potential functional teams and their associated roles, but it’s highly unlikely that any organization actually matches this composition.
Think of this breakdown as the equivalent of shopping on Amazon. Does it have everything you’re likely to need? Sure. But do you need everything? Definitely not. (Sorry, Bezos.)
Upper management runs the show, making the big business decisions and supervising other team leaders.
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Administration and management
The administration and management team acts as the grease that keeps the IT machine running smoothly. Team members may conduct planning, oversee project management, define the scope, review the budget, and more.
IT project manager
IT product manager
IT procurement focuses on acquiring the necessary technology resources, including hardware, software, and services. This requires reviewing contracts, negotiating terms, maintaining records, and more.
Infrastructure is relatively sweeping, combining management across hardware, software, and data.
An IT architecture team looks at how infrastructure, solutions, and services work together to find opportunities to optimize performance and reduce risk. In many cases, there is significant overlap between architecture and infrastructure teams.
Chief enterprise architect
Operations includes various positions that provide the support and technical assistance necessary to keep systems running smoothly. This may include installation, monitoring, updating, troubleshooting, and more.
IT operations director
Help desk technician
Desktop support specialist
An engineering team builds solutions for internal and/or external use. The development staff prepares software, the quality assurance (QA) staff tests it, and the business applications staff analyzes software usage and needs across the company.
IT QA manager
Business applications manager
This team may go by a number of names, including “information security,” “cybersecurity,” and “data security.” Regardless of what it is called, the common goal of each security employee is to protect data by preventing, detecting, and responding to incidents.
Information security manager
Information security engineer
Cloud security architect
Application security administrator
Data security specialist
Business intelligence leverages data to make informed business decisions. While this may seem very distinct from other IT fields, it is often grouped under the IT banner because it relies heavily on large amounts of unstructured data and effective information management.
Business intelligence (BI) manager
Business intelligence developer
Business intelligence specialist
Business analytics (BA) specialist
Data quality manager
Potential IT team org charts
While there is no standard IT team structure, these org charts can give you a starting point when developing a hierarchy for your organization.
Small IT team
A small IT team may have just a few employees. This configuration may suffice. Note that in the functional model, each administrator, engineer, and analyst reports to just one leader. In the matrix model, they may report to several.
Larger IT team
A larger IT team is likely to consist of a combination of the following career levels and associated titles. In practice, most titles are more specific than this, clarifying the function of the role. For instance, you may find titles like "systems manager" and "network architect."
Don’t have the resources to put together the robust IT team your organization needs? No org chart template can fix that problem. Instead, consider investing in high-power solutions to help your small but mighty team do more with less. PDQ Deploy and Inventory simplify the formerly time-consuming processes of patch and inventory management so that your team can focus on other projects. The PDQ blog and YouTube channel also aim to save you time by gathering sysadmin tips, tricks, and wisdom into bite-sized chunks.
Part writer, part sysadmin fangirl, Meredith gets her kicks diving into the depths of IT lore. When she's not spending quality time behind a computer screen, she's probably curled up under a blanket, silently contemplating the efficacy of napping.