CKC - Digital / IT Organization & Operating Model Consulting

We recognize ourselves as a "hidden champion" for digital / IT organization development and, in particular, for operating model development. Christian Kaliauer has worked with various clients in different scenarios and industries. While each engagement represented an individual setting, he was able to identify patterns and experimented with different approaches tailored to the specific situation, goals, and stakeholder involvement. In the start phase of CKC, he developed the CKC digital / IT operating model framework intended as a meta framework. The framework represents the essence of how a digital / IT operating model development can be comprehensively structured to develop your digital / IT organization.

Utilizing this Meta Framework brings the Following Benefits to Our Clients

  • An experience-based and reality-proofed framework, supporting your specific digital / IT organization project.

  • A leitmotif to identify a manageable set of focus points and priorities to develop your digital / IT organization.

  • A checklist to discuss potential consequences of (un)intentionally missed aspects in your specific digital / IT organization project.

  • A foundation to jointly fine-tune the approach for your digital / IT organization project.

Let's dive into the CKC Digital / IT Operating Model Meta Framework

The digital / IT operating model
describes the digital / IT function as a whole
in an integrated high-level form
how to best act as an organization
to enable and support the overall business model
governance, leadership, management, change and run aspects
as well as interactions
with other corporate functions, top-management, vendors and partners
from the perspective of the digital / IT function.


Consequently, applying digital / IT operating model thinking allows you to design and plan your digital / IT organization holistically to meet your strategic, tactical, and operational organization development goals. We apply it as a meta model:

  • to align organization theories and related management practices
  • which focus on particular individual aspects such as
    • organizational structure design
    • lines of reporting design
    • governance concepts
    • management & leadership development
    • process frameworks (e.g., ITIL processes)
    • up to concepts in the areas of agile, lean, and systems theory
  • tailored to your particular corporate context, with key elements such as
    • overall corporate and digital / IT  strategy
    • enterprise and IT architecture
    • digital / IT sourcing mix
    • geographical circumstances
    • cultural circumstances

CKC - Digital IT Operating Model Framework with 8 dimensions

To reach your goals, our digital / IT operating model meta framework is structured in eight fundamental dimensions:

  • Digital / IT Products & Services (PS)
  • Digital / IT Organization & Structure (OS)
  • Digital / IT Governance & Major Decision Taking (GD)
  • Digital / IT Processes & Methods (PM)
  • Digital / IT Architecture & Technologies (AT)
  • Digital / IT Sourcing & Geography (SG)
  • Digital / IT People, Roles & Culture (PC)
  • Digital / IT KPIs & Reporting (KR)

To design and plan your digital / IT organization holistically our meta framework is structured in eight disciplines with distinct focal points:

CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the first dimensionDigital / IT Products & Services
• Value definition
• Value streams of the organization
• Delivered products / services / solutions
• Portfolio management & quality


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the second dimensionDigital / IT Organization & Structure
• Organizational principles & capabilities
• Organization (design) guidelines
• Organizational structure
• Team compositions & interaction logic


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the third dimensionDigital / IT Governance & Major Decision Taking
• Governance principles
• Governance (design) guidelines
• Governance structure
• Interaction with corporate governance


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the fourth dimensionDigital / IT Processes & Methods
• Principles & priorities
• Frameworks & methods selection
• High-level SDLC E2E mapping
• Key processes & interfaces mapping


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the fifth dimensionDigital / IT Architecture & Technologies
• Architecture principles & priorities
• Architecture & technologies ambition levels
• Tech-stacks / as-is / to-be / quantifications
• Further organization implications


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the sixth dimensionDigital / IT Sourcing & Geography
• Sourcing principles & priorities
• Collaboration & Interaction model
• Sourcing / as-is / to-be / quantifications
• Sourcing management capabilities


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the seventh dimensionDigital / IT People, Roles & Culture
• Principles & priorities
• Roles & positions framework
• Career & compensation framework
• Change Management & further HR topics


CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework with the eighth dimensionDigital / IT KPIs & Reporting
• Principles & priorities
• KPI Framework
• Budgeting & reporting corner stones
• Alignment with corporate & peer expecations

Generally, we encounter two primary settings where we apply the digital / IT operating model framework to develop the overall organization:

  • As part of an overall strategy development process in the corporation, to develop the digital / IT organization-related strategic aspects and to provide corresponding input to the strategic roadmap (a)
  • Stand-alone when significant change is considered for the digital / IT organization due to specific triggers (b)

The CKC Digital IT Operating Model Framework can be stand-alone or embedded in the overall strategy process.

Within these two primary settings, typical project scenarios and priorities emerge, such as:

  • Rethinking and reorganizing the organization results - among other things - in a new organizational structure, typically triggered by
    • CIO / CDO leadership change
    • Switching overall organization principles (e.g., centralization level, plan/build/run structure, bi-modal structure, multi-speed IT structure, cloud transformation, leadership style, etc.)
    • Rotating towards a product-oriented organization
    • Moving towards an agile organization (at least in parts)
    • Streamlining the management structure
    • Post-merger-integration and management consolidation of geographical organization units
    • Aligning with overall corporate changes in structure and priorities
    • Other strategic triggers
  • Major sourcing changes impacting the operating model (e.g., insourcing, outsourcing, cloud transformation)
  • Major planned changes in the overall enterprise / IT architecture
  • Follow-up analysis of an occurred major security incident reveals overall organizational shortcomings
  • Realigning the digital / IT organization after very strong growth (or shrink-down) periods of the overall corporation
  • Introducing or significant rethinking of IT service management
  • Proactively tackling strong and consistent dissatisfaction of important peers and stakeholders with the digital / IT function

If you are in a similar situation and want to develop your digital / IT organization, feel free to contact us.

Q: Do I have to work through all eight dimensions in my operating model project (I fear the complexity)?

CKC: It is essential to set clear priorities at the beginning of the project, depending on your goals and triggers. So you typically concentrate on a few dimensions. Still, the comprehensive set of dimensions allows checking against potential dependencies and blind spots during the project. Furthermore, it will enable a more solid target operating model deliverable and helps when planning the implementation approach and next steps.

Q: What is a proper level of detail in my project for a specific dimension of the digital / IT operating model?

CKC: This will very much depend on your specific setting. We like to apply the principle "as little detail as possible; as much detail as required." This principle allows to concentrate on the essential pieces, keeps project efforts under control, and allows for progress towards implementation.

Q: What happens after the development of our target digital / IT operating model? Do you support the implementation process as well?

CKC: This is an excellent question and typically very specific to your situation and environment. You should ask and (re-)answer this question early on in your project and at particular milestones. It is not uncommon that this answer is evolving over time.

We want to point out a couple of key points that we view as important:

  • We like to work with an active and well-selected core team from your side during a digital / IT operating model project. The more this team is involved and the more it works out certain operating model elements (in collaboration with us) - the more this team will buy into the target operating model and act as multiplier and leader(s) for the implementation.
  • To further improve this approach: After completing the design of your target digital / IT operating model, it might be an interesting option to enter a phase of executive coaching personally performed by Christian Kaliauer for one or more executives at your side. This way, implementation leader(s) have a protected room to discuss current progress, challenges, solution options, risks, and eventual near / mid / long term effects.
  • In the past, we have seen the full spectrum of implementation approaches. From driving it 100% by the digital / IT management team to heavily engaging internal or external change professionals. We are happy to have an exchange of thoughts on your situation and circumstances.