November 15, 2006

Organizational Structure, And Silos

A colleague proposed to me that businesses should organize their employees around customers, not products or channels. Instead of executives leading online or catalog channels, or merchandise divisions, you have executives leading customer segments. This person believes that multichannel problems caused by silos are eliminated in this situation.

Do you agree with this hypothesis?

Assume that the online/catalog electronics business featured below is successful, and the employees are meeting or exceeding job expectations. How would you re-assign these individuals to positions that support the customer, not products or channels?


President / Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
    • Director, Accounting
    • Director, Budgeting
    • Director, Operations & Fulfillment
  • Vice President, Human Resources
    • Director, Recruiting
    • Director, Employee Retention
  • Vice President, Catalog Division
    • Director, Circulation/Marketing
    • Director, Creative Services
    • Director, Print Production
  • Vice President, Online Division
    • Director, Online Marketing and Search
    • Director, Web Production
    • Director, Web Analytics
    • Director, Brand Marketing
  • Vice President, Merchandising
    • Director, Computers and Accessories
    • Director, Audio/Video
    • Director, Digital Audio Players and Accessories
    • Director, Entertainment
  • Vice President, Information Technology
    • Director, Website Maintenance
    • Director, Fulfillment Systems
    • Director, Business Intelligence and Reporting

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