The Matrix Management Structure

Organizations exploit matrix management in various ways. A company, for instance, that operates globally uses it at larger scale by giving consistent products to various countries internationally. A business entity, having many products, does not assign its people to each product full-time but assign those to different ones on a part time basis, instead. And when it comes to delivering high quality and low cost products, companies overcome industry pressures with the help of many overseeing managers. In a rapidly changing environment, organizations respond quickly by sharing information through a matrix model.

Understanding the Matrix Management Structure

A basic understanding of matrix management starts with the three key roles and responsibilities that applies in the structure.

  • Matrix Leader ? The common person above all the matrix bosses is the matrix leader. He ensures that the balance of power is maintained in the entire organization by delegating decisions and promoting collaboration among the people.
  • Matrix Managers ? The managers cooperate with each other by defining the respective activities that they are responsible for.
  • Matrix Employees – The employees have lesser direct authority but has more responsibilities. They resolve differing demands from more than one matrix managers while they work things out upwards. Their loyalty must be dual and their relationships with managers must be maintained.

Characteristics of a Matrix Structure

Here are some features that define the matrix management structure:

  • Hybrid Structure ?The matrix structure is a mix of functional and project organization. Since it is a combination of these two, matrix management is hybrid in nature.
  • Functional Manager ? When it comes to the technical phases of the project, the functional manager assumes responsibility. The manager decides on how to get the project done, delegates the tasks to the subordinates and oversees the operational parts of the organization.
  • Project Manager ? The project manager has full authority in the administrative phases, including the physical and financial resources needed to complete the project. The responsibilities of a project manager comprise deciding on what to do, scheduling the work, coordinating the activities to diverse functions and evaluating over-all project performance.
  • Specialization ?As the functional managers concentrate on the technical factors, the project managers focus on administrative ones. Thus, in matrix management, there is specialization.
  • Challenge in Unity of Command ? Companies that employs matrix management usually experience a problem when it comes to the unity of command. This is largely due to the conflicting orders from the functional and project managers.

Types of Matrix Structure

The matrix management structure can be classified according to the level of power of the project manager. Here are three distinct types of matrix structures that are widely used by organizations.

  • Weak Matrix ? The project manager has limited authority and power as the functional manager controls the budget of the project. His role is only part-time and more like a coordinator.
  • Strong Matrix ? Here, the project manager has almost all the authority and power. He controls the budget, holds the full time administrative project management and has a full time role.
  • Balanced Matrix ? In this structure type, both the project and functional managers control the budget of the project. The authority and power is shared by the two as well. Although the project manager has a full time role, he only has a part time authority for the administrative staff to report under his leadership.

Successful companies of today venture more on enhancing the abilities, skills, behavior and performances of their managers than the pursuit of finding the best physical structure. Indeed, learning the fundamentals of the matrix structure is essential to maximize its efficiency. A senior executive pointed out that one of the challenges in matrix management is not more of building a structure but in creating the matrix to the mind of the managers. This comes to say that matrix management is not just about the structure, it is a frame in the mind.

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Business Turnaround Tip for a Successful MBO Turned Awry

When you acquire a company through an MBO, your hopes are always high. You know the business more than anyone else and you’ve got too much at stake to do a sloppy job. So how could things go wrong? Well sometimes they do. And if you don’t make a quick business turnaround, you could end up losing more than just your company.

If that management buyout was financed by a bank, then chances are you were required to invest a sizeable amount from your own pockets. I won’t be surprised if you even remortgaged your house for it.

Regardless of your source of funding, whether it was a bank, a venture capitalist or through a deferred consideration, the mere thought of losing your job and getting buried in enormous debt at the same time might be too much to bear. If you get too overwhelmed by your emotions and can’t think clearly, you’ll have to step out of the driver?s seat and have someone take over.

That someone can’t be a member of the management team that took part in the management buyout. Like you, he/she might be in panic mode as well. You need someone from the outside who has no emotional attachments to the company and hence can view the crisis from a clear perspective.

Here’s what’s needed:

Review and Plan

Take a closer look at all factors affecting your business: governance and organisational structures, employees, suppliers, systems and procedures, roles and responsibilities, etc. Identify potential risks and assess the likelihood of them affecting your business.

This will give a clearer picture of cause-and-effect relationships as well as the specific tasks on hand.

Thus, when it is time to draft a plan, you can do so from a well-informed standpoint. This will enable you to target specific areas of improvement and avoid pointless activities.

Assure all stakeholders

Once a watertight plan has been formulated, you will have to approach your stakeholders. They?ll need to know what your directions are. Once they’re all sold on the plan, you could implement our strategies unimpeded.

This is a very crucial part because a sceptical stakeholder can serve as a major stumbling block in our efforts to improve the situation. You need to convince your banks, sponsors, and investors in order to avoid additional financial obstacles. You need to convince your suppliers too. If they cut off or limit supply, you won’t be able to continue doing business.

Most of all, you need to persuade your staff and employees that the proposed major changes have to be carried out in order for the company to survive. You can’t run your operations without them on board.

Redesign and set up new systems and procedures

Any company requiring a turnaround will certainly have systems and procedures that are no longer working well in the current conditions and hence would require either major changes in key areas or a total revamp. You need to study personnel roles and responsibilities as well as systems and processes, including financial and IT systems, and supervise the implementation of necessary changes.

You will need to evaluate your existing IT architecture and determine how you can best maximise what you already have and propose what you think will work more efficiently for our proposed systems and procedures. Every piece of hardware or software recommended will take into consideration your present resources. There are many solutions out there, you just need to find the best fit.

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Convert visits to sales to repeat purchases

The moment you start seeing more than a thousand unique visitors in just one day, we won’t be surprised if you’d be grinning ear to ear the entire week. But when weeks turn into months, you’ll then remember why you started off on this venture in the first place … and it wasn’t about just owning an immensely popular website.

People, like you, who’ve chosen to invest in eCommerce were most likely thinking along the lines of great ROI, revenues, and profits. Now that you have thousands of visitors, how would you like to have, say for a start, 1% of them buying the products on your site?

You know more about your own product prices; you do the math. But what might really interest you is that a slight change in that 1% conversion rate can already spell a big difference in your profits. Now imagine bringing that 1% up to at least 10%. That’s possible, but not if you simply rely on guesswork.

We rely on tests applicable to complex multi-variable systems, just like today’s typical eCommerce websites, in determining which combination of copy text, landing page images, form layouts, and background colours generate higher conversion rates.

Here’s how we’ll convert your visitors into buyers:

  • We’ll conduct A/B or even multivariate tests on your eCommerce website, thus eliminating guesswork in determining how to increase those conversion rates.
  • We’ll perform on-site and off-site web analytics to gain a deeper understanding of web usage to aid in our optimisation operations.
  • Through our expertise in copywriting, graphics and web designing, UI designing, and website QA, we can enhance and fine tune your site to give each visitor a uniquely engaging browsing experience.
  • We can also integrate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems so that you’ll have the technical advantage to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers.
Reduce Cost and Improve Productivity

Whether the economy is in a downturn or not, management will always aim for a more cost effective IT solution. If your current IT infrastructure is hurting your profitability, our expertise is both ‘tested and proven”.? Also “bleeding edge” solutions in the industry will enable us to find inexpensive alternatives for you.

For instance, have you started to wonder whether having a constantly growing number of servers, many of which are underutilised, is really the norm? Well, that used to be the case. However, with the advent of virtualisation and replication, that expensive exercise is steadily becoming a thing of the past.

By implementing solutions powered by these two technologies, organisations can now manage excess storage capacities and hardware resources by performing simpler processes at lesser costs. In addition to that, using the same pair of technologies, companies can also decrease the downtime suffered during maintenance and upgrades.

Thus, at the end of the day, not only do companies stand to reduce expenditures, they can also boost revenues as a result of increased productivity time.

Do we still have other IT solutions that tackle a different set of problems but arrive at the same outcome, i.e. reduced costs + improved productivity = higher profits? You bet we do.

Basically, this is how we’ll help your company arrive at the same winning formula:

  • Provide insights as to where and when changes have to be made. Oftentimes, initiatives to reduce cost and improve productivity are not preceded by the appropriate study especially as with regards to their impact on all departments in the organisation. This usually results in unnecessary duplication of resources, a sure way to increase costs instead.
  • Consolidate and automate. We’ll work within your budget in finding ways to consolidate your applications, hardware, storage, databases, and processes. Then we’ll integrate automation practices to simplify management and maintenance of all these assets. This will substantially free not only your IT infrastructure but also your IT staff, giving them more opportunities to innovate.
  • Create an innovative environment. One of the benefits you gain in having room to innovate is the potential to discover new ways to drive costs even further. A fraction of your savings can then be used to develop even better IT solutions, thus creating a productive cycle: IT solutions > savings and innovation > better IT solutions. Our role is to help you harness your potentials to keep that cycle running.
  • Work to reduce carbon footprint in all your procedures. By ensuring that energy consumption is brought to a minimum in every step you take, you can rest assured that costs have only one way to go – down. Check out our Energy Management Software ecoVaro.

Find out how we can increase your efficiency even more:

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