Hewitt's IT workers flourish in unusual niches

Non-traditional positions at this HR outsourcer help build motivation, self-esteem, and job satisfaction by giving IT specialists a clear sense of the roles they play within the organization.

While its IT people handle the same responsibilities as those in many other organizations, human resources outsourcer Hewitt Associates' IT slate also includes some non-traditional positions, says Tim Hilgenberg, chief technology strategist for Hewitt's Line of Business group.

Unusual job titles such as chief technology strategist, technical architect, and enterprise architect seem to help build motivation, self-esteem, and job satisfaction by giving IT specialists a clear sense of the roles they play within the organization.

At Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Hewitt, IT functions are managed by two groups: Line of Business (LOB) and IT Infrastructure. The IT Infrastructure group is responsible for hosting operations, while production client support falls into the realm of the LOB group. The LOB group also includes client delivery and human factors teams.

As chief technology strategist for Hewitt's LOB group, Hilgenberg works closely with Greg Kozak, his counterpart in the IT Infrastructure group. "We share information, and even team members," Hilgenberg says.

"My own role is to monitor the latest technology trends, and to determine whether they can have a positive business impact on our lines of business. Once a technology is identified, I then have overall responsibility for managing R&D, architecture, and solution delivery," Hilgenberg says.

Aside from chief technology strategist, other roles within the technology strategy teams include enterprise architect and technical architect. The enterprise and technical architects help the chief technology strategists to identify, evaluate, and deploy new technologies for LOB units and outside customers, according to Hilgenberg. "The enterprise architect plays the role of a more senior system architect, and has broader responsibilities across the enterprise," he adds.

"The technology strategy teams, which can be made up of members of one or both groups, are responsible for understanding the business problem, and for looking for new technologies to meet the problem. We build the software," says Hilgenberg. "We then turn it over to client delivery teams in the LOB group for external deployment, and to our operations people in the IT Infrastructure group, and our call-center representatives for use in internal applications."

Often, members of the technology strategy, client delivery, human factors, and client delivery teams work together on project teams. "After the project is complete, team members roll off on to other projects," he says. The tenure of the project team varies according to the complexity of the project. For example, the Plan Sponsor Site team was together for nine months. Some projects are lengthier, and others are briefer.

"In deploying our Plan Sponsor Site portal, the human factors group within our group worked out the visuals, to make sure the software appeared uniform to users," Hilgenberg says, while the client delivery team distributed report templates that are modifiable by customers. For instance, "where one customer uses 'departments,' another might use 'divisions,' so customers can modify the software accordingly," he says.