Monday, May 4, 2015

Radical Digital: Is IT Ready

IT can orchestrate all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, to orchestrate a digital symphony.

Many organizations are on the journey of "digital transformation." What does "digital" mean? What does it include? What does "transformation" mean? What and how do they uniquely provide benefits to people, groups, and organizations?  So, perhaps more importantly, whether one believes that the current experience is a transformation or just an extension of the past, what are the things that you can do as IT (or non-IT) leaders to leverage the experiences of the past, and what are some new lessons for you to consider?

Literally transformation is to radically change the nature of something. So digital transformation is a radical change of business, from hard process to capability; from soft culture to mind shift. There are at least four things that are different from “business as usual”: (1) First, optimization: pervasive digitization requires both business and technology professionals to rethink how things are done in organizations. The “reach and range” flexibility that now exists removes barriers that have existed in the past. (2) Second, IT consumerization: business professionals request IT to think about the opportunities made available by pervasive digitization and provide the similar technologies or tools that they use in their personal life. (3) Third, design options: media and platform choices will matter more than ever with an increasing ease of translating content across media types and the ease of migrating across platforms. How, this cornucopia of design options is exploited and managed thus becomes a crucial factor in an organization's success in producing digitized products and services. (4) Finally, Speed: the emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern, even with an exponential speed, as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases.

IT can reframe business processes to keep ideas flow and implemented: Digital catalyzes the culture of innovation due to the convenience of learning and sharing. How these ideas are recognized, filtered and dealt with well become a crucial factor in an organization's success in producing digitized products and services. What should IT organizations do to drive radical digital transformation? Much of what you have learned over the past three decades about planning, funding, designing, building, operating, securing and managing digitized data/documents/ messages and digitized business processes applies today and becomes, even more, critical to the organization's successes. But IT can play even bigger role in re-framing of business planning processes in order (who participates, how often, allowing creativity and innovation to flow, identifying technology as well as business risks, etc.) along with re-framing of in-place processes that filter and fund investments, both business-oriented and technology-oriented. IT can empower employees to use technology to perform their work in a way that benefited the enterprise. The pervasive digitization means "reduced the time to knowledge." People and organizations could now learn faster in a time when leading strategists were arguing that the only sustainable advantage was to learn faster than your competition.

IT plays the significant role to weave all necessary elements together to orchestrate a digital transformation symphony: What we are seeing now is the further extension of these earlier phases of computing. We have more computing power, greater connectivity, more data, greater potential empowerment of the worker, etc. The advent of the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) technologies and the growing increase in IT revenue generating initiatives around the globe; the impact of today’s technologies (and their integration with the other new technologies, and like in the past the integration with “older” technologies) seems to be more profound, especially given the concurrent ecosystem changes going on. Technology abundance is not for its own sake, but to solve either business problems or human challenges. Hence, IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, also, leverage necessary resources to solve them. And more broadly, IT can weave all necessary business elements, either hard or soft, to orchestrate a digital symphony.

Digital transformation starts with mind-shift, business value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization. This is accomplished through establishing strong interdependent relationships, the shared vision and wisdom, the friction-less business culture, the re-framed processes to bridge silo, and the optimal sets of business capabilities to delight customers, IT is an enabler and catalyzer for business to reach the era of radical digital.


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