Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #96: Three Aspects of IT Digital Transformation

As IT leaders, the goal in IT management should be focused on business outcomes.

Nowadays, information is the lifeblood and technologies are innovation engine, IT plays an unprecedented role in business’s digital transformation. Or some say that the transformational tag is being used by many as part of a management fad without truly grasping its meaning. Either way, from an IT management perspective, are CIOs seizing the opportunity to support the organization to transform into the digital way to carries out its business? Will the desire to clamber after the latest technology trend that either professes to provide tremendous saving or the implementation of the new version of the software that will wash away the suboptimal processes, be too seductive? And how should IT be able to integrate all those different views, goals and paradigms into one solid and future proof IT landscape.

Three “I”s - Interpret, Investigate, and Integrate: It’s IT’s main task to interpret, investigate, integrate the views of the fellow board members and business executives. IT leaders feel more comfortable getting things done, advancing initiatives, and for some reason, taking the time to communicate about those things doesn't feel as productive. More IT leaders should realize that communicating the concepts of technology on the groups they influence and the companies they empower is one of the most productive uses of their time. The simplest way of helping to communicate and collaborate this is to employ socio-technical systems thinking approach. Don’t isolate yourself in the realm of technology, open up and look at the business holistically, including the business goals, culture, talent management etc. By following this, CIOs can really help to implement real transformational change, not just new shiny things or the latest technology gadget.

Focus on business outcomes: Technology alone only introduces complexity and frustration. While CIOs need to be prepared to invest in the future, they cannot ignore the benefits of properly leveraging what already exists. As IT leaders, the goal in this regard should be focused on business outcomes. For every IT project, which is also business initiative, they see the potential business impact and make it personal. There are too many large-scale transformational programs based on the introduction of new technology either run for years will little progress towards the original goals or hailed as a tremendous success only to never be accepted into the Line of Business departments. The industry statistics highlights that greater than 40% failure rate of IT projects. Therefore, IT must shift from doing Agile (just adopt the methodology to run a project) to being agile (apply agile philosophy to strategic planning, change management, talent management and culture management, etc), and focus on the business outcome, rather than just overcoming technology challenges.

Transparency can be a double-edged sword: Digital technology makes the world more open and transparent than ever, at the individual level, the personal life, and professional life of employees are blurring, your digital footprint becomes an integral part of “Who you are.” At the organizational level, businesses are always on and hyper-connected, there is no shortcut, transparency is a must. But the word of caution: Transparency can be a double edge sword if the audience doesn't understand and embrace the intent in the right spirit. People use the information to push their personal agenda forward, and that could cause some extra work. Transparency is gaining in popularity as a component of leadership, but in uncertain times, the concept is complicated by managing paradoxes. How do you manage to not give away your plans to the competition while ensuring your consumers stay loyal? How would you tackle this if you were running fresh and easy? Transparency with LOB leaders is a must and non-negotiable if CIOs need to be successful. What and how is the trick, can be mastered. But the intent behind transparency should always be connected to business performance. That is the key - no tricks needed. CIOs will spend time with executives one on one to explain the shift in thinking and ask for their help and guidance. Most of the time, these executives will help you row the boat. Transparency can help IT leaders tell a story; of the journey from current state to future state, of improvements, of accomplishments, of alignment with business strategies, etc. It's definitely a great core competency to leverage.

Digital transformation starts with mind shift, business value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization. This is accomplished by establishing strong interdependent relationships, the shared vision, and wisdom, the frictionless 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.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:


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