Thursday, October 15, 2015

Three “C”s in Running a Digital IT

IT management needs to put emphasis on these “C” words and be driven by concepts like collaborative value or collective advantage and multi-layer ROIs.

At industrial age, IT is often considered as maintenance department and cost center, which lenses do you take to look into IT depends on the senior executives’ perspectives, background, and the organization’s culture as well. With the emergent digital era, many IT organizations are at turning point of change from transactional IT to transformational IT, and from operational IT to strategic IT. There is “alphabet soup” in running a digital IT which must lead in reaching high-level performance and maturity; besides triple “I”s - Information, Innovation, and Integration, triple “A”s - Automation, Analysis, and Agility, here, we introduce the triple “C”s in digital IT:


Change Capability: IT is always at the center of change. Change may be mechanical, but the transformation is radical. "Change" can be a somewhat mechanical implementation of new or different ways to doing something while the transformation is more likely to be a sweeping approach to altering a culture, or parts of it, possibly even to parts of its value system, to embrace such as change and help it become self-perpetuating. That said, it is referring to a modification and internalization of new values, behaviors, and culture. When the need for significant change is identified, it's generally naive to think it will succeed without transformation as well. IT can help weave all these important business elements such as process and digital technology & tools into the building blocks of change capability, because organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly be out-competed, and IT can play a pivotal role in leading a radical digital transformation in their organizations.


Collaboration: The CIO must be a partner with every aspect of the business: The supporting IT budgets must reflect business priorities and urgency. Too often IT claims success when they have delivered a technological solution, and the business responds 'so what.' Business cares more about the delivery of a viable business solution than the technology that supports it. Often IT fails to demonstrate value through the gathering and use of metrics long after the solution is deployed. IT budgeting is not done in a vacuum. The CIO's greatest challenge is to educate the business on the cost/benefit for each of their alternatives, and together they make the best-informed decisions they are capable of. Business units that want it all and want it now will do whatever they can to expedite new technologies to gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Organizations rely more and more on technology; IT department has more and more to overcome to running at digital speed. People tend to have a high expectation of digital flow, very little patience with technology issues. Only through mutual understanding and cross-functional collaboration, business and IT can work as a whole to manage a smooth digital transformation.


Cloudification: IT now can leverage cloud on-demand model to charge back or charge forward. IT- business alignment is shifting to IT-business engagement, and IT as an integral component of the business, plays more significant role in catalyzing business growth. The cloudified IT implies to run bimodal IT in many organizations: The role of IT will be managing legacy applications, and applications run on the cloud. This is where the definition of Bimodal IT makes sense. It’s the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focuses on stability and the other on agility. One is to keep the light on with industrial speed, the other is to drive business transformation with digital speed. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed. In the cloud era, the “Critical Role of IT” is having IT as an agile business enabler. Agile IT should adopt and evolve to become more reliable, available, cost efficient, secure; with lower cost and lower time to market, also IT should be simpler, better, and faster.

Business paradigm is shifting from the industrial era to information/digital era, technology plays a pivotal role in such transformation, and therefore, IT value needs to reflect such shift. IT management needs to put emphasis on these “C” words and be driven by concepts like collaborative value or collective advantage and multi-layer ROIs. IT value is demonstrated through the rate of productivity increases, the rate of new product development, the rate of market share gains, the rate of customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

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