Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Three “D”s in Digital IT

Digital IT needs to become a whole brain of the organization, to leverage left hemisphere's analytics strength and embrace the right hemisphere's intuition.

With the exponential flow of information and accelerating disruption of technology, IT plays a more significant role in the organization for driving long-term prosperity than ever. However, most of IT organizations get stuck at reactive mode as an order taker, running at a lower level of maturity. From leadership, structure, management perspective, how to improve IT agility, flexibility, and overall IT manageability? Besides triple “I”s - Information, Innovation, and Integration, triple “A”s - Automation, Analysis, and Agility, triple “C”s - Change, Collaboration, and Cloudification, triple “P”s - Principle, Process, and Performance, triple “E”s Enablement, Exploration, and Effectiveness & Efficiency, triple “V”s - Vision, Value, and Variety, triple “F”s - Fast, Flow, and Flexibility; triple "T" factors - Transformation, Transparency, and Talent Management; triple “S” factors: Strategy, Speed, and Simplicity, here we introduce three “D” factors in running a high-performing and high mature digital IT:

Data - Decision Management: IT is the foundation of data, information, and modern knowledge. The biggest misnomer regarding IT is that it is "just technology," the fact is that IT is the steward of business’s lifeblood- data, and a huge percentage of IT is about the identification and advancement of knowledge for the enterprise and its people. Data/information management is not for its own sake, but to ensure the right people have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. Decision Management is still an emerging discipline. The whole purpose of analytics is to make better decisions based on data (big/small).  Decisions are based on information and generate information. The amount of data required for a decision, and the amount of information generated by a decision, can both be measured in bits & bytes. IT must embrace a responsibility to engineer best practice of decision paths, “decisioneering" if you will. This demands a disciplined, process-based approach not only to data and information but also a deep understanding of the decisions that need to be made and their impact. A high-mature digital IT like the brain of its organization can process data and information to help the business make effective decisions both at the strategic level, tactical level, and operational level.

DevOps: It is the latest evolution of the Agile movement to bring even more stakeholders to the table by bridging silos, enforcing cross-functional collaboration and integration. DevOps is not just the engineering best practices, it is more as a people-centric management discipline. The human factor is absolutely key. The automation part of DevOps is the easy part. The confusing, debatable, easily-missed, can't-shrink-wrap-and-sell-it aspect of DevOps is Feedback/ Communication/Empathy. One without the other is not DevOps. Together they deliver velocity and productivity, which are the primary goals of DevOps. Velocity is what allows businesses to innovate in the delivery of services and products. DevOps is more of a soft skill, getting the teams to collaborate better. Technology is just the enabler.

Design: Digital IT will also focus more on customer delight, not just keep the light on, in order to build a customer-centric organization. UX/CX strategy is about "the big picture." You want your user experiences to support organizational strategy. You're not thinking of the "UX" that's only about wireframes and visual designs. You're thinking about brand, positioning, and environment, but from the standpoint of rigorous user understanding. The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives. To do this you also have to understand the company's long-term goals and Identity (brand) and the Industry realities (competition), as well as the market (the reason for being). Develop a high-level design strategy that satisfies the requirements of different groups, also improve IT maturity from functioning to delight.

With these three “D” enforcement, IT is more like business’s whole brain to help businesses make effective decisions. At industrial age, IT is perhaps more like "left brain" only, rational, machine-like, and a bit isolated, it is easy to get disrupted by digitalization, while digital IT needs to become a whole brain, to embrace the right hemisphere's design thinking with color, creativity, and connectivity,  to unleash the technology potential and capture the business's "Eureka Moment” –the growth or innovation opportunities, and to help build a more creative and productive working atmosphere for today’s digital workforce.  


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